Life goes on

oktober 24, 2008


It’s Sunday again and I actually have the day off! I’m spending the day at the house and just enjoy doing absolutely nothing for a change. Strange feeling! The house is in the nicer quarters of the City and I’ve only heard gunfire in the vicinity a couple of times… I have my own room and the ground service is fabulous; housekeeping, laundry and food are all taken care of by the logistic side of the Organisation. They have the explicit orders to do everything possible to enable us in the medical team to do our work as efficiently as possible – I wish the administration at my hospital at home had the same instructions and goal! The food is exceptional and delivered to the Hospital every day. The mission does not offer any hope of losing weight and I have to get the recipe for that homemade pizza!

The mission has tight security rules, but we are allowed to leave the house during daytime as long as we clearly indicate our association with the Organisation with T-shirts and logos. Kidnapping is a major source of income for some elements of society, so all movements and whereabouts must be declared and approved ahead of time, and we shall always be reachable

In the busy city of Port Harcourt, there is no social security and no one but us will take care of you if you don’t have the money. So when receiving a case it was never  an option not to treat the patient.

Preparing for a case I decided on a battle plan based on our airway algorithm from home. I prepared the equipment at hand and told nurse P what was happening in case I needed help. Anyhow, I was confident that I could open her mouth once she was asleep and muscle relaxed.

I was wrong… Her jaw remained locked rigid, but on the positive side was that she indeed was easy to ventilate and somehow I managed the airway with the help of a bougie – again, I don’t know if I did right or wrong and in retrospect I wouldn’t do it again, at least not without prior discussion, more equipment and, most of all, a red button…

Since my last post I have been joined by a French nurse anesthetist, and that has really changed things. We take turns for calls and just to have someone to discuss with makes all the difference. It’s only a couple of weeks left of my mission, but now I can for the first time relax a little and even get some administrative work done! Just like home reports have to be written, statistics compiled, and inventories made. Life goes on…

In my next post I’ll try to wrap things up and answer all your questions. Keep ‘em coming!


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