Well I've been in Gizo for two weeks now exactly and I thought it about high time that I posted to update everyone on how I've been getting on!
The time spent here already has gone so fast, which is probably because I've been so busy, but also because I've really managed to settle in well and make lots of friends already.
So the hospital: is great, really enjoying working in it and learning some amazing things. I work with 2 local doctors (Mike and Allen), one doctor on rotation from Oz (Emi) and finally the director (Gunter) who is an Austrian here to stay put and shake Gizo Hospital into shape! So most days we start off with a ward round which lasts around 90mins and we cover all the patients in the hospital (apart from the TB patients who only get seen once a week!). Then its either off to outpatients, or theatre. I'm loving assisting in theatre here, its completely different to back home. There's no real anaesthetic here so we have to use ketamine (a drug seldom used back home except by date rape artists and vets tranquilising large horses!) we also have no anaesthetist so that's become my job. I make up a nice cocktail of drugs and then put the patient out, generally they stay anaesthetised for 10-15mins, we judge when to top up the anaesthetic when they start coming around during the operation (they dont remember it afterwards! we cant possibly administer more ketamine before that happens - firstly we dont have enough of the stuff to go around, and secondly its too dangerous incase we over anaesthetise a patient and are forced to intubate). I've seen lots of different operations already - from female sterilisations under only local anaesthetic (I dont think I'll ever forget the bizarre feeling of rolling a woman's fallopian tubes between my fingers whilst she was still conscious), bush knife injuries where whole segments of a hand have been accidently sliced off, to a child with an open unstable fracture which I had to help reduce (I thought I was going to faint when i could feel her bones crunching under my fingers as we tried to stabilise the fracture). Aside from theatre the next best thing has to be the clinic visits to neighbouring islands. I go every Thursday with the nurses and one doctor to a remote village on another island and we run a clinic for the locals who otherwise would not receive medical treatment. The first week the locals (who are mainly fishermen) cooked us lunch before we left to thank us for coming all the way to see them (took around 90mins in an open boat and scortching sun!) and yesterday we had to just do the clinic under a tree as there was no other space to do it in. I've met some amazing people living in the villages and have become quite acostomed to children pointing and staring at the only "waet dokta" (pijin), and small children crying when they see me as theyve never seen a white person before! This weekend I'm off to an island called Simbo to run a clinic there tomorrow. I'm staying with Dr Allen and his family on the island and on sunday they're taking me to explore the active volcano which makes up most of the island!
Ok so enough hospital chat, what about the rest of it?! Well I've made loads of friends already which really helps - heading off on elective alone was a little scarey at first but has actually prooved to be an excellent decision! Never before have I ever met so many different people and made so many friends so quickly! Have already managed to get my open water diving qualification which is great and next week hope to dive grand central station (the place where finding nemo is set!!!) and the tao naru ship wreck! Went on a dive this week and saw sharks, a ray and a turtle!
Anyways must dash as need to get ready for the trip to Simbo - apparently the seas can be really really rough so I plan to take lots and lots of druuuuugs!:)
Missing you all lots, but I bet you all wish you were here ... its HOT and I'm TANNED!!!:)
Lots of love, Nat xxxxx