Jambo from Nairobi!!
We are currently sitting in the Nairobi airport at the conclusion of an amazing, eye-opening, and life-changing trip.
Our week started out with a bang! We were on ICU call Sunday, but Dr. Newton was so kind and covered the unit after rounds so that we could explore. We drove out to Mount Longonot for a day hike and did not know what we had gotten ourselves into! The hike up was a challenge, since many of the trails had been washed out from all of the rain this season. However, once we made it to the top, it was all worth it. The views from the crater were absolutely breathtaking!
It turns out that the hike up, around the crater (we only went half way and back due to dangerous terrain,) and back down ends up being 10 miles and 150 floors! Soooo our driver took us to "Java House" to replenish our glycogen stores :) This chain is owned by an American and we were so happy for a little taste of home.
This week in the theatre was quite eventful, but 3 patient stories stick out in my mind:
1) I had the opportunity to care for a young woman who had travelled all the way from Sierra Leone to have a mandibular tumor removed. Her mouth opening was essentially nothing, so we anticipated a difficult airway. Unlike my first week, Dr. Newton was there and able to access the fiberoptic bronchoscope! He walked me through his way of performing an awake intubation. This was my first time performing a trans-tracheal injection and it really helped! We were able to get the patient successfully intubated and her surgery proceeded without incident.
2) Another patient story that touched my heart was a woman who came for a scheduled cesarean section. We performed the spinal and the surgery began as per usual, then we got to talking. She asked me to tell her the sex of the child. This is abnormal in Kenya, as most mothers want to see for themselves after the baby is resuscitated and cleaned. She went on to explain to me that she had lost a baby girl a few years ago and had been praying for a girl since. When the obstetrician birthed a screaming baby girl, we both shared tears of excitement. This patient had been through so much pain in her life and it was touching to watch the pure joy and peace that she was experiencing during her delivery.
3) I also got to care for several children with hydrocephalus, while they get their VP shunts. One baby in particular stuck out to me. He was 5 months old, but only 4.5 kilograms. The poor baby was so malnourished that he looked like a skeleton with a big head. He was our last patient of the day so after surgery, I got to hold him for a while. He was initially inconsolable, but he took to my finger like a bottle. It was so sweet and sad.
At the conclusion of our trip, we packed our bags and headed to Nairobi. Since our flight doesn't leave until late tonight, we stopped by several places in town to experience ambit lord of Kenya before we leave. We got to see baby elephants at the elephant nursery and we fed the giraffes with our hands at Giraffe Manor. It was so wonderful!
Thanks for following along with our journey to Kenya. This has been an amazing experience. I hope that we were able to serve the patients in Kijabe and leave the KRNAs/students with a few helpful tricks so that they can continue to improve the practice of safe anesthesia in Eastern Africa. As they would say in Swahili, Asante sana!