Happy new year dear friends!
A bit late, but I really haven’t had time to write since I woke up yesterday morning. This update will come in two parts. Part one: 31st Dec
In short, not a super intense day, because the weather and the sea was horrible so not that many boats arrived. They said there were only three patients at the clinic during the whole night. I had morning shift, though I must say we were constantly busy until after midday. Not because there were super many people, but there were only two doctors and me there. No nurses, no interpreters, no general volunteers. This meant that every patient took a lot longer time, because in most cases we don’t understand each other’s languages very well. Though we’re getting quite good at sign language for the most common symptoms and treatments. Once again, mostly coughs and colds – I’ve at least learned how to handle those though of course I always have to consult a doctor before doing anything. At some point, a young woman came in with complaints of nausea. All her values were fine but all of a suddenly she collapsed on the floor, unconscious. After some minutes (with medical attention of course) she woke up, and in the end she seemed to be fine enough. So probably it was something psychological – and it’s not the first time that patients have collapsed due to seemingly psychological reasons. Which is completely understandable, I don’t think that I’d be able to live like they are forced to here, really, also considering all the things that they’ve been through, and the journey that they have in front of them.
The weather was also really cold yesterday, it even started to snow in the afternoon. I was freezing the whole day inside of our barn (though of course it’s not really isolated) and even in our hotel room, I could barely stand spending 10 minutes outside. I don’t think I actually spent more than 10 minutes in a row outdoors. Imagine children, pregnant women and elderly, sleeping in tents. In the medical tent, we have some heater thingy named ‘the dragon’ (I don’t know what it is but it runs on diesel and electricity, it creates fire and it looks and sounds kind of like a dragon). However, most of the day we were out of diesel anyways, so no heating. Which means when sick patients come and we keep them in for observation, they remain cold. I feel so bad when I want to listen to someone’s lungs, or take a blood pressure, and have to ask them to take of all their layers of jackets and shirts while they are already freezing.
Anyways, in the afternoon there were some more volunteers. Actually, all of a sudden we had like three farsi speakers, two Arabic speakers and some other general volunteers in the tent at the same time. Though, we were still low on medical staff. Nevertheless, the afternoon was much calmer. When there are volunteers, there are no patients. When there are patients, there are no volunteers. Murphy’s law. Around 16, I went with another doctor to buy some supplies. We bought some milk powder for babies, some plasters for blisters and loads of shoes. We also brought a guy from Syria who had gotten his registration some days ago (which means that he can move on to Athens and Macedonia), but who had decided to stay and help out for a while. The morning shifts have been extended from 8-16 to 8-20 because of the shortage of medical personnel. We went back with the supplies, but there were pretty much still no patients at all. I heard even many tents were empty, because of the reduced amount of arrivals. So instead, another of the doctors taught me how to suture. That’s another way to spend your new years eve.
After our shift ended, we had a goodbye dinner with the doctors who had been on the dayshift as they were going to leave. We were all dead tired, but some other people managed to force us to go to some super tiny café in the middle of nowhere and to stay awake until midnight. As soon as the clock turned twelve, we all fled to our beds. #Partypeople
Hope you’ve all had a great new year’s eve!
(Did plan to post this at the beginning of yesterday, but I kinda fell asleep after some sentence)