Thursday, June 13, 2013

Staying in Missan - Days 2 to 7 (June 2 to June 7, 2013)

Readers of my blog must have already read the last post before this, where I described the circumstances surrounding my going to Missan as well as my arrival and the first evening spent in the room inside the Male Ward. In this post, I am going to describe how my next six days went ... and at the end of week, how I returned to Al Muwayh.

Each day was like any previous (or following) day. What changed were the faces I saw, the people I met, and the experiences I accumulated. On the second day evening, I encountered a child who had accidentally ingested an unknown but potentially dangerous quantity of a skin lotion; we gave him the goods, and he emerged unscathed. On the third morning, I discovered that unlike other locations I have worked at (including Al Muwayh), Missan hospital has established an unique and very robust morning conference, where the Medical Director convenes a meeting of all the specialists in a specially designated "conference room" and turn by turn, the specialists present the cases seen by them the previous day. I also met many new doctors and nurses, both in the ER and in the OPDs. Some of them I have stored in my brain as casual contacts, and a few, I grew slightly more close to, so that I can perhaps be good friends with them, should I need to go to Missan again in the future.

One of these was Sister Aimee, who was on night duty in the male ward on my second night. She and I hit it off rather well, and I learned something of what she calls the "Law of Attraction". Don't get me wrong ... it has nothing to do with attraction between people in the way you think; rather, it has to do with an unique policy everyone should adopt ... believe in your own self, and think positively, because, if you do so, the universe conspires to bring that which you truly desire, to you. I was reminded of Paulo Coelho's book which deals with some of the same things (The Alchemist). The next night, she prompted me to watch a 90 minute documentary on the very same topic, and I was almost convinced that the philosophy seemed workable. I resolved to start acting more positively from then on.

I tried for the first few days to liven my stay by connecting the room TV set (which only showed one channel - the Kaaba channel) to my set-top box, but in spite of numerous efforts to get the thing going, I was unable to fix the problem. I resigned myself to shutting off the TV altogether.

The lack of a good internet signal was extremely frustrating, and the search for a site with a better signal ultimately took me outside on the road, where they have made a pedestrian bridge to cross the road. It is not in use, and I climbed up this till I was fairly above the road. To my utter surprise, when I tried to link my laptop from there, the connection was established rather easily, and I completed all my "internet based work" here before returning to my room. Over the next few days, I would return to this location repeatedly, but always after Maghrib prayers, to surf the net. However, it became increasingly more cold out in the dark, and I was therefore forced to look for alternative solutions. It was then that I discovered that many of the nurses had WiFi in their rooms in the hostel within, and it would be possible to sit in the hospital grounds and access this WiFi, provided I knew the password. It was on the penultimate day that I received the password from one of the nurses (Sister Nursia from the D.R. or the "delivery room"), and I was able to do some amount of surfing as a result of that. 

To tell you the truth, I also went twice in the week to Dr. Bala's house, and we had dinner together. Those two evenings, I used his internet connection to surf the net and do my work. On the first occasion, we ate leftovers of food from his refrigerator, and on the second occasion (Thursday 6th June), Dr. Bala prepared sada dosa with chutney and sambar, and this was delightful to eat. In fact, we had a third outing together to a local Sudani/Yemeni restaurant, where we ordered chicken and rice. While one of the chickens was a simple tandoori preparation, the other was cooked over a row of hot stones kept astride the fire that burned from below. We rounded off the meal with a cold drink.

The flow of patients was very, very poor, and this made the passage of time very slow indeed. However, it was my good fortune to meet four very nice ER doctors ... they kept up the conversation with me and helped me pass the time. These doctors were Drs. Akil (the ER head, a Pakistani), Shafi (a M.D. Gen. Med. from Bihar, India, who is working here in the Kingdom as a ER doctor), Eftikhar (a Sudani young woman who is here since the past eight months) and Erama (also a young, Sudani woman who is here since a year). Over the four or five days that we interacted, I think I gelled well with all of them, and also a few more doctors such as Dr. Shadi (a Syrian ER doc who is a friend of Dr. Measser from Al Muwayh), Dr. Shahaar ( who works across the road in Missan's Dialysis center) and Dr. Lubna (ALSO a Sudani ER doc). 

From among the specialists, I began to get acquainted with most of them, but I guess I was relatively closest to Dr. Bala. His colleague Dr. Ummu-Salma also seemed to be a happy-go-lucky individual, as also Dr. Ghulam Reshi (Kashmiri Indian) from Medicine and Dr. Ghulam (Radiologist and sonologist from Pakistan). 

Among the nurses, it was my observation that as this hospital is an old set-up, many of the nurses here are relatively senior in age and experience, but there is young blood too. There is a system here where the pediatric nurse is the one solely responsible for the pediatric work. She not only works in the OPD, she also attends the pediatric rounds with the consultant, helps stabilise and if needed, resuscitate the newborn in the delivery room, helps vaccinate the babies and also maintains records of all kinds - not just for local storage, but also for submission to the Ministry. My peds nurse was Sister Eleonor. She was with me all the six days. With over 18 years under her belt in Missan, you can see she was good at her work. 

During my stay here, I also went out and up a road that ascended behind the hospital. I think that was on my last day, a Friday. I took photos of the scenery around me and of the hospital below, and I am taking the liberty to post some of the pictures right here: do feel free to comment on the photos if needed.

A hill in the distance

The hospital seen from behind and above it

A close-up of the view above

Cactuses on the hill's ledges

A nice flowering plant

Nice inflorescence, isn't it?

A beautiful compostion of rocks and grass
On Saturday morning, my replacement arrived by nine, a benign, sixty year old Egyptian pediatrician from a place called Qariyah, and it was almost another hour and a half before a driver arrived to take me back to Ta'if. I was taken to the MOH car garage, where my driver coordinated with the director to put me on a SUV to take me to Al Muwayh, but this took another hour, so that it was 2:30 p.m. when I started on the return journey, armed with all my luggage, and about 9-10 water bottles, collected over the past seven days. I arrived at my house at half past six. 

It was the culmination of an extra-ordinary week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this .. the way u look for life , work & collagues ...