Meskel and Debra Zeit - Celebration and Relaxation
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A typical day for us goes as follows:
We wake up around 7:30 AM. They have a cook come in to our quarters to provide us with a nice continental breakfast. The tea here is amazing, made from scratch with herbs and spices that create a tea that is better than any other tea I have ever had in my life. I look forward to this tea every morning.
We leave the guesthouse at 8:15 AM
We work in the hospital from 9 AM until about 5 PM every day. Last week we worked on the Internal Medicine Emergency Side seeing really interesting cases. Here, people are very sick when they come into hospital. People sit at home with kidney infections and strokes for days before seeking treatment. The team we work with is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. When we have spare time, Carissa and I partake in teaching sessions.
In the evenings I have been working on CaRMS applications (for residency) and Carissa has been working on Medical School applications.
The other day we had a patient on our side of the Emergency Room with Acute Kidney Injury. This was secondary to a viral infection
The other day we asked to visit the ICU. In the ER departments in Canada, there are specific areas of the hospital that have Cardiac (heart) monitors for all patients in the area. In St. Paul’s hospital there is one single Cardiac monitor and one single ventilator in the entire hospital and these are both located in the ICU. They choose which patient will benefit most from the use of these monitors. The ICU has 6 beds and the entire area is about the same size as one of the ICU suites at the Royal Alex Hospital.
Wednesday marked the eve of a national religious holiday called Meskel. This holiday celebrates the burning of Chris on the cross. Most of the citizens in Addis meet at Meskel Square where they sing and dance while burning a huge cross made from straw and grass. We were accompanied by some of the intern doctors to this event, which made us feel safe. They escorted us right up to the front of the massive crowd and the site was beautiful. Nearing the end of the celebration, the crowd started to push forward. Police bordered the crowd and held batons, guns, and shields and started to use the batons on the front of the crowd right where we were standing. We quickly tried to back into the crowd as it pushed forward
On Saturday we decided to take a trip 1 hour out of town to a place called Debra Zeit. This is a hidden gem of Ethiopia and we are so glad that we had the opportunity to visit. On our way to Debra Zeit, we saw a man run in the middle of the highway and almost get hit by a huge semi-truck. We were wondering why he would run into the middle of the busy road but then quickly noticed a policeman running after him with a baton. It turns out that he had stolen something from a local shop and now was being chased down. Since there are no crosswalks here and cars don’t slow down for people crossing the street, it is risky business trying to get from one side to the other. I asked our guide how often pedestrians are hit by cars and he said very often and then followed that by “you will see”, implying that we would be witness to a pedestrian being hit by a car on our 1-hour trip to Debra Zeit. Lucky for us, and the pedestrians, this was not the case! The punishment for pedestrian fatality is 15 years in prison. If you injure a pedestrian, you and your family must pay for their food for the remainder of their lives. I don’t know why they don’t just use crosswalks!
In Debra Zeit, the mode of transportation is either by Donkey drawn carriages or these tiny three wheeled vehicles adapted from Asia called Bajajs
This week we are working on the surgical side of the Emergency Room. I am told that because people must pay for CT scans out of their own pockets, but surgeries are covered by the government, they often elect for open laparotomies (incision through the abdominal wall) instead of imaging to determine the cause for their abdominal symptoms. I am sure this will be a very interesting week!
We hope everyone is splendid back home!
<3 Andrea and Carissa