More daily life in Sierra Leone…and Momo goes home!!

Hi All, 

Next pic is of me in Triage today. 

 We stand behind 2 meter barrier fences to interview patients, then come within arm’s reach to take the temperature – hence the face shield (and gloves).  It’s been decided that we nurses can do the triage, screen patients in or out, write admitting orders, etc.  I normally work ICU, but today and tomorrow am in Triage to cover the nurse who’s working overnight shift.  I admitted one man who looked sick and indeed is positive with a high viral load, and a pikin who was limp and had a “convulsion” last night and hadn’t woken up.  He might be malaria instead cuz no contact exposure.

We ended the day with 18 total patients – I think it’s probably a record low.  YAY!!!  The president of SL said schools will open in late March.  Everyone is counting the outbreak over, but it’s not yet.  It’s not gone.  Cases are not rising nor falling, more holding steady.  I heard Liberia is doing much much better.  YAY. Today there were lots of celebrations as 3 were discharged cured.  And 5 were “no case” – in the Suspected area and blood test negative.  We all breathe a sigh of relief when a test is negative.

Yesterday I had to pronounce a 7 yr old boy dead.  It was especially sad because I’d been with him a couple hours before dripping ORS into his mouth with a syringe.  Poor little guy.

I have to tell you – I absolutely LOVE my Nokia Lumina phone.  Got it just before coming here to be able to stay in touch.  Well, the camera is amazing and I take pics all over the place, and especially for work.  Yesterday, the ICU nurses made the mistake of putting a patient chart inside the bag of medications and sent it “in.”. Well, what goes “in” can’t come “out” And they were averting their eyes, heads hung, hoping to not get in trouble.  I had one stand inside and hold it up page by page as I took pictures of it, then sat down with the phone and recreated it.  They saw the amount of work it took and came slinking over to apologize.  I’m guessing that’s never going to happen again :)

And a prize to whoever can explain the choice of brand names for the latrine covers.

Worked on Arts and Crafts between patients in Triage today – trying to create a new system for stocking/inventory control for the items we need at a moment’s notice inside ICU.  So I cut up empty gloves and masks boxes and taped them together to create my masterpiece.  Tomorrow will talk with The Powers and see if we can trial it.  Also working on a training for nurses of how to mix IV meds, hang them, count drip rates, etc.  Amazing that they don’t uniformly know this stuff, but … One of my daily lectures is about 3 way stopcocks..

The last picture is to make you smile.  This little girl was sent home yesterday cured.  All possessions taken inside are burned (including cell phones, clothing – anything that can’t be sterilized with 0.5% bleach), so they shower and we give them clothes and shoes to go home.  She and her mother were admitted when I first arrived.  Mother died within days, but the pikin survived.  She will now be cared for by an uncle and his family …

Wish I could have been there to cheer when Momo went home, but it was on my day off.

Thanks to all of you for writing and sending your encouragement and positive thoughts our way.  Day by day, we do the best we can.

Much love,