Ebola. Compassion. And the lack thereof.

Today was the first day in a while that “Ebola!”  was not at the top of my Facebook trending arrows.

As has been noted before….Most Americans really only started to give any concern to Ebola once it arrived in the country.

Sadly we have gotten now to a point where most people can not even learn about the disease and what to do about it because they are in full on panic mode.  Most do not want to learn facts they just want to practice wild speculation.

I’ve come to realize too that there are several persons that are also in general unhappy with their lives, and rather than addressing that, they are grabbing onto each new news item and using that to express their anger/unhappiness.

In response to this, a video has been made by physicians from Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins.

One of the most frustrating things to me is that instead of thinking logically through the questions and concerns we have, we rush to throw a blanket on them and push them away.

People are saying they feel unsafe now that there is an “Ebola risk”  but in reality, we are always at risk for “Ebola”  or some new disease that may threaten us or our families.

Leaving you with a beautiful music on the compassion of the Savior.  And wondering why so many of these “right wing Christians” are so keen to do exactly the opposite of what their main book, the Bible teaches in these situations.

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In this New time of Ebola

Yes, those few of you who “follow” this random blog may have been looking for a post from me as the news broke regarding Thomas Duncan, the unfortunate Liberian who entered our country by way of Texas, with Ebola.  He of course has since perished, leaving behind 2 infected nurses who have been the subject of much speculation, sympathy and also some nastiness.

I have had a lot to say but not a lot of time to say it.

What I am excited about is that we are nearing the end of the 21 day period for those exposed to Mr. Duncan (God Rest His Soul).

Soon we will also near the end of the time for Ms. Pham and then in early November we will end the exposure time frame for Ms. Vinson.

This lady on a cruise ship…hopefully does not have the virus.  I’m fairly sure she does not but who knows.

Because of this, I have been extra busy.  We are in full Ebola freak out mode.  Our hospital does have the necessary protective gear and we have about 20 nurses and doctors trained.  While Dallas exposed numerous workers our plans intend to limit contact quite a bit more.  none of the preparations make anyone feel any more comfortable with this.  It was at first not that big a deal, but then the two nurses contracted Ebola.  This is likely to a problem taking off the protective gear, and not the big accusation that some of their neck was exposed.  True.  Neck should not be exposed, however, thats a very unlikely place to get contaminated.  My bet is on removal, which is trickier than it should be, but it can be done safely.

Secondly of course we have multiple health care workers in various positions imagining wild scenarios.  Not just at my hospital, but all over the country…lots of statements from surgeons about “Surgery on Ebola Patients”  Never mind that we have not heard about people suffering from Ebola needing surgery…they are just running with it.

So thats fun.

On top of that- I STILL have a November 1 deadline for audit with CMS.  And of course, after I decide that the only way to get that completed is to come in on a saturday, the electronic warehouse I submit to announces that it will be down all weekend.

I have 15 days more of employment with this organization.  I start immediately at the other, where it will continue to be Ebola Madness.

Very much hoping that another case either does not pop up OR that if it does it is handled better than in Dallas…from the get go, and that it isn’t in my area.

Luckily I have a half Marathon race next weekend, so I have been on a taper period for a while, giving me oodles of time to address all of the stuff.

I tell you. It is one thing for me to go over to Africa and deal with this.   It’s a whole other thing to ask any staff member to do it. It has got me nervous.

In the Time of Ebola Part two

I’m having a hard time writing any post about this project.  I’m not sure why.  In part, I think I am just really really tired.  In the week or so leading up to the trip, I had to run around like a crazy woman.  Then there was all the travel…and now home, I admit I am still tired.  I’ve been having that sleep that is sort of like a coma….you wake realizing you Really REALLY need to use the bathroom, but can barely move your legs to get you to the right place.

So today I think I’ll write simply about the “Isolation Centre”.  On the first day of our trip, we were met by the Permanent Secretary for the Minister of Health in Rivers state, Nigeria.

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(Yes this is Nigeria.  The red part is Rivers state- it’s in the Delta, so warm, and wet and full of oil.)

Port Harcourt is a large city, but wow the airport… Well here’s the PH international airport…Dana air provided some great snackies on the flight, but I was mightily disappointed to find my peanuts not to be “Burger” flavored.  (When I was in Sudan we used to get Kenyan Pringles chips in all sorts of bizarre flavors, so I did consider it a possibility when I saw the bag…)

noname-11 noname-7 noname-8Anyway the tent, they white one, was where we picked our luggage.

