Just writing for you to know that I’m still alive. I have sooo many things that I want to tell you, but my brain doesn’t seem to be able to produce a comprehensive text. Or it’s just too big to explain in words. The past 24 hours has been a rather different (?) experience. I’ve spent about 19 hours in the medical tent. It started with the night shift, and they immediately signed me up for two more shifts – one which I just got home from, and one starting at 8 am. So yeah, they need people. Never thought I’d do my first ever night shift in such a place. But I don’t mind, it was quite nice actually.
Working in the med tent is so different from our hospitals, quit
e naturally. Not that I have much clinical experience, but still. Both due to the facilities and supplies and the patients, their history, and the greeeaaat language barrier. I will spend some money on helping to improve the facilities, I believe it’s really important for the future function of the place. We want to organise the pharmacy part better, we have to get proper floors – now they’re just wooden planks absorbing everything landing on it – as well as better walls. I was also thinking if there’d be any possibility to get robes for the health care providers, or at least something to protect our clothes… Now we just wear a reflex west, to show that we are volunteers, on top of our normal clothes. And it’s quite inconvenient to get your stuff washed here… ”Buy new clothes,” a fellow volunteer told me when I asked.
Anyhow, most commonly present are coughs, colds, sore throats. Also a lot of sick babies and pregnant mothers. During the night, we received an 8 months pregnant women with fever, who had had walked from the shore to the camp in her wet and cold clothes. In the afternoon, I heard that she had gone into labour. Another woman had given birth on the boat, with some postpartum complications. I heard another family came with quite severe frostbite after crossing some mountains on their way, I think they had to amputate. Apart from that, there are cases of everything from substance abuse related problems to pneumonia to epilepsy to renal colic. I mostly get to take history, blood pressure, temperature, listen to lungs, hand out rehydration solutions, paracetamol… And do bad attempts of understanding farsi when no one else is around.
The hardest part so far is to send the patients back to the cold and to think of what journey they still have in front of them. Of course augmented the fact that we cannot always give them proper treatment due to the limited facilities and supplies that we have. Also, the tent is not too big either. Most things just look extremely provisional, and during the days there are often huge lines of people waiting for help outside of the door. Okay I don’t know what I’m writing about anymore, there are too many things to say. But I’ll go to bed now and catch a taxi to the camp again in 6 hours or so.