Monday, 27 August 2007

We've made it! (Lata Hospital, Santa Cruz Island)

So we made it to Lata Hospital, we were a few days late due to them cancelling our plane a couple of times. (Solomon Time), but eventually the plane (if you can even call it a plane it is so small) took off and a couple of hours later we arrived. The size of the plane made it a scary journey but the landings were good despite being on a field/dirt road.

We've been here for a good few days now and we're starting to get used to it. (Slowly) The climate is very hot and humid, it rains once most days (and it really really rains) which is refreshing and we're staying by the sea so there is a nice cool breeze. On arrival we were greeted with flower garlands which was really nice. A welcome lunch and hospital tour were next. The hospital is very basic with 4 small wards (8 beds) paeds, female, male and maternity. It isn't too busy at the moment. Other hospital facilities include x-ray machine (WOW!), malaria lab, small pharmacy, nurses station, office huts, hospital cat + kitten (which sadly hisses at you when you try and go near it) to keep away rats and a small operating room which has the occasional piece of equipment. All in all it is pretty good for what it is, ships only visit here every couple of weeks and there are only 2 small planes a week (at best).

The place we're staying is equally basic, unfortunately it is about 25 minutes walk away from the hospital which is a bit far, especially in the heat but it'll be good for us. Our house is right by the sea with its own private beach, bench and hammock. It is really beautiful. We have a gas stove, basic cooking equipment, a gas fridge that doesn't work (it might be working today I'm told), no electricity, a few solar lights, water from the roof stored in a tank and a bucket to wash with. We looked at another guesthouse place but the toilet there wasn't working which was enough to put us off, at least we have a nice working toilet. Not exactly what we're used to but we're getting used to it. (The fridge would make a big difference as we'd be able to store our fish rather than buy one most days). Things are really cheap here such as fish about 1 pound for a whole Tuna fish freshly caught from the wharf.

Missbliss is getting stuck into teaching at the school (which is a bit further from the house annoyingly) and I'm getting stuck in at the hospital. I've learnt loads already (much more than I've ever learnt in the UK). I'm the only student here so I get 1 on 1 with the only doctor here who does everything. Surgery has been the most interesting thing so far, it is totally different from the UK. There was an emergency c-section on Saturday (probably the only c-sec whilst I'm here), it was pretty scary at points but fortunately both mum and baby are ok. I get to assist in theatre which is always a plus and also will get the chance to do some minor procedures hopefully (I seem to have become the resident anesthetist, sorting out the I.V lines, putting up drips, giving the Ketamine (eek) etc etc.) It is a fairly relaxed timetable, with lots of flexibility and no real expectations.

When we first arrived I was a bit like what the hell am I doing here but we're settling in now and getting used to living third world style. There is no internet but email is just about ok so I'll keep my blog updated every so often.


Elaine said...

Great to hear from you! Sounds like this is going to be a very worth-while elective in terms of learning. Enjoy

j00ni said...

I have decided I'm glad not to be out on elective yet. Months of GPs/Micro/Obs/Gynae has meant I now am incapable of:

siting venflons (especially these new 'safety' ones)
using a stethoscope
doing a cardioresp exam
plus any number of other things I used to be quite competent at :S