Monday, October 14, 2013

A weekend off, life and thanksgiving

Over the past few years I have discovered something about myself. I am a home body. I like being home where I can do my own thing, I don’t need to travel, and I can just relax. Some of you may be thinking really – is this the same girl who has taken 10 000km roadtrips, and moved across the world to Kenya. And the answer is yes. While I love to travel and visit people I highly value my own space and when I have been busy my favourite thing to do is to hide at home with a book. Living here that works some of the time but not all the time. I have a pager and it lives on my hip. As I am the only Respiratory Therapist I have told the missionaries and staff here that if something comes up on nights or weekends that is outside the ordinary and they can’t deal with it that they can call me. I am not called every weekend and it has been more than a week since I have been called out of bed but it is part of life here. The month of September was busy and I really felt the need for a break. I have learned the best way to do this is leave. So last weekend (the weekend before thanksgiving) I headed out to the big busy city of Nairobi to relax.

I stayed at a nice guesthouse that has communal meals so you can visit with other missionaries/visitors.  It is also close to many shopping centers so I can walk rather than take a cab.
Shortly after I arrived,I heard some sad news from home. A friend had died in a farm accident. This fellow, like my brothers, was a farmer and loved what he did. He was someone I grew up with as our families have always been close. I was thankful for the time away to shed tears, offer up prayers, spend time in God’s word and talk to family.
I was in Nairobi from Thursday late afternoon until Monday noon. I was able to eat lots of good food Chinese, KFC, Italian, frozen yogurt and American. Tenwek does not have much options for eating out. So if you can’t cook it you don’t eat it. It was great to eat some different food. I also did lots of shopping for everything to new CD’s to groceries and was able to visit my teachers from language school. It was great to see my teachers who I spent 3 months with at the beginning of the year we were able to catch up, and have some laughs as I demonstrated how much shang (Swahili slang) that I have learned while at Tenwek. I returned to Tenwek with food to fill the cupboard and freezer and a refreshed spirit to return to work.
KFC in Nairobi, part of my families thanksgiving tradition is to have KFC, I was glad I could too, and only a week early

The week since returning has been busy and fun. One of my friends braided my hair Kenyan style, its fun to see people’s reactions as I look quite different. I do appreciate the lack of maintenance this hairstyle gives me but I don’t think it will last long as my hair is much slipper than the Kenyans hair. A few weeks ago I had some of the interns over for pizza and I introduced them to the card game – Spoons. We had a blast and Friday was the second spoon tournament. There was about 10 of us at the home of one of the interns. We started with a supper of meat, ugali, greens, and salsa. I was shown how to make ugali and put to work stirring the mixture. After that was the spoons game it was fun and we had a lot of laughs.
Ugali in the making

2 of our Chefs for the evening - I contributed my standard of chocolate chip cookies

Nice calm game of spoons, yes that is me with the lines on my head

The spoon dive

Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving. As Americans don’t celebrate until November I was happy to find 6 other Canadians to join in on the celebration as well as a few others to fill the table. We had a great evening filled with sharing of Thanks and wonderful food – Chicken (turkey is really expensive), mashed potatoes, broccoli, salads and of course pies. Hmm.
The last two weeks we have not had too many people on vents so my time has been spent doing other things.  We got new (to us monitors) for our ICU and HDU so I helped in the sorting of equipment and setting up and training. Some of that has included reading the configuration manual and changing the default alarm parameters – finding a balance between a machine that alarms when the patient needs attention and a machine that alarms some of the time. This is definitely not something I would ever do in Canada but here things are different. I also gave a lecture last week to the Doctors and Residents- titled  "ventilation beyond the basics." It was fun to talk about the more complicated things like PIP vs Pplat, auto PEEP in COPD, permissive hypercapnea etc.
Nice new ICU monitors

Ok so this post ended up being longer than I thought if you made it to the end pat yourself on the back.

1 comment:

  1. Woohoo, pat on the back for me! I was thinking of you and your family, both with the recent news out of Alberta and with Thanksgiving--I will always remember KFC in the fields. Snow, too. Your head looks like that must have hurt to get in--you probably have a non-sensitive head like I do (genetics)--but I think that would hurt. Thanks for posting! It's good to know what you're experiencing. Thinking of you often!