Day 4 Juba Teaching Hospital

Dave and Clare might be back, but their replacements are hard at it in JTH, taking up where they left off:

The last 4 days have been a whirlwind of dust and heat, feverish comatose patients, quinine, broken equipment and ‘not available’ drugs and diagnostics. In honesty, despite having spent the last 3 months in East Africa, arriving in Juba and promptly leading ward rounds in the major government hospital was a bit of a culture shock and a bit like jumping into the deep end of a pool with not much water in it.

Surreal moments have included: finding myself fixing the only oxygen mask in the hospital with sellotape then deciding which of my 4 hypoxic patients to use it on; realizing I couldn’t hear anything through my stethoscope because the patient’s family had just started a very loud prayer meeting by the bedside; rapidly alcohol gelling my hands to shake hands with the MOH and 50 person suited entourage who trouped through the ward while I was examining a half-naked lady; and finally finding out from the HIV counselor that a comatose patient is positive when they have been waiting for a test for a week.

There are a few challenges here in Juba. On the up side, the basil plant is doing great, Diesel (the kitten) has an incredibly therapeutic way of rubbing my ankles while I make dinner, and I have a very nice room with a fan and the BBC world service. It’s also a bonus to be living with my husband again after 6 months of intermittent skype calls and throwing my phone against the wall.

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