Day 2: Get your motor running

I was a little worried after yesterday because we didn’t see that many new patients, at least compared to the prior year. Today I stopped worrying. We were very busy in the clinic, seeing mostly new patients…I think we saw 30+ in my room. It was a very interesting mix of people,  including several pediatric patients.

One was a 7 year old girl who had been in a car accident where she sustained a straddle injury. Her injuries were repaired at the time of the injury several months ago, but she was still leaking urine. She had damage to her urethra that needs further repair. The good news is that a pediatric urologist arrived today, so he should be able to help her. Her picture is on the sidebar–>. She was a very brave little girl and it was inspiring to watch the physician talk her through the exam.

One of the highlights of my day was talking to a group of 5 women about how to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles (a.k.a. Kegel exercises). These women have leakage that is mild, not operable, or some variation of both. I love teaching patients, especially women who are so eager to get better. At the end of the talk, I gave them all some flip flops and soap and asked if I could take their picture. They asked me to be in the picture with them–>. I look terribly uncomfortable but the bench was just too short for 6 people!

It was warm today–probably mid-80s, and the exam room felt small and odor-filled and claustrophobic. There was 1 attending doctor, 1 fellow, 1 resident, myself, and often another person, in addition to the patient. I remember walking into the hospital on the first day last year and thinking I might never get accustomed to the smell.

 I commented to someone today that it is hard to imagine this trip unless you have been. My idea of Africa was far from reality, and I am looking forward to seeing more of the countryside this weekend, on the way to the Gorilla Trek. I love seeing how people live with and in spite of their conditions. It’s sad and wonderful and such a good reminder of what is really important.