We then progressed to the hotel under, as always in Nigeria it seems, armed police guard.  I think it bothered some of my travel companions.  To me, it was Nigeria.

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Has not changed much since I was there last.

We then sat around a bit with the Ministry of Health People, had a few Fantas and then we went out to the center that they wanted to convert to an isolation center.

With the current events as they are, (the news is not entirely accurate here), I fear the center is not quite large enough.

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This was a community health center that was in the process of being converted. We strode about, trying to make suggestions.  I tend to always do a very quiet look through before making a lot of suggestions.  The other members of my team were very different and started to make a lot of recommendations and also odd statements.  One of the other nurses was asking about a blueprint, and our team leader snapped, “Oh they build organically here…” I should just say, I really think the word ORGANIC really belongs in the produce section.  I also knew differently, so I went very quietly to the Permanent Secretary and requested the blueprints.  They showed up.  (this is why I like to observe and hold back).  At any rate.  The center to me was actually pretty nice.

noname-15 noname-14 IMG_1770 noname-8I failed to take enough photos.  I was trying to absorb how the centre would work.

The Government had done a fairly good job planning how to build a few separate entrances and exits and create a clean and dirty room for entry for work. Our team lead made some suggestions, most somewhat impractical, but some very useful.

After that trip, we were whisked back to the hotel for some swimming (yes…) and dinner and time to think about how to convert the centre.  As it was, we never actually had time to get back to the center before it was needed….

 

 

 

In the Time of Ebola….

I made it home to Florida today.

This was the most strange trip I’ve had.  I had to really force myself on the plane to go home because I was seeing some needs that were intense.  In some ways it was also a bit disappointing because wow…some people are stupid.

So I did make it all the way to Lagos by myself.  Apparently one of our team members was on my overnight flight, but he was in business class and I was in the back with the Nigerians, and probably due to stress, I slept, even in the “middle seat” for most of the 12 hours of the flight.

We were met by the Hospitals for Humanity people which was a bit nerve wracking as they were meeting 4 of us on different flights so we had a hard time finding each other.  Lagos…is pretty populous and the airport is kind of a swarming mass of humanity, so…not the most fun I’ve ever had.

Whisked off to a very nice hotel.  And quickly ordered up a Malta.

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Malta is a non-alcoholic malted beverage that is pretty ubiquitous all over Africa.  It’s kind of bitter and has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and calories.  No one on my team had ever seen it before…which should have been a bit of a wake up moment for me.  I mean EVERYONE who has something to do with Africa, knows Malta/Maltina.  and Goya now sells it in the US.

We spent the night, and then in the Morning, I had the wonderful moment to meet up with my good friend Iko, who I had worked with the last time I was in Nigeria. a decade has passed.  He looked exactly the same.  He was charming and funny and explained a lot about Biafra.  We then made our way to the airport and hopped a flight to Port Harcourt.

Had no time really in Lagos so here are a few quick shots.

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In general Lagos seemed less crazy than before, but I really spent such little time there, that I probably have that impression because the hotel was nice and in a quiet area.

I had to share a room with my teammate. She had not been to Nigeria, but has been to Ghana.  She was such a typical American…packed 4 suitcases, mostly full of nutrition bars.  Unfortunately for her she seemed to state all her observations in a negative way. I think that is just her personality.  I thought she was a nurse and discovered her to be a lab person.  In fact, I was pretty much the only nurse on the trip.  This didn’t bode well at all!!!

So there is my first day in Nigeria.  It was pretty nice to be back.  breaking up the posts because well, I just got home and I’m tired.

 

Progress

Wow, I learned so much in one day of International Travel.  I am Still in Florida, but headed to Atlanta.  In Atlanta…I will step off the plane, go to Baggage Claim and meet Marvelous Valeria, and she will hand me my much needed Passport.  Whew.

I can not describe how hard it is to board for Atlanta when your final destination is Lagos, Nigeria.  it has a reputation. 

Luckily, I do not look like a dangerous sort.  I had a letter from the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation describing the work we want to undertake.

And One Hour and a half later, due much to hard work of Valeria, again, I was rewarded with a boarding pass to Atlanta.

