Monday, October 4, 2010

I made it to Tenwek

I tried to post some pictures from london on the Blog but the internet was very slow to upload them so they are on facebook anyone can check them out at Annettes Pictures - London

I have not posted for a few days and a lot has happened, so I guess this will be a longer one. I arrived in Nairobi Friday night and was picked up by a missionary couple from Tenwek. We stayed in Nairobi overnight and I was awoken in the morning by a rooster crowing out my window, welcome to Kenya. Saturday was groceries, Tenwek is 3½ hours drive from Nairobi meaning that I had to but than what I thought I would use for the next few months. This not easy as I was not to sure what was readily available at Bomet as well as what is already in the house. I guess my diet over the next few months will reflect my success or lack there of. I was thankful that I was not jet legged as I did this shopping (most people are) as that would have made it more difficult. In all I spent  about twenty thousand Kenyan shillings - not too bad.

Saturday afternoon was the drive to Tenwek - Beautiful. Once you leave Nairobi you look down at the Rift Valley (which you have to cross). The view was wonderful, I did not take pictures as the day was cloudy and they would not do justice but I am sure I will get some eventually. We than drove through the Rift Valley where we saw a giraffe, zebras, baboons, and a Thompson gazelle?. The drive also took us into Masaai Land. The Masaai are a local tribe who have held onto their customs, you are able to see them on the side of the road herding their cows, and goats. They look very regal in their red blankets and sticks and spears. The drive was Africa.

I am sharing an apartment here at Tenwek with another girl, who is currently on a retreat I am excited to meet her. I have been exploring and settling in on my own. It is a 4 bedroom apartment it has a nice living room and a well stocked kitchen. The houses and apartment buildings are scattered about the hospital, there does not seem to be any organization - this is fine as we walk most places as well the whole place is on the side of the hill so it probably works better that way however I am so confused and I wonder if there is a map so I don’t get lost (It took me 30 min to walk home from the hospital to my apartment today - it should take 5min)

I have had a tour of the hospital and have gotten disorientated there as well. It is built into the side of the hill so parts of it are like a walk out basement so what you think is the 1st floor is actually the basement - I will figure it out eventually. The hospital has about 300 beds a large portion of those are Maternity/L&D there are large wards of male and female medicine, surgery and ortho. Very few private/semi private rooms. The ICU is 6 beds 3 on one side of the room 3 on the other, mixed adult and pediatrics. There is also a nursery with a large number of babies. This morning I did some work at the hospital I started the day with a lecture from one of the local staff on a recent case - TB and haemoptysis. This was a good intro to tropical medicine as it involves respiratory. After the lecture I got my pager and started exploring I ended up in ICU and did some assessments, chest physio therapy, and figured out the ventilator. Before I left I was told I would be an oddity in Kenya with my pale skin and red hair. This is true, everywhere I go people young and old stare. One little girl probably 2-3 years old walked up to me shook my hand and just stared, she was adorable. I guess I will have to get used to this as the patient population is always new.

When I was studying respiratory they talked a lot about how RT’s started out and slowly showed that they had the ability to do things and quite possibly better then it has always been done. I feel like I am doing that now, however slightly different as I am hoping to do lots of education as to no leave a void when I am gone, but knowledge. A large part of that is building relationships I am meeting many new people and am struggling to remember their name and role here at Tenwek. I did have some chai tea today wich is a daily ritual where everyone stops working and has a tea break. I am not a tea drinker but quite enjoyed the sweat milky chai tea. This was also a chance to visit and build trust.

Some things here are quite different and other problems are still the same. At the lecture this morning we discussed a patient and difficulties encountered with the anesthetic gas machine not having PEEP - any RT’s out there know if and how a PEEP valved can be added to these circuits?

Something that has not come up in this Blog yet is Faith. I had a discussion with one of the doctors here about if we save there body and not the soul have we done any good. This is the way of looking at things here. Yes we still do our best for all the patients but credit needs to be given to God. The motto of the Hospital Is we Treat Jesus Heals I am excited to see this over the next few months.

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  1. Glad to see you made it! I pray the transition goes well for you!

  2. So excited for you as your start on this adventure finding your space and contributing your skills!! Looking forward to more stories as your adventure continues.

  3. Sounds like you're having a good time! You're in our prayers - we hope the transition is going well!
    Lots of love!

  4. Dear Annette,

    I love you. Even reading this first post about Africa is making me well up with tears and pride in what you are doing. I wish I was there with you, it sounds fantastic!!

    Can you tell me any more about the anesthesia circuits? I could pass along the info to our OR supervisor and see if he can find a way to add PEEP.

    GO RTs GO!!!