I started at the hospital today. Granted, I use the term 'started' very liberally. I rounded with the surgeons first thing then headed to the OR to watch a few procedures. My opinion was asked for a few times, but in the end, I was the one asking most of the questions. The rest of the morning was spent sitting in on surgical outpatient appointments . . . I had forgotten what open, infected wounds smell like.
My afternoon was passed in the pharmacy digging through dusty boxes of old donated items that have been sitting on shelves for a long time (I found a 'therapy type' product that was stamped with the year 1987). Amongst the treasures I found were a lifetime supply of SAM splints, enough wrist splints to stock a hand-therapy clinic, and even a pair of childsized dynamac MAFO's (molded ankle foot orthoses)! So with the scarf on my head, I felt like a pirate that had discovered a stash of gold (minus the eye patch of course).
Over the next few days I will be moving into my new office and therapy gym (photos coming). My gym is the old operating room, so it's spacious, already has a sink, and the front wall is a great big window!!! So everyone who walks by will see all the fun we have in the therapy department and will want to join in (hey, a girl can dream, right?!?!).
The Nigerien staff was incredibly friendly, and they all seem intent on teaching me Hausa . . . even a guy mopping the floors stopped me to offer a free language lesson. The down side is, I'm NOT an oral learner, so even if I can mimic the sounds they make immediately, within seconds the words are gone from my head.
The hardest part of the day has been coming to terms with the reality that what I could offer my patients in the US I cannot offer here. That doesn't mean our patients don't get good care, it is just going to have to look very different from this angle. It will require much more creativity and ingenuity.