Today we were greeted by the warm African sun. The past two days have been chilly; even for those of us from New England! On our third day working along side the nurses in Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM), we were split into groups: Alex and Martha spent the day in casualty or the Emergency Department, Inge and I were on the Womens Medical Ward and Aisha and Ali went with Choto to the Mankayane Government Hospital. We are all becoming increasingly more comfortable on the floors, acquainted with the staff, and feel helpful in our supportive roles. We find our time spent there both enriching and challenging.
I had my first full day on the Women’s Medical Ward today. It is large room divided in four sections, which they refer to as cubes. There are eight beds in each cube. Your condition determines which cube you are in. For instance, the first cube contains those with non-infectious conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension; the second cube houses patients with conditions such as Cerebral Vascular Accidents and Meningitis; the third cube holds patients with non-communicable respiratory conditions; and the fourth cube is closed off from the rest, for patients with active TB. There are open windows on both sides of all cubes that provide sunshine and increase airflow (thank you, Florence Nightingale!).
For the first half of the day Inge and I worked along side our nurse, Dale, as she took vital signs and the students charted the results. We saw patients of all ages, from 13 to 86. Yesterday, Aisha and Alex went to the local store and purchased a coloring book for one of the young girls on the ward. She was the youngest and seemed shy and reserved. Today she proudly showed Inge and I her drawings with a grin from ear to ear! What a gratifying moment! During the afternoon I teamed up with Elvis (not his real name, an easy to pronounce nickname) to help reposition and wash the patients. It is always an honor to share such an intimate moment with a patient and I was privileged to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed being there.
Aisha and Ali traveled to Mankayane Government Hospital which is located in a rural area located in the mountains of Manzini. They observed Choto give a presentation on the perception of self as it relates to spiritual, emotional, physical, and social roles in society. They were impressed by his charisma and ability to connect with the women. They commented on the striking differences between the rural government hospital and the private city hospital.
The Causality Department kept Martha and Alex on their toes! They were welcomed by the nursing staff and were grateful to see a wide variety of conditions We all look forward to returning tomorrow.