Jambo from Kijabe!   

We have just completed our first week at the AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya and it has been a life-changing experience so far.  My classmate Allison met me in DFW to start our journey to London, then Nairobi.    Our travel was uneventful and we made it safely to the guesthouse where we stayed the night in Nairobi.  This was my first time seeing mosquito netting!

Melissa and Allison on the plane

Upon arrival to Kijabe, we met our wonderful host, Helen, who gave us the most delicious zucchini bread!!  Our home for this trip is the “Anesthesia House,” which is located on the edge of the community with a gorgeous view of the Rift Valley and Mount Longonot! 

Our beautiful home for the week!

Our first week in the OR or as they call it here, the “theatre,” was action-packed.  We jumped right in and started working with the KRNAs, senior students, and new students on their first day OR day.  One of my favorite parts of this trip so far has been the opportunity to teach both in the theatre and in morning lectures.  The students are refreshingly hungry for knowledge and ask the most thoughtful questions.  It is not uncommon to be sitting with a group of 3 or 4 students, drawing out the neuromuscular junction on one of their tablets and going through all of the different drugs J 

My second day started with a difficult airway.  The patient was a young man with a mandibular tumor that had been growing for 9 years!  I have encountered many difficult airways during residency, but this is the first time that I was in charge with no attending back up.  The lack of resources (including a fiberoptic bronchoscope) made this extra challenging, but with some creative laryngoscopy and teamwork with the surgeons, we got him intubated safely for his incredible reconstruction.

Mandibular tumor before.

Mandibular tumor after.

The most eye-opening experience so far has been ICU call.  The ICU at Kijabe hospital only has 5 beds and 4 ventilators, so there are many difficult decisions to be made. Thankfully the attendings here have been very helpful consultants for these ethical issues. Patients here present very late in their disease process and often times we are meeting them peri-arrest, but it is encouraging to see how well the ICU team manages these critical patients.

After an eventful clinical week, we went to the market “Supa Duka” and got supplies to make a delicious omelette brunch on Saturday for the three of us + 2 attendings visiting from CHOP.  It was nice to have a taste of home (cheese!) and spend some time in fellowship with fellow doctors from the USA.           

Brunch with CHOP attendings!

More to come next week!