I thought I would try and describe a typical day, now that there are typical days…
Well, we wake up in separate beds (2 single camp beds tied together by the legs), and crawl out from under the mosquito net. Actually for the last week we have forgone the mosquito net as it is bloody cold- I’m not sure what temperature it is in the middle of the night, but less than 20 C at 7 AM. I’m wrapped up in a blanket inside my down sleeping bag, and am nice and toasty. So we’ve separate beds and separate sleeping bags. Then Mark has a freezing shower (I only shower every 2 days, and I turn the hot water on for about 45 minutes before I get in.) We have breakfast, usually porridge these days, and coffee from our fantastic Bodum-type cafetiere, that Anne and Andy gave us when they visited. Then go to work, walking 15 minutes to the hospital.
At work we each do ward rounds. Currently I am on Paediatrics, Male and Tb wards, Mark does Maternity and Female ward. We start around 8.20. Tb ward only is done 2ce a week: Monday and Thursday. These are confirmed cases of Tb who are in the initial intensive phase of treatment. In other hospitals they are only kept as inpatients for 2 weeks, then followed weekly, but here we tend to keep them for the full 2 month intensive phase.
After that, I’m now on “CDC” as in “Centre for disease control”. Tho’ the only disease we control is HIV (well, we’re working on Tb prophylaxis too…) and Mark is in the out patient department. I’m seeing all and sundry who have HIV in the Khorixas area. Everything is very much about following guidelines, which are, on the whole, very sensible. It requires so much concentration!! I’m prescribing nearly the same thing to every one: 3 drugs for the HIV, 1 to prevent Pneumocystic jirovecii pneumonia, 1 to prevent Tb and 1 to reduce the side effects of the Tb drugs and multivitamins. But then, not all are on the same 3 drugs for HIV, not all need the PCP or Tb prophylaxis, do the have anaemia? Is their liver ok? Do they have Hep. B? All makes minor variations, and luckily, I’ve the guidelines to tell me what to do!!! I just have to remember to read the guidelines.
At 1 PM it’s lunch time, till 2. If we’ve walked to work we have lunch there. Sometimes I’ve remembered to bring leftovers, but often we eat fat cakes: balls of dough that have been deep fried. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
We knock off at 5 PM and walk home. Evenings aren’t very exciting: sometimes we visit the rest camp a few km out of town, and use their pool, having a beer or cider afterwards. Rarely we eat there (the food is basically alright, but not more than that). The exercise is nice, but it is getting colder now. No problem for Mark, but I’m a bit wimpy… otherwise the sun is setting at 5.15 these days, so we are eating, watching movies or shows (friends have given us electronic versions of all sorts: the first 3 seasons of Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, and movies galore… ) and bed is quite early: 9 PM, often enough.