It's been a while since I last wrote my blog and I have been receiving several messages of concern regarding my well being as it seems it is the only way people know I am still alive.
Since I last wrote I have been on Safari in a game reserve 3 hour drive away. The GPS seemed to be programmed to take us through all the hijacking hotspots in Gauteng province with signs continuously reminding us. We set up camp under the red light from my head torch so it wouldn't affect our night vision for some romantic star gazing. There were three in one tent and Will had his own private suite. Despite it being close to freezing outside, our tent with three exothermic men inside become a sauna, which I believe led to my bout of micturition syncope at 3am, which I predicted and casually stopped mid flow and propped my legs up against a tree.
After a very poor night sleep we were woken by our very own David Attenborough (William Sayer) at 5:30am so we could survey the watering hole at sunrise. This was all well and good however it did not set me in good stead for the rest of the day. I was in the back of a very warm car cramped up with very little sleep. This was a recipe for disaster. I am able to fall asleep at the best of times like the time I fell asleep in the back of a Seaking Helicopter. I must have spent about 80% of my time asleep during the safari. I did, however, manage to rouse myself for all the big sightings which is a very effective use of my time. We did see a cougar eat it's prey up a tree which is apparently a very rare sighting. It was a very good couple of days and had a nice break away from the urban jungle of Johannesburg.
I have cycled around Soweto, South Africa's largest township with a population of about 5 million, in the African winter sun for 4 hours which was more than enough time for me to perish. Amazing experience and an opportunity to visit Nelson Mandela's and Desmond Tutu's house.
Two nights out this week. Both have involved encounters with Afrikaan thugs. However, negotiations diffused both situations. Actually the first one ended up with us all jumping in a taxi and running away like little girls. On nights out my chat up lines have started to become more elaborate. Gaining more confidence as the night goes on I begin as a 4th year medical student and become further progressed in my medical career to the point that I am a Consultant Trauma Surgeon headhunted to Johannesburg by about 3am. Needless to say they have made very little impact. The best and most obscure line so far has been introducing Nathan Post as the best Circumciser in the Northern Hemisphere. That line got me an invite to a 21st birthday party. However, I politely declined as somebody inviting me to their 21st party after a line like that must have, either, very few friends or a personality disorder.
My biggest achievement this past week has been performing my first operation obviously under very detailed guidance from the registrar. But it was an exploratory laparotomy after a guy had exviseration of his omentum following a stab wound. Very privileged to have had that opportunity and I hope more come my way in the time I've got left.
I am starting to become more frustrated with the attitude of 'This is Africa'. I appreciate that is the pace of life here but it just leads to complete inefficiency. I haven't had post for two weeks because the handyman has had an array of excuses to not pick up the post from the post office. I still haven't paid for my accommodation as I have emailed them and spoken to them several times about paying but they have either not responded to my emails or I was told I was unable to pay at the accommodation office and she was unsure where I was able to pay. I have completely given up trying and if they want it they can come and get it. I can almost guarantee I will get away without paying due to their sheer incompetencies. I am struggling to keep my temper with the nursing staff as most of the ones who are actually awake seem to completely disregard basic patient care. I have been close to seeing red a couple of times this week both in hospital and at the accommodation office but thankfully I have turned around and walked away as I don't think it is a good look for an elective student to lose his rag.
Going to work the day shifts this week and hopefully get a shift on the helicopter. Fingers crossed I don't get shot down by an RPG.