Monday, we got to see the bililights in use with a baby in the nursery! After replacing the old bililights from interns two years ago with our new and improved version, we found that our bililights didn’t fit the holder quite as well as the old ones. So, looking for an easy fix, we asked one of the nurses for a roll of bandaids and just wrapped our handle to make it fit more snugly in the holder. Then we took the entire holder and attached it to an IV stand so the nurses could move it straight to the incubator the baby was sleeping/screaming in. Done! Photoshoot!
The exciting part of this was actually that with our new phototherapy lights, the patient was discharged after just three days of treatment, whereas the old ones often took up to two weeks before the patient was discharged to go home. The nurses were pretty pleased, took the lights after they were done using it and packed in a cardboard box on a top shelf. Hopefully they won’t forget about it up there though, haha.
Tuesday, Dr. Oden and Dr. Richards-Kortum came to visit! It was a short visit and they were pretty exhausted from the long flight over. But being the Dr. Oden and the Dr. Richards-Kortum, we still exchanged all of our feedback and they gave us back a lot of good insights into what we’d learned in the two weeks that we’ve been here at Maluti. By the time Andrea and I sent them off, they’d filled our plates with even more to look into and do around the hospital.
Rest of the week was spent doing… the usual? Ha. There’s no usual here. We basically make a list 10 things long everyday and just go down the list as we try to find the people we need, all the while keeping our eyes open for any sudden opportunities to pounce on. And sometimes the opportunities pounce on us… This week we’ve really dove into learning more about HIV/AIDS and how it affects mothers and their babies. With a prevalence of around 23% (2009) nearly one in four people is HIV positive; needless to say it’s a major scene in the hospital we haven’t touched yet. We’ve learned a ton in just three days, but I’ll update more when there’re more interesting things to say than just spitting facts at you.
The end of each day is spent perfecting our cooking skills (we’re getting really good, seriously.) and chatting with the other ex-pats and volunteers at the hospital over a game of Yahtzee and a cup of rooibos tea. Not too bad of a life, eh? Except when the power goes out and it’s pitch pitch black. Scarrrrrrryy.