05 March 2004

I'm finally a real missionary!

March 5, 2004

Salut a tout le monde,

I finally feel like a real missionary. Yesterday, I awoke not feeling the greatest. Sarah and I had just had an important talk concerning trust where we were learning a little to trust each other by sharing some personal things. Unfortunately, that went late. So I attributed my tiredness and soreness to that. Also, it has been very hot here, over 100 F. That must be why I've been sweating so much the past few days. Anyway, at morning report, the "Garde" (Jean Bende) reported on several cases where he had done treatments we'd discussed many times before as inadequate. Then, he talked about a Pediatric case that should have been hospitalized that was sent home. Then, another case that he put on "observation" because, as he said, only the "Médecin" (moi) can hospitalize. That was the last straw. I exploded. I tore him apart. I told him that they've been hospitalizing patients for years without me. I asked the charge nurse how many patients he had personally hospitalized the day before. He said "three." I continued until he spoke up very hurt and said he could tell I was displeased with his work and he'd worked virtually without sleep and if I wanted he would just go back to the District and not work at the hospital any more. I told him he was tired, he should leave and rest and we'd talk later.

That afternoon I did a mastectomy (removal of a breast) on a man (!) with a mass there. During the surgery all my muscles began to ache. I began to have a stomach ache. My head began to kill me. I had a strange premonition I was about to become a true missionary. I finished the surgery and went straight to the lab and had them do the "gout d'espece". Sure enough, it was positive. I finally had Malaria. I was kind of excited even though it meant I'd lost the bet with Sarah and owed her my last bar of dark Swiss chocolate. I got some Fansidar and Quinine from the Pharmacy and headed home to rest. I felt like...well I better not use that word...let me see, oh yes, I can say "awful". But let me tell you...the sleep was sweet. Aside from not being able to hear well and the worsening of my pounding headache (both side effects of Quinine) I felt great. It was the first time in a long time I got a prolonged sleep. The next morning I felt wonderful (but still couldn't hear well...it's like having partial earplugs in).

I also had to to reflect.

At morning report we had worship and then I got up and apologized to Jean Bende. He reported that he too had thought about it a lot and felt like the Devil was trying hard to divide us and he didn't know what to do so he was very glad to accept my apology. Today was the most relaxed day I've had with the best interactions among the staff that I've seen. It was like everyone let out a long sigh that lasted all day long...

To top it off we got our autoclave working just by a little trial and error to figure out the two different knobs! Now we can actually operate with sterile instruments, gowns and drapes.

As for the Malaria...what's the big deal really...:)

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