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Entries about vitals

The Energy Is Off

Today has been kind of a blur. Someone else even commented on how the energy here has just been kind of weird. I think we are all feeling off because we only have a couple of days left so it’s hard to know how to feel. I also didn’t run today, and I always feel a little weird when I don’t. It was 3AM when I decided not to run. That’s when I woke up for about the 10th time because my roommates were talking. It’s been hard to sleep because one roommate has been sick since the start of week 2, this same roommate also has African Tick Fever which has given her hives. In order to relieve some of the discomfort from the hives, she turns the fan on, which makes my other roommate sneeze; therefore, my room is NOT a conducive space for sleep. I was a zombie when I woke up, and I was a bit annoyed because I physically wanted to run but was too mentally tired.

The good thing about my roommate having tick fever is that I was able to switch from Holiday Club to the Homeopathy Clinic (her morning project). This ended up being my first really positive experience at clinic. In this area, the homeopathy clinic is only open the last week of each month, so there was a huge line of people outside waiting for an appointment – there was even a woman taking advantage of the line and selling snacks/fruit. I took vitals on the people in line for about 3 hours. It was nice to be outside and the nurses were nice and accommodating. For example, I didn’t feel comfortable measuring respiration (manually) and the nurse nicely said just to do what I was comfortable with. It was nice to be in an environment where the nurses were patient and knew how to smile. I just asked our volunteer coordinator and apparently this clinic is run by private doctors who have clinics in their hometowns and come to Khula Village as volunteers. Patients pay a really small fee (like R5 – which $1 is ~R14.5) and are seen by Afrikaans doctors. Very interesting to me.

When I got home, I slept straight through lunch. I was so tired. Afternoon session was a clinic session, so we talked to patients about heart burn and indigestion. Honestly, I didn’t/still don’t know much about the topic. Afterwards, a patient asked our names, where we were from, and what our jobs were. I said I was in school to be a doctor and then he started asking questions about constipation and how to prevent it and also about alcohol and why it’s bad and how much he should drink in one month. My mind was running around trying to figure out how to answer them because everyone was looking at me (there was only me, another volunteer who is a linguistics major, and the translator). I was like no, please stop! At the end of each sentence, I tried to throw in “…but you should probably go to the clinic to know more.” He seemed satisfied, thankfully. We finished by sorting patient files which was honestly all my mind could handle at the time; I was so out of it.

Now I’m feeling a lot better, mentally, though. I think the nap helped and I don’t feel so weird about missing my run this morning. I facetime called my mom for about 10 minutes – jealous my family is going to my grandma’s today – then watched Lilo and Stich while doing rehab and sitting on a lacrosse ball to loosen up my hips. Dinna time now. I guess I’d say overall a pretty solid – if not very bizarre feeling – day.

Posted by kfkeane 09:02 Archived in South Africa Tagged family sleep run sick information volunteer session clinic bite tick homeopathy pulse vitals afrikaan respiration Comments (0)

The Team, The Team, The Team

rain 65 °F

Today has really tested my ability to ride the wave of life. My first clue of the ups and downs I was to face for the day was during my run; I had such a high when I ran within 50 meters of a group of zebras, including a baby zebra. They look exactly like striped horses and seem nice enough. Then I found a 50 cent South African rand. The down part was that it started to torrentially downpour during the last 15 minutes of my run. Now for the actual ups and downs of my day though.

My first project was a clinic session. It was the translator, our supervisor, my volunteer partner, and me and we were telling information to the patients in the waiting room about vaginal thrush. We were at the clinic from 9-11:30, and finished giving the talks after about 30 minutes, so we went to the reception area to assist in taking patient vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, height, and weight). It was our first time at this clinic and we had never had an orientation on how the clinic takes vital signs. To add to this, no patient information is stored electronically, and every patient brings their patient files into the room and every folder looks different. It's very disorganized. Not to mention, the nurses are all able to speak English, but choose to speak to us in Zulu, well aware we don't speak the language. It felt like a power move, like to emphasize that we were in their place. So going into the clinic, all we knew was which vitals we were taking (not how to run the machines or which patients get which vitals - because apparently babies and adults require different vital signs to be taken, which we know now) and to mark the vitals that were out of the healthy range in red pen (we weren't shown the healthy ranges, which were later shown to us after we had mistakenly recorded a high BP in black pen). The entire time the nurses were very huffy, rolling their eyes, scoffing, and snapping at us. I was rolling with the punches until the nurse snapped at me for saying the weight of a baby, which didn't make sense because 5 seconds later she said the exact same weight of the baby. My partner and I felt so dejected. We were working so hard, even trying to speak Zulu and smile to the patients, but the nurses were making sure we felt like imbeciles. It was a really depressing experience because we felt unwanted even though we were doing all we could to be helpful. The part I don't understand is that when we were leaving, the nurse requested we stay to do one more patient. I don't know how to read it, but I have to think something bad had happened in their lives and they were just frustrated that they continuously have to keep reteaching new volunteers such a simple job, because it does get easier the more you do it...but it was just our first time.

My partner and I were very quiet and sad for most of the afternoon. I just wanted to be alone, so I went on a walk and listened to music, which helped a bit. What really helped was being surrounded by such positive people. In the clinic, our supervisor kept reassuring us that we were doing a really good job and being very efficient, and we kept reassuring each other that it was going to be okay, then when we got back to the lodge, everyone was asking what happened and if we wanted to talk about it. I never know how project is going to go, but I love knowing that I have a place to come back to with lots of friends who will go out of their way to make me feel better :)

The afternoon was like night and day to the morning session. I went to building/gardening!! We helped Lucky, a Zulu man who works with African Impact, build a table from scratch for a woman to sell her vegetables on. Then we went to another woman's garden to pick weeds and plant seedlings. I love the hands-on work and I love that Lucky is all business. He's very quiet but gets serious work done. I also feel like when you finish gardening/building, you leave something physical behind that you know will help someone -- the other projects you never know whether they are doing any good.

We finished out the night with a big trivia game night at the Lodge. Everyone joined in. Our team unfortunately came in fourth out of six teams, but it was really fun :) Later, we did some girl talk in one of the rooms and watched the movie "Us". I have to say today turned into a gorgeous day (not weather wise because the rain never did clear). Thanks to my friends and teammates here in South Africa, I am going to adapt to life here and have a good time.

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Picture of game night!

Posted by kfkeane 12:31 Archived in South Africa Tagged rain tea friends dinner run weather zebra volunteer clinic thriller trivia teammates vitals game_night Comments (2)

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