Here are some pictures of the dentist part, as the tent was quite filled with patients for most of the time and I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking pictures of patients even with their approval. I spent about 9 hours in the med tent today, though honestly I don’t know what I’ve been doing. Today has been a tough day I think, or I’m just tired. Or sick, oh noooo! I think all medical volunteers are just getting (more) tired and grumpy. And everyone also seems somewhat sick hahaha. Someone said our tent is just like a Petri dish (for growing bacteria, and stuff).
In the morning, we had no interpreters and very few medical professionals. We even decided to close the clinic due to lack of personnel, but just two minutes after another doctor showed up and we could re-open again. Phew. Working without Arabic / Farsi interpreters is extremely difficult, though a good practice in made up sign language. Honestly I think it’s quite fun, at least when we are successful in the end.
Today we had, once again, a lot of pregnant women, children, coughs and colds. Nothing super dramatical though a couple of people that were sent to the hospital – amongst others for iv fluids, because we don’t want to do it in the tent. Also, quite some people come and ask for fast tracking – that is, they want to get registered directly, without having to wait for several days as the normal cases. This is not impossible, but very rarely done. As always, saying no is one of the hardest things. ”Where should we go,” they ask, ”my baby is cold, my wife is pregnant”, but many times we have nothing to offer them. Honestly, I’m surprised that we don’t have more diseases here. Hope I didn’t jinx it by saying ”at least there is no cholera”. Though they say there has been a number of diarrhoea cases lately, so who knows… Sorry non-med (student) people, if my updates are getting weird.
Tonight I heard the temperature would drop to abour -6 Celcius. It has been cold previous nights, people have been freezing, but the temperature has not been below zero. Today was windy too, the seas were very rough for crossing. Oh yeah, we had a couple of people coming straight from the boats, soaked, shaking and freezing. We got them dry clothes and let them get a bit warmer before we sent them out in the cold again, with instructiong to not tell anyone. Frankly, the medical tent doesn’t have the capacity to warm up non-sick people even though it clearly affects people’s health. It’s also hard to tell people to wait outside when they seek for help, as the room gets crowded easily and there are only about 5 chairs.
I must also add, that I admire the doctors and nurses and everyone working in the med tent so much. After three shifts, I feel like crawling down under a stone and never come back. It’s just soooo intense, compared to what I’ve done here outside of the medical tent, as well as compared to the little clinical experience that I have from Sweden. Maybe my lack of experience makes me extra mentally exhausted, but in general, you have to be constantly focused, there is always something to do and everyone is working all the time. It just occurred to me that breaks at some point might be a good idea. This is a trial and error lesson in retaining your mental health.
I’ll go sleep now, next shift starts in 9 hours. We will see what happens tomorrow after the shift; I kind of want to do a night shift (but that would be stupid after a morning shift, maybe), or go to the beach, or just hang around in the camp, or go north with my hotel mates. They are going to Skala Sikaminea because as previously mentioned those camps are quite a lot nicer, and they have friends there among the volunteers. It’s new years eve tomorrow! Maybe the only one who has missed that is me hahaha.