Friday, May 17, 2013

Home at Tenwek

So I should be preparing my lecture for next week, or figuring out how the new (to me) spirometer works or reviewing my Swahili. But I think you all deserve an update on what I am up to so I will write this instead, and work on the rest later.  I work the best under pressure.

I finished language school with my final oral exam on May 9 and the next day headed to Tenwek. I got here just in time for new missionary orientation. This was a time spent with missionaries who have been in Kenya from anywhere from 8 months to a few days. This was a good start to my life at Tenwek, although it did delay the unpacking a bit. I gave myself Monday off to get settled in and meet my house help, a wonderful lady who will be coming 2 days a week to help me out with cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundry. Her help is an excellent bridge into the culture around me as well as frees me up to spend more time in ministry – whether working at the hospital or the surrounding community.

I am staying in the home of a long term missionary who is currently on furlough. She has generously let me use her furniture and kitchen stuff. It is great to move into a furnished home all I had to do was unpack the bags and hang pictures on the wall.

I made it to Tenwek just in time for a graduation ceremony of one of the Family Practice residents I worked a lot with in my last term at Tenwek. Dr M. is a wonderful doctor and I am sad to see him go. We had a fun graduation evening. I skipped out of some of the speeches to play with his 2 young boys who thought this Muzungu (white person) who attempted to talk Swahili was interesting.
Sugar high=Smiles
Good-bye Dr M, we will miss you. 

I headed to work Tuesday morning. Introduced and reintroduced myself to many of the staff here many names and forgot many of them – a challenge of working everywhere in the hospital is I work with almost everyone and it makes for a lot of names to remember or more often forget.
All set for my first day at work

My days have been busy the first day I attended 3 different codes, assisted with 2 intubations and functioned as a ventilator as we waited to get a bed in ICU. I am quickly refamiliarizing myself with our equipment and the challenges we face here;  I have already had to bag patients because of malfunctioning oxygen system, my pockets are overflowing with all sorts of necessities from Peep valves to hand sanitizer, and  I have been called out of bed at midnight to help out with our ventilator that has its idiosyncrasies. I have been busy working from 7:00 or 7:30am until  5:30 or 6:00pm, long days however I am loving it. It is great to help out the career missionaries and shoulder some of the load of working here. I also love sharing knowledge with the staff as we learn from each other.

I have appreciated my time spent learning Swahili. I have been having chai with the nurses and being able to be a part of, or at least understand, some of the conversation going on around me has been great. The staff has also been very encouraging speaking to me in Swahili and saying it again when I ask and telling me what word is what. I have been able to do basic respiratory assessments in Swahili  it’s not always right but I am learning and when the patient laughs at my Swahili mistakes it’s a good form of chest physiotherapy.

Well I should end there, and get some lectures written. I ask for your prayers in the continued months as the novelty of working here will wear off and become routine I will need strength both physical as the days are long and emotional as I see a lot of death each week. I need to continually remind myself that healing the physical body is a good goal but the spiritual body is even more important. 

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