Another day, another baby delivered continued….

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:59 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on Another day, another baby delivered continued….
Nov 112015

Upon arriving at Kenyatta Hospital, myself carrying the baby, the other nurse, and the Mother all were greeted by someone who was notified we were coming with a Hypoxic baby (deprived of adequate oxygen supply). We wernt right to the NICU. The National Hospital was 10x the size of Ngong, much more upgraded. They had a functioning ER, Critical Care, and 10 floors of patient care/inpatient services. Now I see why so many patients are referred from the poor rural area I just came from, to get the care they need. In some cases, to survive. In the NICU, I handed the baby over to the NICU nurse, who immediately hooked him up to the incubator oxygen and placed him under heat, as well as starting an IV.  So many babies… there were only 3 working incubators and each had 3 or 4 babies in them. Even in a National Hospital like Kenyatta, it was far from what I would see in a NICU at home. The nurse gave full report and then we walked the Mother to post natal care where she was admitted… she did just give birth on her walk to the Hospital a few short hours ago, and all she wanted was to see her baby. I told her she was “nguvu”, which is strong in Swahili.  As I’ve written already, after giving birth, these Mothers go home after 4-6 hours, as long as its not dark out, they walk right home with the baby. No complications, no staying;  but Noria (the Mother) absolutely needed to be admitted and examined. She was so young, and alone, and I hated leaving her, but she was where she was in good hands, and would be able to see the baby after she was examined. The nurse I was [click here to read more]

Another day, another baby delivered

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 2:20 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on Another day, another baby delivered
Nov 102015

I surprise myself daily while continuing to be surprised here in Kenya, volunteering as a nurse, and otherwise. I arrived at the Hospital as someone was about to deliver, so I went right to the Maternity Ward to see if I could help. I can go home saying I have delivered 2 babies (so far), with no Dr. in sight, just another nurse and an extremely strong woman on a bed with no drugs. I honestly don’t know how they do it, but its all they know. The nurses joke with me asking if I will deliver naturally with no Epidural when its my time and I smile, shaking my head each time. Shaking my head, no. They think its hilarious. As if the day couldn’t have started with more excitement, a Mother walked in holding her new baby boy in her scarf, which she delivered en route to the Hospital. On foot. She was 17, her first baby, and he decided to come early. The mother said he fell out and hit the ground, not making any noise, no crying whatsoever. When I opened the scarf, this baby was BLUE. I had never seen a blue complexion like this, ever. I knew it was from lack of oxygen, so the  nurse grabbed an ambu bag and resuscitated the baby. She had me plug in a heat lamp, attach oxygen to a tank, and we hooked the baby up, wrapping him in blankets. Birth asphyxia, she said to me….resulting from the deprivation of oxygen to a newborn that lasts long enough during the birth process to cause physical harm, usually to the brain. It was more than this hospital could handle with little resources, so we were to take the baby to Nairobi in the ambulance and get it the [click here to read more]

I wish I could do more…

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:54 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on I wish I could do more…
Nov 102015

As I mentioned, there is a room which is designated as the Diabetic clinic, where I spent time weighing each patient, getting their BMI, checking blood pressures, and then blood sugars. Every time I looked up, there were more people walking in, some standing if there was no more room left on the bench; which only fit about 10. Outside the door were a few more benches of patients and every time I peeked outside to see how many were waiting, it never seemed to slow down. I smiled at everyone and always got smiles back in return. This is an all day event for people who come here, most there for hours, not including travel time, but not once did anyone complain or have a look of frustration or anger. Two things… all of these people were there, they showed up. You cannot get help if you don’t show up, right? I was thankful for the packed benches… and the standing people. Secondly, most that were waiting couldn’t afford the oral diabetic medication, never mind the insulin they probably should be on, but they came to get checked. That they could afford because its free. I was thankful for that. As I checked blood pressures, I relayed them to the nursing student next to me doing weight, so she could talk to the patient in Swahili ( I’m not that good, lord knows what I would tell them if I tried! ). Most were uncontrolled and they WERE on medication, but couldn’t financially keep up in order to manage their hypertension. I reported a very high b/p and he was referred to consult with the Dr, which if referred, they wait even longer because remember there aren’t many Dr’s available here. They would meet with the Dr to talk [click here to read more]

It was bound to happen..

