It is actually quite possible that I am going to melt. Rainy season was supposed to start at the beginning of March but SURPRISE they’ve had record high temperatures this year and no rain. I use to not drink a lot of water at work because there is no bathroom. This isn’t me being a princess; there is literally no bathroom and if there is a hole somewhere, I haven’t found it yet. Now I can drink about 3L (newest member of the metric system here) of water and go 10 hours without even thinking about a bathroom. Slowly turning into a camel….
This week has been really hectic and very tiring (partly due to the heat) but we were able to get 8 controls, which I’ll take for our first week back. On Monday morning I came to the hospital to check in with all the nurses and look at all the data that was collected while I was gone. The forms being filled out correctly was probably my biggest concern while being away. The concept of research is not really a thing here, especially the idea of research being published. The nurses don’t seem to understand why everything needs to be filled out completely when they can take shortcuts BUT at first glance everything looked great. I plan on going through and organizing the data this weekend, as well as uploading it to the database, so I’ll let you know if I have a change of heart once I really start looking at it.
Since Twalib was gone for the last two weeks, patients were lined up out the door when we arrived on Tuesday morning. Not only that, most of these patients were extremely, extremely sick. The 18 year old that I mentioned previously who was in heart failure (due to her severe RHD) came back because she had a stroke. Her speech was still slurred and you could tell that she is not going to last much longer. In addition another boy around her age came in with the exact same symptoms and the exact same prognosis. Unfortunately the rest of the day was spent giving people more bad news as well. Not exactly the “homecoming” I was hoping for. It did how ever bring me back to reality and re-motivate me for the final leg of the project. Hopefully one day no one will have to hear this type of news as a result of a preventable disease.
We have been met with some resistance with control families simply because they know that their kid is healthy and believe that the rest of their kids are healthy as well. Because we want families who are interested and enthusiastic about this program, we went to the school on Wednesday afternoon and simply asked for volunteers that were the same age/gender as our cases. We went classroom to classroom and it was so much fun to see all of the kids in this environment. Their school day is 8-5 and I give them A LOT of credit for such a long day. I’m pretty sure I would have protested if they tried to keep me past 3 when I was younger (Not that leading my whole pre-school class out to the playground when the teacher wasn’t looking was a protest or anything). They sit 3-4 people per bench, when it should really have 2, and it is extremely hot in their classrooms. I’m pretty sure my brother would have had to sit on the floor if he were born in Africa…We were able to recruit a bunch of families and most of them jumped out of their seat and were screaming hoping that they would be picked. We even had a 15-year-old boy who was crying run after our group begging for us to help his family. Good news- they came this morning and they are all fine. We have 30 families on the schedule next week (when we’ve been averaging 10) so it should be a very, very busy week.
On Wednesday night a bunch of us went to a pizza place outside of town since my friend Amanda is leaving today. I had pretty much boycotted pizza in Uganda after my last experience but this was absolutely delicious. Pretty sure my dad would have even liked this pizza. It was really sad to say goodbye, especially since she was one of the first people I met when I got here. She was also talking about all the things she planned on doing when she landed and it honestly got me so excited to see my friends and family in just over a month!
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