“Amazing” exclaimed The Nurse – which is what we call her because she is one – as she held up the otoscope, “I found this at the market for $60. In Australia I would have paid three times that much.” She set it down next to the new blood pressure tester she had also bought.
We’d spent the morning before at the dump. I’d told Vichika that my nurse- friend was in town and that she would do health checks. When we arrived some blue plastic chairs appeared. Those waiting to be seen lined up. As soon as the chair was vacant, the next patient slide onto it.
The Nurse had brought some supplies with her from Australia. One of the common problems at the dump is that people have their ears blocked with wax. She had the drops, but the light on her phone didn’t quite do the trick when it came to seeing down the canal, hence the otoscope purchase.
While The Nurse was busy doing things medical I got Theda to check my head for lice. As she went through my hair cracking every couple of seconds I started to get itchy, very itchy. There had to be a proverbial ranch of the parasites there. Crack. Move a few hairs over and crack again.
“No, you don’t have nits,” translated Nick, “she is just finding white things in your hair.” Later The Nurse took a look and pronounced, “You are such a drama queen. It is just a bit of dandruff, likely from dying your naturally red hair. Get an oil treatment and you will be fine.”
When the clinic finished we piled into the tuk-tuk and went for lunch. Then it was time to visit the tree people. We took them some food, water and milk for the baby. When they finished eating The Nurse moved in. “Lollies will do it every time. All over the world, promise a kid a lolly if they let you examine them and they will be good.”
Tivan – the eight year old boy – lay on the mat. He was lethargic, his eyes dull. “He has an infection and is in worse shape than the baby,” pronounced The Nurse. When Nick carried him to the tuk-tuk to take him to the hospital, three other kids hopped in. They happily waved goodbye and would have gone off with us. The hospital turned out to be a pharmacy where The Nurse bought some antibiotics and we returned to the tree.
Tivin – the six-year old whom we found out is actually a girl – crawled onto my lap and snuggled. ‘She and Tivan stay at Friends during the week and spend the weekend with their parents. A smart little thing who has only attended school for a month or so, she counted up to 10 in English and chanted the ABCs.
Time to go, so I set Tivin down. As we walked away she wailed like a banshee and ran after me. Her father had to restrain her and she flailed her arms. “She is really cracking it that you are leaving,” commented The Nurse. I’ve never had a child act like I was a mother abandoning her before, so it was a new experience.
DITD Mobile Clinic Plans
My friends Grant – a doctor – and Jane – a nurse – are coming to visit in January. I’ve already asked them to bring a stethoscope to leave and some medicine we can’t get here. Yes, people who come to see me in the Kingdom get to go to all the fun places.
Now that we have a mobile-medical-backpack with the basics I’ve started to put the word out on the expat network for medical types who would be willing to do clinics from time to time.
Having spent more of your money, the DITD budget now sits at $432.53. As a reminder, donations make the perfect Christmas gift for those who already have far more than they need.