Observed my first surgery today! You think you’re ready and prepared to witness something like that… but you really aren’t. It was a sensory overload, the smells, the heat, the sounds, it was overall incredibly overwhelming. Before the surgery began we had to change into a new pair of scrubs, throw on a pair of rubber boots, and a really attractive hairnet. When we walked into the operating room we grabbed masks and some gloves to put on. We made quick friends with the anesthesiologist and she loved to teach us and walk us through what she did for each surgery. She even gave us jobs to do! I mixed two of the drugs to make what would put her under, gave the patient oxygen as she was falling asleep, and even took a small part in putting the tracheal breathing tube in! She taught me about how anesthesia works, how she balances the gases and different kinds of drugs to keep the patient under, and even broke some of the science down into balanced chemical equations to help us understand. For the C-sections here they put the patient completely under for the procedure which is really interesting compared to the US. The first patient had already had a C-section previously so to begin they went in on the same incision as last time, it was okay to watch the doctor make the incision through the skin and fat, and eventually the uterus, but what really got me was when he took the sides of the incision firmly in his hands and RIPPED the hole to make it bigger… that’s when the room started to get hotter, I could feel myself drip with sweat and the smell of the room and the weird smell of my mask started to make me nauseas. Later I got even more light headed when they used a sort of alcohol that had a super strong smell to clean her skin. My head was spinning and the procedure had just started! When he initially cut into the uterus and pressed down on the woman’s stomach to find the baby a huge squirt of who knows what splashed across the table! He was very aggressive when he pulled the baby out, pushing down the stomach and squeezing the baby out. When the baby came out it didn’t cry! They brought it down to the maternity ward and it was killing me to see how it was doing! The first C-section I watched the entire procedure from start to finish, and the next one I just sat by the anesthesiologist and avoided as much as the gruesome parts as I could because I hadn’t quite recovered yet. Definitely feel broken into the surgery part of things!
Some basic things I’ve noticed here is that it’s very Americanized. I swear there is more English everywhere than there is Swahili. There are billboards everywhere, including ones for Coca-Cola, and there’s a Shell gas station just down the street. Although I haven’t seen a McDonalds yet in Mombasa, there are quite a few Italian restaurants that sell pizza and pasta, as well as cafes that sell burgers, nachos, chicken nuggets and hot dogs. I’ve even seen a Chinese restaurant! Most everyone we have talked to can speak some sort of English, but we’ve only seen a handful of other Americans here. The streets are insanely busy, people are always walking somewhere, and there is always some sort of traffic jam, in fact this morning we were stuck in one for almost an hour and a half! Little makeshift huts line the streets selling fruit, plants, clothes and little trinkets. Young men pull carts jammed with potatoes, bananas or mangoes. Everywhere you turn there is someone asking you for money, tuk tuks are constantly honking trying to get your attention to give you a ride. Men hang out the sides of the creeper vans (they are scary! At night some light up even, and the men whistle and yell out of them!) and the sides of the roads are bustling with people walking as cars zoom past literally inches from their pant legs.
These are Tuk Tuks
We’ve learned a couple basic Swahili words:
Asante- thank you
Asante sana – thank you very much
Jambo – Hello
Pole – sorry
Mazunga – white person/foreigner
Habari- how are you?
We went to a vegetarian café for lunch called Café Mocha, and they have some desserts and pastries that look so so good! Might have to hit that up again very soon!
Kenya is 8 hours ahead of the US, so I have to wait until later at night to call my family or to go on my computer! It’s going to be a challenge to adjust to the time change when I get home that’s for sure!
Heres the photo of our group practicing IVs on each other