Hello everyone. Yes, I'm still alive. Sorry I haven't blogged recently. It's been a very busy week, and the times that my schedule's not packed, I'm completely worn out. Last Tuesday and Wednesday were full of meetings and paperwork, Thursday and Friday were my orientation shifts on the ward. Saturday I took a day to read, rest, and work on paperwork.
Sunday I was going stir-crazy after not having been off the ship all week, so I went for a walk in Freetown with some new friends. The streets are very busy, dirty, and crowded, but it was good to get out and stretch my legs. We saw the famous Cotton Tree (google it) in the center of town, and a church nearby that was established in 1808. I was thankful for the people I went out with, because at one point one of them grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the way of a car, which passed by within a couple of inches of me. We walked through the craft market, but it was emptier than usual, so I'm told, it being Sunday.
Some first impressions of work on the ward: every change of shift the nurses all pray together, for each other and for the patients. When taking a patient to surgery the ward nurse and OR nurse both pray with him beforehand. We sing songs with our patients in the middle of the day, show movies, and take them outside on Deck 7 to get some fresh air at 3 pm. While people in the western culture value individuality and privacy and would hate to even be in a shared room, the Sierra Leoneans are all about community and being in each other's lives, and having them all in the same room (ward) isn't a problem at all. When I go to work at home I usually hit the ground running as soon as I clock in, and have a million things to do all day long. Here we might have a few meds to give, tube feedings and dressing changes to do, but there is much more time available to develop relationships and spend time with our patients.
That's it for now. I'll try to post again soon. One difficulty we encountered today was a problem with the air compressors on the ship, resulting in no oxygen supply in the operating room, thus no surgeries today. Pray that the problem is resolved quickly. Thanks friends!