Performing surgery in Meru

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The following article is by Ben Murphy

As I sit here and reflect on our fourth day of clinic, a cold beer has never been so refreshing.  We all have set 5pm as “Tusker Time” here in Mikinduri. FYI, Tusker is the main beer in Kenya. Oh, how priorities change.  I just found out that Canada beat Latvia last night 3-1.  A little too close for my liking.  Really hoping we can find somewhere to watch the semi final game.  Rumour has it there is a pub/car wash which shows football.  I guess you drive down, have a dozen Tusker, and pick your car up the next day, spic n span.   Seems like a pretty good deal to me.   

I set my alarm last night for 6:15am. It was not needed.  The roosters’ crow is better than any alarm, and there was no way I was not making the first hospital run. Unfortunately, I missed breakfast, and had to rely on having a snickers bar for breakfast.  As we know, you aren’t yourself when you are hungry.   Yesterday, 2 vision patients and one medical patient were scheduled to be taken to the hospital at 6am.  It is wide spread knowledge that Kenyan time is 45 minutes late.  They lived somewhere in between Mikinduri and Meru, which is where the hospital it located.  We did our first pick up right on time at 6:45am.  Each person was standing on the side of the road, ready to go.  So they hopped in and away we went to the hospital.  We dropped off the medical patient at the ultrasound clinic, then proceeded to the Eye Ward at Meru hospital.  The plan was to drop back and pick up the medical patient.  However, things got interesting when the Eye doctor, asked Shabannah (my translator) and I if we wanted to scrub in for a few surgeries.  I figured this kind of thing only happens once, so I threw on my mask and hair net, and hopped right in.  I won’t get into the gory details, but was very interesting nonetheless.  We arrived back at the clinic at 3pm.   Was a long day. 

Present day, Richard Holden offers me another Tusker, I gladly accept. 

Back at the clinic, I immediately started hearing of the days’ activities. We had a record day and seen 906 patients.  Isaac & Kevin Murphy took my place at registration.  It has been compared to the front gate at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, except you do not speak the language!  One person came driving into the clinic driving a red Honda motorcycle. The driver was carrying a paraplegic, and had 5 live chickens hanging by their legs.  Luckily, the lady was the only one that needed to be seen.   We rushed seven people to the hospital today, the most we have done. 

Richard Holden, Catherine Mitchell-Bailey & Sam Murphy held down the fort today in dental.  They saw over 150 patients and pulled over 200+ teeth again! There was a child, who didn’t want their teeth pulled, so the mother grabbed a shoe off another patient in the next chair and took a swing at the kid!  Luckily, as she cocked back the shoe, Sam did his best Dikembe Mutombo impression, grabbed the shoe, and gave her the finger wag “No Shoe for you!!” Also, Richard isn’t so keen on going to work tomorrow, as his normal 4 day work week is officially over with his 3rd tusker tonight. He has been talking about taking a mini safari vacation with his daughter Charlee.  Speaking of Charlee, she has been spending an awful lot of time in the past 24 hours hanging out with the white elephant (toilet).   If Rich does decide to not show up, Sam has offered to step in and pull some teeth. 

Anyways, the experience so far has been absolutely incredible.  The people here in Kenya are comparable to any place I have visited in the world.  We have a great team and am looking forward to the next week.  Luckily we don’t have any pills to count tonight, so will continue on the tusker train.  Hope all is well at home.   

Wako Mpendwa (Sincerely Yours)

Ben Murphy

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