An update on my random life

Yesterday was a great day!  Why?  You may recall from my blog entry last month (click here to read it) that we had a visiting maxillofacial surgeon with us for a short while.  During his clinic on the Saturday, we saw a baby girl (we’ll called her Ache, not her real name) with a haemangioma on her face that covered her left eye and a lot of her left cheek.  Here’s how Ache looked when we first saw her:

Ache – 23rd June 2018

Well yesterday, her parents came back in for follow up.  It was a bit of a fluke (or was it?) that I bumped into them while they were here, because I’m often not in the consultation clinic and don’t see patients.  However we crossed paths as they were leaving the hospital and they came to show me the baby’s face.  The simple treatment of propranolol is working!  It was so great to see how much the haemangioma has reduced already in just one month.  There’s still a lot of time and medication required until it disappears completely.  But the parents are overjoyed.  The mother, a beautiful young Arab girl dressed in colourful clothes, bracelets and necklace, was beaming.  The father, an older Arab man, couldn’t stop saying ‘shukran’ (thank you).  With my limited Arabic I couldn’t really converse with them, apart from replying ‘afwan’ (you’re welcome) and ‘da adil’ (that’s great).  The gratitude was evident despite us not exchanging many words.  It was a humbling experience to know that a simple treatment such as propranolol was making such a difference to this young girl’s life.  The father gave me the rest of the tablets he bought last time and I cut more up for them to take home and continue the treatment for another couple of months.  We urged them to come back and let us know how Ache is getting on.  As I’ll be on home assignment when they come back, I handed over the propranolol dosing and tablet-cutting to my Chadian pharmacist colleague and introduced him to the family.  This will mean they can get more tablets cut up when they return for follow-up.  Because the tablets are 40mg and the child only requires 1/8th of a tablet per day at the moment, the box of 50 tablets which the father bought on their first visit is lasting a long time.  Bargain treatment, as the whole box of 50 tablets cost around £3!
Ache – 24th July 2018

Carrying on with my update of my last blog, I’m sure you’re all riveted as to what happened in the end with the pit latrines!!  Well, all the bottles and nappies got removed (by hand using shovels) and buried.  A local septic-tank-emptying company came and emptied the pit.  Alphonse our hospital handyman, along with two guys to help him, re-laid the floors in each of the 3 latrines and put a thin metal bar across the hole down into the long-drop to try and stop people pushing bottles and nappies down there.  We can but hope…..

Oh, and I managed to curb the enthusiasm of the physio and we just ordered 30 pairs of crutches rather than the 95 pairs he wanted!  They’ve been made and delivered to the hospital ready to help with the rehab of our orthopaedic patients.