On Monday, the nurses and I prepared everything for the week and made sure that we had enough enrollment forms to get us through. Thank god we did because we were able to enroll 16 patients this week, which is awesome! There are roughly 180 RHD patients eligible for enrollment in the Gulu district and we have already reached 25, which is really promising progress. We are hoping that we will be able to transition all of these patients into the registry by December but at this rate I am hoping it can be sooner.
This week was just one of those weeks that was overwhelmingly busy. We saw roughly 75 patients between Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to the ones that we enrolled into the registry. I thought I was exhausted but I can only imagine how Twalib felt, echoing and diagnosing all of those patients. I am slowly picking up how to identify certain heart abnormalities and will be practicing echos with the nurses on days that Twalib is not around. Twalib keeps telling me that I have to be a cardiologist because it’s “in my blood.” I am going to take it one step at a time and work on getting into medical school…..
On Tuesday a 2 year-old child came into the clinic that clearly had severe mental disabilities. He could not support his neck, sit on his own let alone stand, or speak. He had apparently been to 3 other doctors yet it took Twalib about 30 seconds to diagnose him with cerebal palsy. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have a child with a mental disability but it has to even worse to know that there is something wrong and not being able to get a diagnosis. His parents were honestly shocked learning that he may never speak and would never be capable of life without full-time care. It is obviously hard no matter what the situation however there is something about a culture where you are usually married at age 14 and living on your own, that makes everything a little harder.
On Tuesday night Twalib and I continued our movie tradition and watched The Book Thief, a movie set during the Holocaust. My roommate Jess and I thought it was pretty subpar but Twalib really liked it. Jess got the full “Twalib movie experience” when he starting asking us a million questions about the Holocaust and Germany after the movie. I have to say, in that moment, I fully regretted not taking him to the Holocaust museum when he was in DC.
Wednesday was simply not my day. I am one of those people that like to be on time and if I’m not, it throws me off. I can probably thank my super cool, calm and collected older brother for threatening to leave me every morning on the way to school growing up…. but either way, that’s how I’m programed. My phone shut itself off during the night on Tuesday so I woke up at 8:15, when I’m usually at the hospital by 7:45. To make matters worse, it was penicillin day, the one day a month that we start super early. I was able to reach the hospital by 8:30 (completely uncaffeinated) but I still felt horrible that I was late. To cap off the day I learned that the registry business is a “dangerous” one. I was filing away some of the intake forms when I contacted the metal clip on one of the folders in such a way that I sliced open my finger. It was one of those cuts that was relatively insignificant but produced a lot of blood. The nurses went into panic mode acting like I was about to die…meanwhile there was a patient with sickle cell on the bed struggling to breathe (something wrong with this picture.) They essentially soaked my entire hand in iodine, like I was about to undergo major surgery, and wrapped some gauzed around it. I’m happy to report, I think I am going to survive.
On Wednesday night I went to the Ethiopian restaurant with Jess, Rhoda, Aaron and a new arrival, Philip. It was honestly great to get out of the house/ hospital setting and relax. Since 3 of them are doctors I didn’t really escape the medical scene though since we ended up talking about medical cases all dinner long. Fun fact-Aaron claims that an Italian surgeon will be doing a “head transplant” in 2017. I thought it was the beer talking BUT I looked it up, and it’s actually a thing- not exactly sure how I feel about that.
More exciting news- I was able to find a sponsor for the constrictive pericarditis patient! His surgery is planned for August 17th and I honestly couldn’t be more excited for the little guy.
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