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:32 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on It was bound to happen..
Nov 102015

On my last night of the safari I woke up around 3 am sweating, sick to my stomach. Ill spare you the details. I was doing so well, but I was prepared for anything. Amy, my new friend and tent mate, woke up far worse than I. She said she has traveled all over, but never felt like this, so good thing she met a nurse 😉 The rest of the day was spent taking care of Amy, as well as myself. We arrived back in Nairobi later in the afternoon and I went with Amy back to where she was staying. You can never be over packed with Immodium, Pepto, and Antibiotics while traveling. Once Amy was feeling a bit better, I headed back to my host family to get some rest for the week ahead. It was a wonderful weekend away, and I hope to share all my photos once I am home

My Lion King “vacation”

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:25 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on My Lion King “vacation”
Nov 102015

I promised myself I wouldn’t come to Africa without going on a Safari.. and it truly was my real life Lion King. I left where I am staying around 4 am, walked to the Matatu at 5am, and took the journey to where I was to be picked up by the weekend expedition van. The ride to Maasai Mara is about 4 hours, but we stopped a few times. My first stop was at the Great Rift Valley, which was a breathtaking view. I sat at the edge of a stone wall, overlooking the valley. edged by mountains, and took it all in. Every breath. My lodging was at a camp, where I slept in a tent; attached was a shower with HOT WATER and a proper flushing toilet. It was definitely a special treat from where i have been. 9:30 am to 11:30 AM and PM had electricity and you could charge your phone. I was with 7 others, none of which I knew, but came to know. A couple from Uganda, couple from Russia, one from Eastern Kenya, and then Amy. Amy is a 29 year old from the UK, here in Kenya (close to where I am) volunteering as well. She is here working at an Orphanage (one of many), and at home she works with disabled children. She has traveled more at the age of 29 than most hope to in their lifetime; mostly alone, doing volunteer work while seeing the world. We instantly became friends… but then again, I didn’t give her much of a choice ;)I am a believer of God putting certain people in your life for a reason, and Amy was another part of his plan. After hearing that this was the first time I have been around the world, on a [click here to read more]

the HIV clinic

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 2:46 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on the HIV clinic
Nov 092015

Catching up here on my experiences! I have so little time and internet, yet SO much to type. I have to leave some stories out for now, but for most of you, I will be able to tell you in person when I return! As for now… I spent a few days in the CCC, which stands for Comprehensive Care Clinic at the Ngong Hospital. Kenya has severe, generalized HIV epidemic, but in recent years, the country has experienced a notable decline in HIV prevalence, attributed in part to significant behavioral change and increased access to ART (antiretroviral drugs). All provided by USAID, which makes all HIV medication FREE for the patients. After learning this, I began noticing the “USAID” on many posters around the Hospital itself, which made me smile.  I had the opportunity to spend some time volunteering in the clinic at the Ngong Hospital. Patients came in to be weighed, receive their BMI, and depending on their result, supplements for nutrition were given. While in the clinic, I found myself doing a lot of math on my scratch pad, for everything. Pounds to kg, BMI, and calculations that brought me back to pediatric Nursing school tests in order to make sure I had the correct and SAFE amount of medication for each child. I am mathematically challenged and spoiled with the technology at home, so yes.. another advantage I have being home, but a disadvantage here, handicapped at times because of how good I have it. I took a lot longer than the nurses and nursing students I was with, but inspired to use my brain more and rely on a computer less. Measuring the circumference of arms with yarn, marking it with a pen, and monitoring the % of increase or decrease (most cases) that patients [click here to read more]

Mission Possible

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 2:37 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on Mission Possible
Nov 052015

After a few days volunteering at Ngong Hospital, I  have seen and learned so much. I asked Grace if there was somewhere that was much worse off, and she told me she would take me to St. Mary’s Mission Hospital, which is approximately 15 minutes from where we are in Ngong. It was then that I was introduced to the local transportation, the Matatu. We woke up very early for our walk to the Matatu, this only being 2 miles 😉 My best description of the Matatu is a van; a very beat up van, with 3 rows of seats, one of them being upfront where the driver was. On one side, there is a sliding door, and windows like the windows you would find on a yellow school bus.  It will pick up and squeeze as many people as humanly possible, collect your fee along the way when asked, and provide the ride of a lifetime. I advise not eating prior to riding, and if you have any neck/back issues, I’d pass on this experience. As for me, I held on, and embraced another part of this culture as tightly as possible. White knuckle embracing on some roads 😉 We were dropped off about a mile from the Mission Hospital, which could be seen from a far on a hill, by the cross on top of it. It was a beautiful sight. On top of the hill, was not only the Hospital, but a Catholic Primary school, and St Mary’s church. It may have been the place for the poorest to come for care, but it certainly was a place that resonated Hope. The lay out and care offered was similar to Ngong, but it felt different. First, I was introduced to the head nun, requesting approval for my [click here to read more]

