Today was a hard day. I spent some time with the abandoned babies in the NICU and then went to the burns ward. Needless to say I am not cut out to handle what I was exposed to (yet).
Working and providing services in a Kenyan, public hospital definitely comes with its challenges. This morning the patients in the burns unit were having dressing changes. Unfortunately, with lack of equipment and space, there was more than one patient having their dressing changed simultaneously. There are no soak tubs so even though nurses try to wet the bandages, they are essentially pulling bandages off of wounds and reopening them. While pain medication is usually given, not all medications work the same. Today was a day where pain was managed, but patients were completely conscious and aware of what was going on. So for patients that can see their wounds and the gauze being taken off, it’s incredibly stressful. Add to that the other patients crying and screaming, doctors and nurses for each patient, and a tiny room. Let’s just say I had to leave. It was very overwhelming for me and as embarassed as I may have been to have had to leave the room, I know my limits and what I am emotionally able to handle.
It’s important to make the most of what we have to work with, and I think the team here is doing an amazing job at that. I have a new level of respect for those who can work in these areas, filled with such trauma – it takes a very special person.
This morning I felt like I had failed but after thinking and reflecting I reminded myself that I am still learning. There is a lot that I have yet to experience and a lot that I still need to learn. I know I am not expected to know everything – I just need to remind myself of that every once in a while.