Nov 18, 2009

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!


Monday and Tuesday were certainly interesting days at the clinic!  Monday morning I helped Nancy back in the pharmacy some, and then Stephanie called me to start taking patient histories.  Stephanie stayed around for the first couple patients just to make sure I was asking the right questions, then she went to help Nancy and left me on my own.  Zuleka translated for me most of the time, but Tizo helped a couple times as well.  I think taking histories and vital signs is one of my favorite things to do so far! :)   I ask if their parents are in good health, if there’s any history of cancer, TB, HIV, HTN, diabetes, etc. 

A slightly amusing situation came up when I had to to take the histories of two different Masai ladies.  For ladies, one of the questions I have to ask is about their monthly cycle.  The thing is, the Masai women often look much, much older than they are, so you sometimes have a little problem.  As I was questioning the first lady, I was thinking to myself, “She looks pretty old…I’m sure she’s no longer having those.  But I suppose I should check just in case.”  So, we asked her and she’s talks to herself trying to figure it out, then proceeds to tell us about the most recent occurrence!  Now I’m thinking, “Whoa…okay!…Can’t judge a book by its cover!”.  We finished with that lady, and started to question the next woman.  When we got to that same question I think, “This lady looks reeeaaally old, I’m sure she doesn’t! But then again, the last woman surprised me, so I guess I’ll just ask…”  So once again, we ask her that question, and then the lady replies, “Oh no!! I am an old woman!” Now at this point I’m thinking, “Ooookaaaay….I feel like a complete fool!”

The most interesting thing that happened was that I got to feel an enlarged liver!  Danny came into the pharmacy asking if we wanted to feel one, (of course we did!), then we followed him into the exam room.  It was a middle aged Masai man who’s enlarged liver was caused by drinking beer every single day.  First, Mr. Danny put his hand over the liver, and tapped his fingers with his other hand, then did the same thing on the other side so we could hear the difference in tone.  (As he was doing this, Nancy and I were rubbing our hands together trying to warm them up.  I don’t think it worked for mine, though…the poor man! My hands probably felt like ice!)  Then Danny showed us how to palpate the liver, then let me try.  It was very interesting!  Another lady came in and was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm.  An aneurysm is when an area of the blood vessel widens, forming a spot that is similar to a bubble in a tire.  They’re very dangerous, and sadly the lady very possibly might die from it.  Her blood pressure was very high, and also had a fast pulse.  You could feel the aneurysm pumping very strongly when you put your hand at the top of her abdomen.

Tuesday morning was pretty hectic, because Tizo (he checks people in, collects money, etc. etc.) was gone for most of the morning.  Well, that meant that I had to try to do his job.  Thankfully I know enough Swahili to make up their chart info, tell them how to pay, etc.  The hard part was making change with no coins in the cash box!  Since we didn’t have any coins, Nancy ran up to their house and got a few, but we ran out again quickly.  It was crazy, and I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off!  Thankfully Tizo came back and then we were able to get things in there going more smoothly.  There was alot of work to do in the card room, so we worked in there mostly all day.  I also helped Nancy in the pharmacy a bit, recorded diagnoses into the log book, counted how many patients we’ve had in the last months, and took a few histories when Stephanie was busy doing something else.
Also, promiscuity is a huge problem, and if people could see the affects it can have, they might think twice about what they do.  It seems that almost every other person that comes in has some sort of disease.  It’s very sad.

We’ll see what other interesting things next week holds!  :)

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