Immunizations for everyone

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:56 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on Immunizations for everyone
Nov 052015

With so many babies, come  so many vaccinations. I was asked to help in the Immunization “room”, and when I opened the door, I was overwhelmed.  The thing is, no one can really prepare you for these experiences, you have to just dive in, and pray you catch on. I introduced myself to the nurse, two  student nurses ( I was catching on to uniforms, which helped), and asked what I could do. What was I to do, as I looked around, in a sea of Mothers, all either undressing their babies, holding crying babies getting weighed, or breastfeeding while they waited for their child to get a vaccination(s). I wasn’t even sure where there was room to give a vaccine in the midst of so many! The nursing student showed me the process, and indeed, there was one. A group of 9 or 10 Mothers came in at a time, with their babies on their backs in a lasso (which is almost like a piggy back ride;  a scarf like cloth is holding the baby in a hammock fashion so they sit upright, and the ends are securely tied around the Mothers shoulder), all ranging from infants up to 5 years of age (so far I have not seen any over 1 1/2 years old) . Each child is undressed on a counter, all at the same time, and then each Mother is placed on the scale alone, then with their child in hand, so the weight of the baby can be determined.  Many of the babies were malnourished, severely underweight, and not up to date with their immunizations. I had the chance to hold these small, naked babies, as each Mother was going about the “process” for filling out a immunization book for their child, all noted in [click here to read more]

“The Theatre” my first day at the Hospital

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 2:49 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on “The Theatre” my first day at the Hospital
Nov 042015

I hope so much of my writing will carry much more once you are able to see the photographs I have taken, especially when I talk about  the Hospital. You will understand the title of this post as you read on. When I was led through a gate, and across what I thought was someone’s backyard, or another shortcut, Grace said “welcome!”. Was I wrong to be looking for a sign, something with the word(s) “Hospital” or “Care center” somewhere? Silly me! I continued to follow Grace, and was introduced to a woman, in a long white coat, who was one of the Dr’s. There are only 3 Doctors, two men and one woman. “Jambo, Jina langu ni Katie, Nakota United States, a nurse” I said as I shook the Doctor’s hand. After I attempt to speak any Swahili, it is followed by laughter, so I expected this, and now I laugh along with them. The people appreciate my effort  and its humorous at the same time The Dr. replied “Katie, from the US, ready for the theater, I see?”  I was lost, which is not unusual. Were my hunter green scrubs too much? Did I look like I was dressed for some sort of role play? Certainly Grace would have warned me before leaving the house… right? I would soon find out! The Hospital is compiled of many hallways, which are not enclosed completely from the outside, each housing different areas of care. I know this is hard to visualize, but I can assure you that it is  nothing like a Hospital you have seen or been in before. Grace walked me around for the tour, which did not take long due to the size of the facility. The first area I was shown was called the “Minor Theatre” [click here to read more]

These boots were made for walkin’

 Posted by Kathleen Melega at 1:33 am  Uncategorized  Comments Off on These boots were made for walkin’
Nov 042015

My alarm went off at 6:45 am, Grace said we had to start walking by 8am. I was in the wash room nice and early, trying to figure out some kind of system for my morning routine. Needless to say, there is plenty of room for improvement! I had laid out my scrubs the night before; hunter green. I didn’t want to bring out the bright colors or patterns just yet I was very excited to start this part of my journey! Grace was up preparing my breakfast while I was washing up, which was a banana and a hard boiled egg. Chai tea was a given. I heard the boiling water when I was getting up, I smelled the fire, and I was so thankful.  No pre ordering on your phone to get your decaf venti caramel mocchiato at Starbucks, so you don’t have to wait in line… such a fast paced life. Fire, water, tea. Grace came down and told me to sit and relax with my tea before we start walking, as it will be a long day.  I asked her what footwear would be appropriate for my first walk to work, and she laughed. Sneakers won. Don’t you know, she then slipped into low heels, and said “lets go!”. We weren’t even half a mile in and I was sweating. Who knew the sun was so hot before 8 am? I was trying to pay close attention to where Grace was walking, since I may have to go about this walk alone some days, but she lost me at mile 2. No street signs, no numbers. Just a lot of dirt foot paths, intertwining, up and down hills. I couldn’t guarantee the goats I saw would be at the same location, so they weren’t reliable landmarks [click here to read more]

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