Saturday, July 31, 2010

According to Kev

Today I thought it would be good to give you a bit of an insight into my everyday life, so you can understand a little of what it is like for me living my life as a superhero nurse in deepest darkest Africa. So, here is a day in the life of Christiane Fox.

6:45am: We have to get up stinking early for team devotions. Well I say we, I never actually go unless I’m leading it. Instead, I sleep in until as late as possible, before going for a freezing cold shower to wake me up. After my shower I head to the dining room to find out what the banter is with my colleagues, and encourage them with a bit of dry sarcasm.

7:45am: Time to head to the clinic for work, so we all (me and my fellow superhero nurses) clamber on to our trusty steed, a Honda trx quad bike 350cc (I’ve got an eye for mechanical detail) and make the 3 minute 45 second journey to the clinic. Although I call it a clinic, the place we work is nothing at all like what you are probably imagining. It’s more of a bombed out shell of a building that smells really bad and doesn’t have proper doors or windows. Here is a picture of the scene that awaits us most mornings:

8:00am: Now it’s time for devotions with the clinic staff (a bunch of Sudanese guys of around my age). At the moment we’re reading through Joshua, I don’t know whose bright idea that was but it’s given us ample chance to discuss circumcision together...what better way to start the day.

8:20am: Time to go out and face the masses (see photo above). Now you might have thought that all these people would be super appreciative that we are here making every effort to attend to their various ailments. Well sometimes they aren’t. We routinely get more people than we can see in a day and have to turn the excess away. Generally, they aren’t happy about this, particularly if they’ve travelled from a long way away, but that’s life.

8:30-11ish: Having upset all the people we’ve turned away and handed out numbers to all those who we will see (kinda like when you’re waiting to pick up the stuff you’ve bought from Argos), it’s time to get down to the serious business of seeing patients with interesting, odorous and occasionally downright disgusting infirmities, and helping our CHW’s do likewise.

11ish time for tea and seriously tasty mandazis. Good times.
11:30-2pm: More clinic craziness. On a good day I’ll get the chance to drive back to the compound to pick up some item of questionable importance. Gives a break from the intensity of seeing patients all day. Sometimes, we get to see some outrageously disgusting stuff, the kind of thing that would make you throw up your dinner. Sometimes we see so many patients I think I might go crazy. Sometimes we see children who are almost certainly going to die. It’s a wonderful world.

2-3pm: Lunch time...

3-6ish??: More patient madness. Sometimes people turn up late afternoon expecting to be seen. Unless they are dying it’s not going to happen...
After clinic finishes it’s time for an evening of fun filled banter. Kicked off with the challenge of cooking over a charcoal fire. Sometimes some of my good friends on the compound will offer to cook for me, although this arrangement is not without it’s problems. They like to debrief about the day and share ‘highlights’, but what if your day didn’t have any highlights..?

After dinner it’s internet time for a while, and then off to bed. If I’m on call, I might get the chance to take a late night trip up to the clinic to save the day once more. On a really good day I’ll get to wake one of my colleagues to come and help me. That is one of my favourite late night activities...

And that’s it, a day in the life of me, and a marked change in tone and language from my previous posts...I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you interested.

(can you tell?? I've suddenly picked up a Scottish accent ;)