Life at Chidamoyo

Back of Gadhafi T-shirt
Obama and Gadhafi together sitting on the bench

This week I decided to write about some of the funny things my patients tell me. I know as health professionals we have to maintain dignity no matter what our patients say—but sometimes you just have to be on the floor doubled up with laughter!
• One patient I saw this week, as I was reading their X-ray and seeing esophageal cancer I asked him if he smoked. He said No. Then I said are you sure you have never smoked before? He said well I don’t really smoke because I roll my own tobacco in newspaper and then smoke! When I said that is smoking—he said, well I didn’t really thinking that was smoking since I didn’t buy the cigarettes!

• I asked a patient if they had ever been treated for TB before and they said no, but VD yes!

• When we start patients on ART we have to ask people their birth date—always a challenge here. Most people have no idea when they were born, but they always try to guess. Recently I have a very old man who said he was born in 1998. When I said no way, he said ok, how about 2003?

• One of our visitors recently asked me if we had any lepers around. I thought they had said “leopards.” So I replied—no we used to have a lot of them around here but they shot them out in the 60’s and 70’s when the first missionaries came. When they said really? I said yes—we used to put meat out at night and when they came out to get it—we would shot them! Then I went on to say some of the missionaries even skinned them and had the skins hung on their walls. The visitor looked like they were about ready to fall over and by their reaction I knew something was up and I said leopard’s right? And they said no “people with leprosy.” Oh I said, we didn’t shoot them out! She looked greatly relieved!

• One of my patients I recently gave him 3 sputum cups and told him to come back in the morning with 3 different samples taken at least 2 hours apart. The next morning he brings me a cup with sputum and another with urine and one with stool. When I asked him why he didn’t bring 3 sputum samples for us he said “I think you should look at all things—not just whatever comes out of my mouth!”

• I recently delivered a patient who was a breech presentation. We kept telling her in Shona to push and push. We got the buttocks out and always the head was a bit of a struggle. We pulled and kept yelling at her to push—pulling her legs further and further apart, and with me sweating and pulling hard. Finally after what seemed like hours but was only a couple of minutes we got the baby out and it cried the mom said very clearly in English “shit that was hard!” I said Amen to that!

• An old man recently came to my office and kept saying in Shona “sister I am so sick.” I asked him to be a bit more specific but he just kept saying over and over “sister I am sick!” So then I started going through each system and asking if this was the problem. He just kept saying “I am so sick.” After about 10 minutes I was very confused as to how I was going to help this patient when he couldn’t tell me what exactly was wrong. When I finally said to him in Shona I really want to help you but you have to tell me what exactly is wrong. He said “what kind of nurse are you that you can’t figure out what is wrong—I told you I am very sick!” (Major was sitting in his office overhearing all of this and laughing—big help he was!)

• I had a patient once who I asked to say “e.e.e.e.e.” while I listened to their lungs. I did this to several patients in the ward and one started saying “e.f.g.h.i.” when I asked why he didn’t say “e.e.e.e.e.” like the other patients he said “I thought they didn’t know the alphabet!”

Today as I was walking by the queue for the Lab I was Obama sitting next to Gadafi! yes right here at our little rural hospital. Thought you would enjoy this picture--ant notice the back of Gadhafi's shirt. Maybe he is planning to hide out here?


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