Kim Pham, reporting for blogging duty.
Number of survivors: 8
(This following statistic reflects the class we held today. For our loved ones who tend towards worrying, please know that this paragraph is true only in a theatric sense) Trauma victims: Erin – from choking, Alda – from multiple drownings, Andrew – from a life-threatening bleeding wound, and Kim – from a compound fracture. Complete with blood and a collapse!
Today was the first day of our community health worker education program! We began the program with our trauma unit, and teachers Jackie and Frank used us as trauma examples to show the class. Twenty people showed up to a class that had been advertised by word of mouth. It was great to see everyone! Most of the attendees were current students, younger girls (and one boy!) that were a joy to see and work with. We also saw the healthcare staff of the current healthcare clinic (Khamding’s sub-health post) as students, older ladies who had seen patients before.
The goal of this education program is two-fold: to inspire the young people of the region to pursue healthcare and to build a level skill base in the area to staff a clinic Wongchu (beloved Chyangba native and the man leading all development of the region) would like to build.
The class went for the day, and Jackie and Frank took center stage to teach. They covered a lot of skills for acute accidents and injuries. Andrew and I got to play with fake blood and a theater wound kit (in case you’re curious, which we were, the fake blood doesn’t taste good, so zombie-costumes were regretfully nixed).
On the patient side, we followed up with our child burn patient and our patient with trench foot, in addition to picking up one or two patients at Chyangba who traveled very far to see us. On a tougher note, the ear patient I saw yesterday stopped by our clinic. She was the patient whose wound had become so infected that you could smell the dead tissue and see the infection in her face. Her family explained that they didn’t have enough money for her to stay the hospital. They wanted us to change her dressing. I think they really wanted us to make her better. We couldn’t fix her, we stressed, because she needs an operation to cut out the infection. If she doesn’t get to the hospital soon, the infection will enter her brain, and she will die. We are still at a standstill now. The situation is hard. Life is tough, and her child is small. I think we will see her again tomorrow. It is times like these that make me feel powerless. We can do so very little. We have given her antibiotics for ten days to keep the infection at bay, and she walks around unabashedly with our dressing of her wound. But she needs emergency surgery, and we do not have the resources to give her her life back. But can she take the option of surgery? Sigh. Life.
On a lighter note, Andrew is missing his mommy. Erin is alive and prepping frantically for her children’s health program starting tomorrow. Alda and I started making faces at each other in class, and she does a great nasal flare. Frank is a turd, as usual. Lisa has managed to get every kid she meets to fall in love with her, and our tent snacktimes (Japanese snacks? Choice.) are a highlight in my day. She’ll get to check the kids for lice tomorrow! Jackie is relaxing after her lecture, and Kelly is his usual spicy self.
Hope you are all doing well, friends and family! Life is always changing. I dream of home and think fondly and seriously of everything that I took for granted when I am in America. Take care of yourselves! Love you all.