Thursday, July 9, 2009
Well, after spending a few days in the hospital, I'm slowly starting to get acquainted. It reminds me somewhat of my experience in Honduras--very dirty, very poor, and very few resources. Getting test results here can take what feels like centuries, that is, if the tests can even be performed at all. The CT scanner at our hospital has been down for months, and I don't think it will be fixed anytime soon. We also cannot order blood cultures and some other routine labs because they are out of reagents needed to perform the test. When ordering medications on the wards, your choices are very limited due to cost and availability. You always have to ask "what do we have in stock?" before making a decision on what to give your patients. Situations like this would never happen in the United States, and if they did, there would be an uproar. I wish all Americans could come here and experience what everyday life is like for a typical Kenyan. Perhaps they would have less complaints about their own lives if they did.
Today I spent the day at a clinic just outside of Eldoret in an area called Burnt Forest. It was a great experience. In general, the patients there were much healthier. When I say healthy, I mean it in a third world sense, not in an American sense. Every patient I saw today had AIDS, but in contrast to the patients we see in the hospital, most were doing quite well. Back home, we get caught up in the notion that 'everyone in Africa is dying from AIDS', when in reality there's a good portion of the population who are managing to fight off the disease. It was quite refreshing to actually see the part of the African population that is living with AIDS.
My time in the hospital thus far has been spent on the female medicine wards, so I have not been to the pediatrics ward yet. However, I got a little bonus today when I saw 3 kids at the Burnt Forest clinic. Their ages ranged from 2-6. All three were HIV positive. Every time I see a sick child, I'm reminded of why I am where I am today. There's something about a kid with HIV that tugs at your heart strings. As I continue to progress through my medical training, I feel like I am getting closer and closer to doing what I was put on this Earth to do. It's a great feeling---one that makes me excited to wake up with each new day.
I've posted a few pictures to help give you a better idea of where I am. One is of mine and Marissa's bedroom. You can see our bunk beds, which are covered by the mosquito net. I sleep on the top bunk. There are two other pictures of the IU house property....one of the dining room and one outside of the clothing line. The fourth picture is a picture I took on my walk to the hospital. It's pretty representative of what the streets look like as you make your way into the city of Eldoret.
That's all I'm going to post for now. This weekend, I'm going on a safari with a large group of people from the IU house. I should have lots of great stories when I get back. I'll be sure to post Sunday or Monday to tell you how it went. I hope everyone is doing well back home. Please let me know if there's anything else you'd like to hear more about in my posts. I love you all very much! Please take care. And as always, God bless.