Even though I haven't started working as a nurse at Resurrection Hospital here in Bukoba, I have had the opportunity to use my nursing skills.
My first opportunity was when the majority of priest from the Archdiocese came to Bukoba to have a seminary. Many different topics were addressed including the recent economy. Father Spyridon knew I was just itching to use my nursing skills and told me after Liturgy during the seminary, that one of the priest's had come down with malaria. I looked up the medicine he was on and he was being treated for the more complicated malarial parasite (). I did worry about him and prayed for his recovery knowing that he could easily need to go to the hospital if he was not able to stay hydrated.
The next morning, Fr. Spyridon informed me that Father Evangelos was unable to stay hydrated. He was now in the hospital in Bukoba. I was able to walk to one of the small convenient stores and find some juice, water, and straws to help Father keep hydrated. In the hospital, family and friends are expected to do comfort care (i.e., bring food to patient and take care of their needs). Medications are given by the nurse and a doctor comes to see the patient once a day, also will see the patient more if need be. I was surprised how security conscience the hospital was about visitation and who can enter and see the patients. Father had a private room because the other bed in the room was broken. What I could see from his room was most of the other rooms were semi-private. Father looked very weak, but he was awake and speaking so I was happy about that. I gave him instructions how to use the juice and water. That was translated in to Swahili and we chatted with him. Not long after four or five of the priests from the seminary arrived and we all prayed and left Father so he could rest.
We came back that night and I was happy to see Father had finished a liter and a half of the juice/water mix. He said he was feeling better and he looked not as weak when I first met him. The following day, we came to the hospital to see him with some food. We had bought it from a local restaurant. Most restaurants in Bukoba all serve the same food (mashed and cooked bananas, rice, beans, chicken/goat/beef/fish, cooked spinach). I knew, from myself having malaria back in September, that Father would not want to eat a lot and it was most important to keep him hydrated. It was difficult to explain this information, but thank goodness they trusted me and in fact Father was only able to take a few bites before he became nauseated. We returned that evening and was able to speak with the doctor taking care of Father. He was a very kind man and was very knowledgeable. I knew Father was in good hands. Malaria is thought as the common cold here. Yes, it is taken very seriously, but if the patient is able to stay hydrated, then there is no need to go to the hospital. It is wonderful to know that we can go to the government hospital here in Bukoba for malaria and know that we will be taken care of properly.
A few weeks ago, Father Spyridon's children (Sophia (4) and Simeone (9 months)) were diagnosed with malaria. Father was in a village doing Liturgy for one of four of the parishes for he is responsible. I received a text from him asking for my help going to the pharmacy to pick up the children's medicine. I saw the children before we went to the hospital and I knew they didn't feel well. We got the medicines and instructions and came back to the house. I explained the different medicines that each child needed to take. Michael translated for me. I was very impressed how Papazia gave Simeone his medicine. Most nine month olds don't like to take medicines . As a nurse I sometimes see parents have a hard time giving their child the medicines. Papazia did a great job and Simeone was fine after the trauma of medicine he didn't like being given to him. Later in the day, I checked on the children and I could tell they were feeling better. Sophia grabbed my hand and started clapping her hand and mine together, like she always does. A week later the Sophia and Simeone are doing great and not having any problems.
It was really great to be able to help Fr. Evangelos, Sophia, and Simeone. I am grateful that they are doing better and also for God giving me this chance to be a nurse again.