Its getting harder and harder to motivate myself to go to the hospital every morning and see the people and face the fact that there is nothing that we can do. But at the same time, seeing the reactions of people that we have helped, and watch the people we wrap up walk out with clean bandages provides a feeling that’s hard to describe. So my emotions are very torn every time I walk into Mombasa Coastal province hospital. Some doctors are very friendly and energized to teach us anything they can and answer our endless questions. But sometimes bad luck puts you in a day like today. A couple of us went up to the main theatre where all the major surgeries are done during the day, and at first the nurse wouldn’t even let us onto the floor and then the surgeon doing exploratory surgery on an abscess on an abdomen wouldn’t let us into the operating room! bummer… So we wandered down to the minor theatre where they patch up wounds and perform sutures and such. We got there to find that there was NO GAUZE LEFT. guess what the head matron said to us when we asked where we could find more? “There is no more until tomorrow, you are just going to have to accept the fact that there isn’t any”. We looked out the door to the hallway filled with a line of people waiting to be treated and our hearts just sunk. A father came in with his adorable little girl who needs her sutures removed and we couldn’t do anything without sterile gauze!
We then thought maybe if we tried an entirely different route and went to orthopedics to maybe learn how to wrap/plaster a cast. And I cant even tell you how different it is than the US, it was a complete shocker. When we walked into the casting room there was a man that had casts on both legs all the way up past his knees. The plaster job looked absolutely horrendous and uncomfortable for the poor man!! his right leg was awkwardly turned in and his knees almost looked hyper extended! The plaster was uneven and bulgy and looked like it had been on for a while! The doctor plastering his leg had cut a hole near the shin of the mans left leg and explained to us that the man had a bilateral compound fracture and the wound was infected. He was peeling off the bandages when we came in and the old gauze was sticking to the sore. When he finally pulled back the last layer of bandage I don’t know how I didn’t hit the floor I got so light headed. The entire room instantly filled with the smell of rotting flesh, and it looked like the bandage had pulled back some skin with it, it was so yellow and full of pus. He then proceeded to try and clean it and came to the conclusion that the man needed to see a physician for further diagnosis. He took a giant cutter that looked more like a garden tool than a cast removal device. The man screamed in pain as the tool moved across his leg. The cast was made our of straight up plaster, like stuff from the home depot, and it looked like a child paper-mached it on, the table and the mans leg was full of white dust and fragments of cast after they pulled it off. Verrrryyy different than the US. I remember getting my wrist casted when I broke it, the comparison is completely crazy! The poverty and amount of money the government gives this hospital is so hard to see. Doing this kind of volunteer work here is definitely an eye-opener!
Then we tried our luck a second time in major theatre, and there was an orthopedic surgery going on. Before we went into the surgery, we saw Dr. Nwiende, the anesthesiologist that was so helpful when we watched those c-sections, she met us with a warm smile and cracked a couple jokes. The surgery we walked into was a patellar fracture repair, it was really interesting. They put in two giant pins and held it all together with wire, a much milder surgery than the femur fracture we saw last week thats for sure!
Tomorrow we are taking a trip to an orphanage! So excited!!!