My favorite day

It was maternal/child health (MCH) day again (every Thursday) and I had been looking forward to it all week! It turned out to be a really great day. I was crazy busy, running between the theater, which is what we call an operating room, and the MCH room. It was the first day that I actually felt like I was helping out instead of being a hinderance. Because I don’t know Swahili, it tends to take me more time to talk to patients and figure out their diagnoses. Additionally, doing things in the theater like stitching or dressings takes me longer because I’m new at it. So I typically feel like the clinic is helping me more than I am helping them. But not this day!

At the MCH, Linas was busy inputting names into the fancy new tablet that PATH gave her (see this post for more). Since she’s new at it, it takes her a while to register the new baby, so while she was busy doing that and the paperwork, I took the child back, drew up vaccinations, and injected them. Whoo! I never thought I’d be proud of making that many children cry. I’m glad Linas and I were able to split up the work (and I definitely got the good end of the deal) because by the end, I felt really good about being able to be on my own vaccinating and she felt better about using the tablet.

In the theater (operating room), I removed stitches from a few previously stitched up wounds, helped dress a few wounds, and assisted during a family planning implantation procedure. When I was “the attending” (in quotations because I am so not the attending), the nurse assisted me. But, I wasn’t very good at taking the help: for example, I needed to clean the area before removing stitches, so I naturally reached for the antiseptic. Apparently, attendings don’t do any of the reaching as the nurse told me, “It’s okay. Let me assist you”. She had to say it again at the end of the procedure when I tried to reach for the providone iodine solution. It was pretty funny to both of us. I knew I wasn’t close to being worthy of asking people to hand me things during a procedure and she knew that I was trying (albeit too much) to help her. Anyway, me doing procedures in the theater with the nurse freed up Dr. Koshuma to see patients, which I think helped everyone have a less hectic day.

I enjoyed running back and forth between the theater and MCH, feeling like I was helping in both areas. The day flew by and I left feeling more capable than I’ve felt the past few weeks!

This is a child’s record sheet, front and back. The mother has to keep this with her for 5 years and present it at the clinic when the child comes for weight checks or vaccinations.

Busy patio with weight checks for the babies!


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