Thursday, October 27, 2016

All poured out

Four requests for help before 9am. First a phone call well before 7am. Judith, a pregnant woman from prenatal clinic Monday, who needed an ultrasound. I had set it up for her (for free) on Tuesday but she missed the appointment for some reason. I tried to call her the day of the missed appointment but her phone was off. Today she called asking me to set up a new appointment for her today, and this time I should come pick her up she said. Second request for help, Vicky pounding on my gate at 7am on her way to school. Her mother was supposed to come to school to sign some forms but she didn't do it before she went to the village and now the forms are due, can I please some to school and sign them? Shortly after this I was headed out and discovered my truck wouldn't start. This has been an ongoing problem as I have an electrical short somewhere and the work around has been that I just have to unhook the negatives on both batteries before I let it sit more than an hour or two. But last night I was tired after a very long day and a hospital run to a different city and just forgot. So dead this morning. Headed into town with both my batteries and I on the back of a boda to get them charged. Got a phone call from the family I dropped off at the hospital yesterday (see last post), can I please come back and bring them some things? (More than an hour round trip).  Right around 8:30am I got a phone call from Obule that there are several sick people, can I please come see patients in the clinic today? (Thursday is not my clinic day and there are two other staff who should be working today and the person calling has called me more than five times in the past week for various problems.)
I explained to Judith that she should be able to take care of her own transportation but I'll meet her at the hospital. I promised Vicky I'd come to school take care of her mother's paperwork before the end of the day. I explained to Joyce's family that there was no way I could make another trip to Kumi today and some other family members would need to step up and help them but I would provide some money for transport. I asked the person from Obulle to please stop calling me.  Oh wait, I just wanted to. I didn't actually say that. I told him I couldn't come out today, that I'll be back in the clinic Monday.

I don't like saying no. I really wish I could help every person who asks. But I just can't. I kind of wish the people making requests of me knew how many others are asking requests of me. They might be more understanding when I have to say no.

I wish people didn't have so many expectations of me. Like that I can drop everything and come back to Kumi because they didn't bring all the things they needed the first trip.

Back to Judith, my first request for help today. We got her the needed ultrasound, and confirmed she is 36 weeks pregnant. She has been trying to get pregnant for years. Being "barren" here is considered a curse. Practically all of a women's identity is in the number of children she produces. Judith is 37 years old and has miscarried many times. She didn't have any early prenatal visits because she was sure she was not going to maintain the pregnancy. But she did. So at 35 weeks she finally came in for a visit. I found a heartbeat without difficulty but beyond that the exam was abnormal. Anyway, today's hospital visit confirmed that the baby has profound hydrocephalus. Judith just sat and cried when I tried to explain it to her. She is scheduled for a c-section in two weeks and I promised that we will do all we can to get the baby to the neuro hospital in Mbale after she delivers.

This job is hard. And I feel like I've got little left to give today. Time to head back into town to see if there is any way I can get my truck back.....

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