'Bam, Bam Bam!!' I immediately sit straight up and look around my bedroom, startled awake from a deep sleep. What time is it? 4 pm, Saturday afternoon. What's that hard banging? Bewildered, I rub my tousled hair from my face when I hear high, cheerful children's voices between the thumping of my windows. Ah. Since last night I've been sick (food poisoning), so I slept almost all day today. Well, a little social interaction can't hurt either. Ten drawings later, peace has returned, I go back to bed and sleep until the next morning.
Fortunately I'm well enough to work on Monday as it literally gets busier every week. 'Emergency!' Matt yells as he comes running into the nursing station. 'What's going on?' I ask, hastily putting down my antibiotic syringe and grabbing a pair of gloves from the box. 'Treasure is convulsion!' I quickly walk to bed 8 of room B, where the 10-month-old baby is admitted with malnutrition and dehydration…
The little body goes on violently shockingly. OK, first things first! While Matt connects the pulse-oximeter and thermometer, I quickly go through the ABCDE step-by-step. 'Airway, is there anything obstructing?' I kneel next to the little girl who is visibly struggling to get enough air. Fortunately the oxygen generator is still next to the bed (not brought back when her neighbor was discharged that morning), so we quickly connect her, to increase the saturation of 82%. Her mouth is full of mucus and tube feeding-like vomit that needs to be sucked out! 'Someone get the suction machine, please!' I yell as I remove some with the sheet and position Treasure. Matt comes back with the electric suction device. Oh no, the socket is already in use for the oxygen generator and there are no other sockets close enough. 'Let me get the extension cable!' Matt shouts as he hastily turns around again. The knowledge that we only have 1 extension cable and that no one knows exactly which of the 47 children in the hospital is currently using it, worries me a bit.
'Give this!' Says Liz, who has now prepared the medication. As I open the cannula in the shaved skull I ask what it is. Diazepam, cause she is still convulsing. It actually goes against my principles to inject something that I don't know if it's the right dose or the right drug at all, but because of the cramped setup I'm the only one who can reach it well and this doesn't seem like time for discussion, so I trust it's okay.
Fortunately, it doesn't take long before Matt is back with the extension cable. I quickly suck out the mouth with visible good results. Treasure is stabilizing quickly, allowing us to take the necessary next steps.
I have been in Uganda for exactly 10 weeks now. Time flies by, although I also have the feeling that I have been here for much longer already. I really enjoy working here, living here, getting to know people and discovering new paths in this beautiful nature. And (as always) I'm also dreaming and making plans for the next chapter; but more on that later! At least until the summer I will enjoy the beautiful Uganda!