Today marks one week of me being here. It’s funny looking back at my expectations and what I thought I would be walking into and what the reality really is.
There are two sides to the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) where patients stay. When they are first admitted they go into the suspected ward. After their labs are drawn and we get results back, the next day, then they are either discharged home or to the hospital if they are sick with something else, or if their labs come back positive for ebola, then they are moved to the confirmed side of the ETU. There has been one 11 year old boy on the confirmed side since before my arrival. All the patients we have gotten in on the suspected side have all been negative for ebola thus far so they are here for less than 24 hours usually. The boy in the confirmed ward is getting stronger every day and is expected to go home soon. On Christmas Eve he was up dancing and showing off his moves.
The pace here is a lot slower than I was expecting. It’s a good thing, I know, meaning there are not as many cases coming in. When you come out of the unit, there is not much else to do until the next time you go in which can be many hours later. I’ve been talking with many of the national nurses and that has been interesting. Everyone here knows many people who have died from ebola and they have all been affected in some way. All the schools have been closed since the outbreak became severe, so many of the nurses who were in school are working here as nursing aids. A nurse I was talking with yesterday was telling me about how many families in his village were quarantined in their homes when someone in their family became sick. The community would have to bring them food and if a person died, the right people would come and remove the body. He was telling me about how he grew up as a child in the midst of the war, became a refugee and eventually moved back here when it was safe. The country was rebuilding and now this. It’s a difficult time for everyone.
On Christmas Eve we had a celebration for the workers. Lots of preaching and dancing in full form. Lights and decorations and fake trees were put up throughout the ETU to make it festive. A good friend sent me this LINK which was my Christmas message this year. Also, take a look at THIS which a couple others sent me which I found really funny. You need to watch it to the end. I hope you all had a great Christmas and remember why we celebrate!