Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Many Stories to Tell
Since I haven’t been able to use the Internet for half the time I’ve been here, there is a lot to write about my experience. I don’t really even know when I left off. I have been in Koza, Cameroon for about a month now. During my stay, there have been days with no water, days with no electricity, days with no gas, and days with all three! Its an epic journey that God is bringing me on… one of patience and grace in times of need. I will try to fill you in on the things that I’ve done since the last time I wrote (I’m sorry its been so long).
I have been surprised in myself. I have missed home a lot, but God has kept me sane. The moment I stepped into the hospital, I made immediate friends… even people who didn’t speak English. God has allowed people in my life that have been more than generous. Taking care of me when I thought I wouldn’t have food. Helping me bargain in the market. Giving me French lessons when I was thriving off every French word they spoke to me. I am truly blessed to be here. I am glad I didn’t have high expectations. Its always better that way because every little thing that happens in my life, I thank God for!
You might be wondering what I am actually accomplishing at the hospital since I’ve been here so I’ll fill you in. The first week I got here was rough because of the time difference. Staying up all-night and wishing I could sleep during the day at the hospital. I’m pretty sure that the hospital workers thought I was a zombie. I’m an African now! I eat African food that our housekeeper cooks, and I wear my clothes at least three times during the week… it makes the most sense that way. PS: The American food that I have learned to make is spaghetti, ice cream, chips, and other things. It takes so much longer, but well worth it! I absolutely love seeing different people during the day, and try to have a conversation with them in French. It is still hard because the main language is French here, yes, but there are also many other local languages. Mafa, Arabic, and others. I’m sticking with French at this time… can’t do too much more.
My job here at the hospital is wonderful. Some days it’s a little slow, and other days it’s crazy! I wonder around to each different section throughout the day. We have five different sections of the hospital. Pediatrics, Adults, Emergency room, Maternity, and Lab. Of course… I have stuck mostly with the Emergency room because that is where everyone comes through. It’s where everyone gets administrated, and also those we have to send away because we do not have proper treatment for them. We need a doctor… but they do work really well with what they have, I’m impressed. The hospital workers are realizing slowly my potential. I’m in everyone’s business trying to have opportunity after opportunity to learn everything that is medical. They are ok with it too! My nursing professor would be happy to know that I am digging in the nursing drug book trying to understand the drugs to administer for each patient who comes in. I have diagnosed many!:) They also call me when they need me to put an IV in, and I get right on it, and have not failed every time thank goodness. I was able to give a malnourished child an NG tube. During the process he had hate in his eyes for me, but I’m sure if he could talk to me, he would be thankful for the treatment we gave him. I also have done many tests. Malaria, Typhoid, Urine, Stool, and Donner blood type. Its amazing to watch blood through a microscope, or check the blood type manually. Clara, the lab tech, laughs at me because I’m so so interested every time! I have given a child oxygen, and put proper medicine through IV when needed. I am proud to say that I have delivered three babies successfully! They were all females and all beautiful? One baby had trouble getting through because the opening was too small, but it was still a beautiful cone head baby;). I have sad news though…
One delivery that I wasn’t the doctor for, but I helped with, there were some complications. The mother had malaria, and a few weeks before the nurse didn’t find a heart beat. The baby came through the opening with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. We delivered him, but he was not breathing. It was the first time I have ever done CPR, and it was an innocent little child that hadn’t been in the world more than a few minutes. I kept saying “come on baby, come on baby, you can do it”. Finally, the doctor stopped giving oxygen, and I kept giving compressions. I swear I could have done it all day, but once I felt the baby getting cold, I knew it was too late. I wept… I didn’t know something so small could go through something so traumatic. The baby was trying to survive. There were moments where he took deep breaths, but it was like it could get air. I went over to the mother after I had my moment to pray and thank God for my life. With tears in my eyes, I leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Desole, Due se avec tua” which means “I’m sorry, God is with you”. That was probably the hardest day here… but things happen for a reason.
I’d like to have to know that Caitlin here, and we have been having a grand time together! You won’t believe this… We bought baby GOATS! We treat them like dogs and it is the funniest things. We only have had them for 1 day, but they are definitely pampered. They cry a lot, and I feel bad because they want their mamma. They were destined to die anyway, so that is my excuse for saying that they will be fine. Today we found out that Caitlin has malaria… I am trying my best to be there for her, but what she needs is a lot of rest, water, and food. Our housekeeper had malaria too… Thank God I haven’t gotten it yet. I’m trying to take care of myself but I have to expect the worst.
I hope that this is sufficient enough information to let you know what I’m doing and how my life is going. I don’t know when the next time I’ll get to Internet, but soon I’m going to Maura, and Caitlin and I will buy an Internet key. I miss all of you back in America! Please continue to pray for me, I still need it! I have lots more to say, but I don’t want to bore you. Bonne Joune! (Good Day)
Posted by Elissa
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