>(Mandie here): I was an “escort” today, which is kind of a loose job description. It included walking patients from triage to doctors, from doctors to pharmacy, and so on. The day started out early for Rachel and I and the several others who went to the clinic site early for registration. I found myself with nothing to do and so started down the line of 150+ people, shaking each person’s hand and saying the one work I learned from our bus driver on the way: “oraireota?”, which means “how did you sleep?”. The first person I spoke to gave me my pet name, a tradition in Uganda. It is Akiki (ah-KEE-kee). By person 50, I had learned the correct response to “oraireota” and several other phrases. Those all came in handy through the rest of the day. I spent some time playing games with Heather and the children, started an IV on a severely dehydrated grandma, pulled a tooth, dressed a third degree wound, and then saw patients on my own. We had a rather large patient load today and the doctors got a little behind, so they put me and Wendy (a med student) together to see patients. That was taking too long, however, so they split us up after the first patient. Most of what we see here is the usual dehydration, malnutrition, and parasite infections. That can get frustrating as I got tired of telling the translator the SAME things over and over, but it is so good to know that even the small things we can offer then can make a big difference in their lives. This was my first day on a medical mission trip where I wasn’t a translator and I loved it. I miss being able to communicate directly with patients and several times blurted out Spanish to them, but the opportunities to actually DO the medicine I’ve been studying was wonderful.
(Rachel here): I worked in triage today from 8:30 to 6:30….what does that mean? Three nursing students and I took 260 blood pressures, heart rates, asked “what brought you here today?,” watched people chew up disgusting non-chewable worm medicine and vitamins, and hopefully made the lives of the doctors easier with our many many questions. It was a long day, but rewarding when the leader of the trip made the comment that he would never have gotten such a detailed history from the patients. Overall, I didn’t drink enough water and may or may not have bruises from sitting on a hard bench, but will sleep well tonight knowing that 260 people got great health care consults. We keep saying we’ll post pictures, but so far have been so exhausted each night it’s enough to just write. Maybe tomorrow…they’ve promised to make the clinic day shorter! Thanks for your comments and emails! I can’t wait to share more!