First Day at the Hospital
Trip Start May 28, 2010
19Trip End Aug 02, 2010
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Where I stayed
Mountain Fund Guest House
The first day interning went well. It took me a while to feel comfortable...and there is still a lot more I can do. But it is really interesting and educating...it is so different from American hospitals. Let me try to describe it. No pictures this time. =)
So, we got off of the bus that took us down the dirty, dusty, loud street called Ring Road that encircles Kathmandu, and stepped off onto the side "street"...which is more just a big dirt pathway filled with people, animals, cars, motorcycles, and people selling all sorts of things. We walked a little ways down it...and in the corner, sandwiched between a open air pharmacy (the counter was the front wall) and another business was the hospital. We walked through the entrance into a courtyard. Part of the courtyard was covered by the building, and here is where the waiting "room" was. About 40 people sat on folding chairs, waiting to be seen in one of the three exam rooms. Everyone was very social and very crammed together...what I'm learning is typical Nepali life.
We got a quick tour from one of the other interns. The hospital is basically three or four small, but tall buildings really close together that surround the central courtyard. I spent most of my time in the building with the wards. It was four stories tall. I was on one of the upper floors in the surgical ward. The ward consisted of one big room partially divided into two smaller rooms. The nurses desk, an area that could hold 3 people comfortably and 4 people awkwardly, was in the corner of the first room. 14 beds took up most of the space in the two rooms. 13 of them were full, with mostly female but a few male patients. Some were pre-op, some were post-op, and when they weren't sleeping, everyone was very talkative and friendly. Relatives and friends of the patients sat on stools between the beds, chatting, sleeping, or running errands for the sick ones. The floor was cement, the walls were painted brick, and the only equipment besides the beds and the IV stands were a few large oxygen tanks for the patients who needed them. The blankets were an odd assortment of colored wool and cotton patterns, and some had holes in them. The patients didn't really need them, however...many just used them for a little bit more decency than anything, I think. It was warm in the room.
One big difference between home and this hospital was the independence of the patients. The nurses and doctors wrote prescriptions for anything that cost money and the families of the patients had to go get it. For example, one lady had to get an insulin shot, so her husband was given a piece of paper and ran down to the pharmacy to buy everything...the insulin, the syringe, etc. There were no meals served by the hospital...instead, family members brought food for their relatives.
Another difference was the level of privacy. Everyone was in one room, and no one was shy about listening into conversations or watching what was going on. Many were very curious about what the nurses were doing. My friend Haylee and I walked around taking vitals...(she did the hard work with a touchy pressure cuff and I just took temps and used a finger thing to measure 02 saturation and pulse)...and several patients and family members asked what the 02 saturation device did. I attempted to explain it in English to them...but most spoke very little English so I don't know how much they understood. Must learn more Nepali. =)
I'm still amazed by how friendly strangers are to each other. Everyone acts like family to everyone. Women and girls call their friends "Didi", or sister, and men and boys call their friends "Dai", which means brother. A younger girl was being treated for some respiratory problems, and she wasn't feeling too great. Her sister was on one side of the bed talking to her, and another older lady was sitting on the other side of the bed holding her hand. We assumed the older lady was her mother...but when we asked her she said that she wasn't...she was with the patient on her other side. Later, we saw the older lady help the girl to the bathroom. That struck me as so unusual, but so cool...I think people in the US could learn some things from these people.
My body is starting to get back on schedule, which is nice. I sleep really well here, despite my hard bed and a pillow that feels like it is made of sand. =) I love this place!
Today I'm going to head out to explore the area. I need to buy a facemask to wear on the street...all of the dust and smoke is making my chest hurt. And then I'm headed to the hospital at 2 to sit in the ER and watch the doctors there (Dad, I will provide another compare/contrast entry just for you! haha), and then at 4 the surgeries start. Maybe. Time here isn't quite as important as it is at home. So 4:00 may mean 4:30 or 5:00...
Time for breakfast!
Miss you all,