Thursday, 27 October 2011

Elective 13. Nurses

Today I am amazed by a spectacular Sunday service at the cathedral, I am angry with some nurses, and  I am disappointed in my recent meals. What a lot of emotions, all in one day!
The cathedral service was an event I had been specially invited to, and I was picked up by the Bishop's 4x4 early in the morning. Before the service, I was invited to breakfast with the bishop. A friendly, smiley and very cool person, perhaps he could be known as 'The Bodacious bishop'. Have any of you ever fist-bumped a bishop? I feel it must have given me some form of 'awesome' blessing. The breakfast included bread, something that is not available at the village, which was pretty exciting. The service at the cathedral was like that which I have only seen in films or heard of before, but with my history of Church going, this is not too hard. It was a very 'contemporary' service: We walked into the cathedral to a person playing hymn sounding tunes on a yamaha keyboard (they have electricity in the cathedral), using electric guitar, synth lead and organ 'voices'  all at once. I have a Yamaha keyboard, so l heel I spotted the voices accurately. In any case, the effect was most unique. The service started, I think, with the Bishop ordaining a number of people, which then seemed to be followed by some kind of 'battle of the bands' in Swahili, with singing, dancing and cultural instruments. I say I think, as everything was in Swahili, so I didn't understand anything. It was definitely a load of fun, though, and though I didn't understand the song words, there were very Catchy tunes and beats. If I was going to go to Church it would definitely be like this!

Singing, dancing Tanzanian bands battle for the bishops blessing... Perhaps...

Unfortunately I am not allowed to just sit there and enjoy myself and am called up to give a 'speech'. Christ. The cathedral Seats 1200, and there are a good few hundred standing around the walls at the back. I say a couple of quick, thanking sentences, which are then translated by the bishop, and then get  given two beautiful kangas (pieces of Tanzanian cloth which are fashioned into clothes to wear). Awesome! Traditional wear! Very generous of them and a very happy Internal Optimist. The service goes on for 4 hours in total, which perhaps is a little longer than I expected. At the end of the Service l am expected to stand by the exit with the bishop and canons, and shake hands with everyone as they left. I mean everyone. That is a lot of hand shaking, and I almost consider myself an expert now. The only awkward thing is that everyone keeps calling me Dr whenever introducing me a title I have not earned, and one I want to deserve before using it.

On the way back to my house in time for a late lunch, I am invited to dinner by the person who runs the village church's house in a week. This is a different person to the person who runs the hospital church. There are many many members of the clergy in Tanzania. Happily accepting this generous offer, I walk to My door and am then Invited to a wedding by a neighbor. I would need to contrbite 10,000Ts (£4) for this, as do all the other guests. Fantastic. I would love to. In a wonderful mood I then go to the table to see what is for lunch and have my good mood ruined. My least favourite dish, very overcooked spaghetti, sweetened with a lot of sugar. I am not a fussy eater at all but I do not like this. Not at all. The problem is that this will now also be my dinner (as the lunch time meal is also the dinner time meal). Unfortunately, this pasta will not get better over time, instead congealing together like some kind of sickening cake. This wouldn't normally bother me too much, after all, if you are hungry, you will eat, but yesterdays lunch and dinner consisted of a bowel of chips. I would like vegetables. Or anything that isn't just pure carbohydrate tomorrow please. Perhaps that fist bump from the bishop will set me up some Godly Grub.

The bane of my food life: The spaghetti...

Other than this minor food-related disappointment, what really annoyed me today was a pair of nurses. I had taken a considerable walk to the shop in the village, to get a pack of plain biscuits to get the taste of spaghetti our of my mouth. On the way back I had to give away half of them as pregnant women strolling past kept asking, and I feel bad saying no to a hungry pregnant lady. And anyway, I lack the necessary linguistic skills to refuse. This is fair enough, and I have no problem with feeding the ladies, As the biscuits are less than 1p each. On my way back from the shop, if it can be called that, one of the patients relatives beacons me into male ward. I  recognise him as the relative Ludwig, the oedematous leg-HIV pistive- malaria infected tuberculosis patient. Poor chap. As I mentioned before, Ludwig doesn't seem to speak Swahili, but the relative does. They are both indicating that Ludwig has abdominal pain, but as I cannot speak with either of them, I go to the nurses station for some help in translation. The nurses really do not seem as though they can be bothered to help me, so I check the notes. Eggs, the doctor in charge of male ward, saw the patient early today. This is both good news (has been seen since Friday) and bad news (the morning nurses must have seen fit to call a doctor, as there is no scheduled ward round on Sunday, so something must have been wrong with him). The notes written this morning just say he was put on frusomide to help reduce the oedema. Unsigned, but I recognise Eggs' tiny hand writing. He has glasses like prisms, and finds reading very hard, I have no idea why his own hand writing is so small. I doubt he can read it himself. Unsure what to do with the patient, I ask the nurses to come and translate for me again, so I can hear more about the problem. They refuse, saying he has always had pain in his leg. I spend some minutes trying to convince them that this is a new complaint (abdominal pain, not leg pain), but they do not believe me. Nor will they come to the bed and help me talk with the patient or even see for themselves. They are too busy chatting with each other. Please let me clarify here that these are nursing students one year into study, not experienced nurses. The hospital nursing is practically run by nursing students (free) rather than paying for experienced nurses... Fed up with them not helping me, I ask if they can contact the Dr on Call. They tell me that this is not possible. I ask them who the Dr on call is. Fed up with me pestering them, they will not tell me. There is a black board outside theatre detailing who is on call, but if hasn't been updated since well before I got here. This information is passed on through the grapevine instead. Well, sometimes passed on, it seems. I feel annoyed with these nurses and leave. The whole topic wasn't going anywhere, and they were now deliberately stopping me from getting help. Now I am at home, I now really regret not pushing harder for the doctor on call's name, or even just a simple translation. I hope Ludwig doesn't die tonight. I really hope Ludwig doesn't die tonight. I don't think it will really be my fault, but regardless of blame, he will still be dead...

No comments:

Post a Comment