We might be a little knackered — another fantastic word I’ve added to my vocabulary thanks to our UK friends. It has been a busy three days, and today the team worked and worked and worked from dawn until dark. Over the past three days, our Ghana Health Team has cared for 2,795 patients (1,298 medical, 444 eye, 70 laser, 105 surgery, 160 dental, and 718 pain clinic). We feel honoured and privileged to be visiting the sick and working alongside NEA and our Ghanaian health care colleagues. This very full day contained so many special moments. I’ll share a few of them….
Happy Moments: This year we have two portable ultrasound machines which have, as Dr. Carlye said tonight, been a game changer for our ability to provide a higher level of care at the bedside. Today, Dr. John was able to tell a patient that she was expecting twins. In Ghana, you are considered a woman of honour if you give birth to twins so this was a moment of celebration indeed.
Creative Moments: When a child with glaucoma needed a particular eye drop that we didn’t have and a post op patient needed a suspension we didn’t have, Sherry was able to compound them by using the oral version of the required ingredient. She was in her glory putting these more specialized skills into action.
Funny Moments: Charlie and Sandra, whose room is right next to Neil’s, had to put a sign on their door to prevent Neil from continuing to stumble inadvertently into their room day or night.
Interesting Moments: Today we witnessed yaws, onchocerciasis, leprosy and hydatid disease. Before you look these up, make sure you really want to know about the lifecycle of a worm. Dr. Helen, who has a tropical medicine diploma was really in her element.
Life-Changing Moments: A 17-year old patient, blind in one eye, was identified by our eye team as having vision threatening pressures in her good eye. Across the field, she went to our laser clinic where Marion prepped her and Dr. Josh performed the first of two laser procedures. When her family said they could not bring her back for the second procedure tomorrow, the NEA pastors kicked into gear and made arrangements for her to stay . They were determined that she would not miss this opportunity to restore and preserve her sight.
Alarming Moments: When an emergency occurs on the compound, three whistles sound. This triggers our doctor of the day, and Jessica, our ER nurse to jump into action with a backpack stocked and ready with emergency medications and supplies. The whistle blew twice this morning, with seizing patients. When a whistle sounded for a third time this afternoon, Dr. John and Jessica arrived to find something very unexpected indeed — a child with a whistle.
Selfess Moments: At 8:00 pm, while we are all eating dinner, hearing team reports, and enjoying comments from home, Becky and Le-Anne slip out to make their ward rounds. At midnight, our Ghanaian colleague Collins is on duty.
Delicious Moments: Today at lunch, we enjoyed NEA’s famous donuts that are fondly known as “Sweet Bad”.
Milestone Moments: Emmanuel, our Ghanaian pharmacy colleague, was proudly in charge of Uber Hour today. I still need to explain Uber Hour but I’m too tired.
Miraculous Moments: We continue to dispense medication to thousands and thousands and thousands, and yet our supply that Sherry spent all year procuring just seems to never end. #loavesandfishes
I’m sure I could carry on with another one hundred adjectives to describe the moments that made up this day of service, but I’ll send along some pictures so you can see for yourselves.
Dr. Jennifer Wilson, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP, DIMPH