3 weeks in summary:
- Met up with the another doctor and nurse at Heathrow, with whom I will be sharing the next 8 weeks of my life with!
- After a 9 hour flight to Addis Ababa, got the most anxiety fuelling hour long bus drive to Menagesha Rehabilitation centre, where we will be staying for the duration of the mission.
- Week 1- Admitted new and returning patients, most with NOMA (which we are here to treat), and some with general illnesses who had heard Facing Africa are in town, which equals doctors!
- Week 2- Transported all patients to the private hospital in Addis, where they receieved a pre-op work up of blood tests, CT scans etc
- Saturday 5th October - Surgical team arrived from the UK. My team presented each case, they were assessed by the surgeons as to whether an operation was viable, then onto the anaesthetists to work out the best way to get them off to sleep for the surgery. Not as easy as it sounds, as NOMA affects oral and nasal airways.
- Monday 7th October - First day of surgery, which I was lucky enough to be involved in. 9 operations done in less than 6 hours. We have 2 theatres running simultaneously, with 20 surgeons, scrub nurses and anaesthetists from around the world.
- Week 3 - We have just finished the week, having done 26 operations, some taking as long as a day to complete.
A bit about the area/lifestyle:
It is very cold here in the evenings due to the altitude. You can here the hyenas very close at night as our house is on the outskirts of a nature reserve, so there are lots of monkeys and deer to attract them. The monkeys are also very cheeky, and we found ourselves subject to a monkey break in at our house, resulting in numerous banana skins and bite marks in all the apples!
We are looked after by the local women who live near us, called the 'mothers'; they cook for us 3 times a day, clean our rooms and do our washing. Naturally I will be expecting this service to continue when I get home for Christmas! The amount they can carry on their heads is nothing short of impressive.
Everything moves at a snails pace in Africa, although the giant tortoise who lives in our garden is deceptively fast! This means we get a lot of time to play with the children, which always results in a football match!
That is all for now. Hope to hear from you all soon.
ps. Apologies for the graphic picture, but it give you an idea of the types of patients we are looking after. Believe it or not, this is mild.