On Monday morning Twalib and I made the long trek up to Gulu. When I arrived late afternoon I received a very big “welcome back to Gulu”. I had been home for all of 5 minutes when there was a loud banging at my door. It was a representative from the local electricity company saying that we owed them money and that they were about to shut our power off. I knew for a fact that my roommate had paid the bill and she even left the receipt for me (honestly bless her for being the organized one). Naturally the office closes at 4, not 5, so I had to cross my fingers that they wouldn’t shut it off before I had the chance to talk to them on Tuesday. Luckily they held off and I was able to get everything sorted out, even though I was convinced that when the power went off on Monday night it was because of them.
This week has been extremely productive but very busy. Neither Twalib nor I were around last week, which means there was a backlog of patients. Tuesdays are probably our busiest day because this is when we see adults (a lot of hypertension cases). On Tuesday we worked from 8-6, with a conference call from 2-3, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day. Luckily for me…. my evenings consist of secondary medical school applications so at the moment I do not have too much down time. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my brother, editor-in-chief, for proofreading my application essays. Even when I know they are ready for submission, something about him proofreading them just makes me feel a little bit better. I am only half way through the applications in my inbox but I plan on hibernating this weekend to get everything done (probably an unrealistic goal but I’ll give it a go). My roommate Jess is away for the week visiting friends in Thailand (casual) which means I probably won’t be going out after dark. Our compound gets locked around 9pm every night and we have discovered that it takes two people to successfully unlock all 3 locks on the gate…and sometimes we even have to call the neighbors to let us in. It’s moments like these that I really miss the simplicity of a garage code.
Wednesday was just one of those days where every child that came into the clinic was extremely sick. We saw a 9 year-old girl who was struggling to breathe and stand. She has severe RHD, which has damaged two of her heart valves. At this point she is in congestive heart failure and struggling to hang on. Extremely distraught by the whole situation I asked Twalib about her prognosis. He said that Wednesday night was the most critical and if she could make it through her rheumatic fever episode over night then she may be okay. This morning I stopped by her room first thing to make sure that she was okay and I am happy to report that she was sitting up (something that she could not do yesterday).
On Wednesday night Twalib and I continued the movie night tradition by watching the documentary “ Call Me Kuchu”. This documentary is about gay rights in Uganda and to be honest I have no idea how we decided to watch this film. It was surprisingly informative and paved the way for some extremely awkward discussions once the movie was over….. A few years ago it was actually a law that if you knew someone that was gay and didn’t report them within 24 hours you could be sentenced to 3 years in prison….something that seems absolutely preposterous after growing up in the States. Although homosexuality is no longer illegal here (socially yes, legally no) the only law they have bans “the recruiting of people to be homosexuals.” I’ll stop this discussion here but I do have to say that we are definitely lucky to live in a society where people accept one another (well, for the most part). What the people in this documentary had to go through and the violence they were subjected to is unfathomable.
This morning I was greeted by a thunderstorm on the way to work. Unlike at home, walking is the only option I have. There are usually motorcycle taxis running throughout the town but when it rains they tend to hibernate. When I reached the office I was dripping wet and was really wishing I had an extra shirt. I am hoping that I will be able to find an umbrella in the market because apparently all of August will be like this.
This morning we will continue to see patients and I will organize all of the Registry forms that the nurses completed while I was away. At first glance I am extremely proud of the work that they did while I was gone and am becoming increasingly confident that this will be sustainable once I am gone. As of today we have 55 patients in the Registry, which means we are about 1/3 of the way there!
Since the first thing people always ask me is what I miss most about home, I figured I would include some things that I have been missing this week; strawberries, good yogurt, and the ability to drink tap water. Oh-and my family but I figured thats a given.
Hope you all are having a great week!