Wednesday, 24 June 2009

English Lessons

To build upon the last rather upsetting post...the disabled child abandoned in our ward on Tuesday past away last night. The cause was an "aspiration pneumonia with secondary septicaemia" (A lung infection leading to an infection of the whole body). She had not even been here long enough to be given a name. One of the medics asked if I wanted to see the body and took me to a small concrete building housing 4 green body bags, tied with red ribbon. Hers was perched precariously on the edge of a table. We headed back to the ward without opening it. When I left the clinic yesterday she was fine. I cant really get my head round how she could have deteriorated so quickly.

I could follow this with stories of botched CPR or a 4 hour cannulation session (one 1 child...) but I think this blog needs some optimistic reading.

This week I started teaching English to some of the staff at the clinic. There's 33 students in my class and they're very much at a beginner level. I've never done anything like this before but I'm loving it. My class are all really keen: They take notes eagerly, shout out answers and some (the brave ones) are happy to stand up in front of everyone and have basic English conversations. Because of this, when I'm walking around the hospital, I'm regularly greeted by "Morning Sir" and "Hello Teacher" which is pretty amusing.

Lesson Planning

Often I've found myself at a loose end this week so I've taken a number of trips to the laboratory. Here the staff have taught me how to make malaria slides and recognise the different types using a microscope. This kind of thing was unbelievable boring back in 1st year but now that I'm hanging about on a ward where every other kid has malaria (by the way, this diagnosis fills me with relief as its treatable and managed extremely well), I suddenly find staring down a microscope fascinating! It is so rewarding when it clicks, and you suddenly realise you can recognise not just the presence of a malaria parasite but also what species and part of its life cycle it's in! Geek!

Yesterday as I was about to leave the clinic, two of the medics who I worked with in the first week told me their friend, another medic, was sick at home and asked if I would visit him and see what I think. (I wont go into the details but he probably has appendicitis and refused to go into hospital despite needing IV antibiotics: No appendicectomies here...) It was extremely touching to realise that even in such a short time I've managed to gain some trust and respect, enough in fact that they're happy to trust me with their own health! This is especially rewarding after some of the difficulties I've encountered this week working on the ward.

This weekend I'm taking a break and heading out to Sukathai - a national park filled with temples and ruins. I just hope it doesn't rain too much.

Burmese Tea: My favourite thing in the world at the moment.

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