And an introduction to the man in the middle, who apparently like me…is…. still single.

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I’m in the orange.  I sincerely hope that my teeth really aren’t that yellow looking in person.

Delta Airlines Rocks and Rolls.  I am thrilled with the service, though exhausted.

Now we hope and pray for the passport exchange in Atlanta to go very well and for me to make my 11pm night flight out to Lagos.

Reassurring- I got FB communication from Iko Ibanga the Wonderful MD I worked with in Nigeria last time I was there.  We may be meeting up. I feel a bit safer and cared for.

It is amazing how many times this trip should have been cancelled and wasn’t.  As I told a friend, this is when a belief in God really helps.  I’m forging ahead, assuming this is a completely blessed trip.

We will see.  I am also remembering my past Nigerian experiences, and well.. I feel slightly cautious.

Plug problems and other…

Tough day today.  I awoke to the email announcing my plane tickets.

I did note that I am taking essentially a tour of North America on the way home.

Our trip leader texted me:  “Did you see the tickets”

Me: Yes, I am touring the USA on the way home”

TL:  sorry it was the way the budget did it

Me; It’s ok, it was kind of funny.

TL: It’s just stupid.

ME: well, ok, it is stupid.

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I did my regular Wednesday workout.  Swim, run swim, getting out for my second run, I realized I had once again been a late Lucy and didn’t really have time for the run. I devised a plan to do it this afternoon and then ran smack into Coach.

He is all excited about my project.  I am churning through the things to worry about.  He is poo-pooing them all.  And eventually towards the end we actually had an interaction that resembled an argument.  So unpleasant.  He was displeased too that I had failed to execute the workout.

Work went pretty well.  I took care of business.  I was essentially focused on the external business of the trip, but…I did take care of the hospital’s business.

People are really responding with mixed emotions.  Most of them do not really have an understanding of how difficult the work will be, and thus are looking at this as a holiday trip for me or something. So they are either jealous, or just annoyed.  My Boss…really has been wonderful in bending over backwards to get things done for me and allowing me to go.

So I just kind of muddled through the day.

At exactly 5 pm, as I was chatting with the boss, my phone went off.  I had an email from my coach.  he was telling me he was super excited for me.  All the situation of the morning came back and I felt the immediate need to rush over there.  Which is essentially what I did. After stopping for a few things.

When I got there, I rushed into Physical Therapy still in my work clothes.  He looked a bit alarmed, and then immediately cut me the thera bands.

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I went and changed and was putting on my shoes when he started to gesture to me.  I walked over and he had 4 sheets of exercises for me.  Yeah..Going to be a fun trip..working out with the therabands.

I told him I needed to run my 2 miles…and he added, “which you failed to do this morning”  and I hit the treadmill. My legs are tired.

After..I went to say goodbye and we both relaxed a bit.  Started to talk and talk about things.  His wife showed up and he and his wife prayed over me.  He was very specific even praying for my QL strain. She prays in a different style, but the gesture was so real and genuine that I appreciated it.  She and I chatted a bit for real for the first time, probably EVER.  She told me that “He can’t shut up about your trip”…I for the first time asked about the upcoming baby.  It was a good moment.

I left the gym and my phone beeped…coach sending me another message.  Good people in ones corner.

As we prayed, I received a message from the foundation’s board president.  The email was so welcoming and loving that I really started to feel good about this trip.

Of course, small problem…

I have not packed yet, and I can’t find my Nigerian plugs.  I really need to get organized, I am probably overrelaxed.

Hurry up and WAIT

I can not believe that at 9 pm on a Monday night, I am still waiting to hear about our trip to Nigeria on Wednesday being a go or a no.

I gotta admit the trip organizer is quite the entrepreneur and a hustler.

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He really is working on getting things done for this.

Unfortunately it also means that at 9:15 pm on a Monday night, I have no idea what I will be doing on Wednesday.

I am a bit peeved.   I am trying to be patient and all but I’m not sure it becomes me.

I will update in the morning.  Perhaps by 10:00 pm…it 2 am in Nigeria, so unlikely they are neogtiating still but…one never knows.

Admit, I want to go back to W. Africa.  Apparently more than I thought I did.

So I feel as if I have completed the total amazing race challenges to get all this stuff done…

So where is my prize?