I got to see one of Senegal’s main public hospital’s the other day. One of my friends was having a uterine fibroid taken out. Let me describe a bit of her experience here. The hospital is a huge complex with many buildings and they are not connected by tunnels or corridors but regular outside walk ways. Patients can freely walk outside when they want. ( l liked that!)
If I understood correctly she was to have the surgery under local anesthetic. Before she came to the hospital she had a huge list of things she needed to buy. It was she that had to provide all medications, dressings, needles, syringes, and sterile gloves needed for the operation. If anything was missing during the operation, someone came out into the waiting room, found her family, gave them the prescription for it and the family had to run the pharmacy across the street to get it.
She really liked the operation room, she said it was clean and the staff was professional. She had a lot of pain during the operation so they had to change it to be under general anesthesia. She was in the operating room for about 5 hours.
After the operation, she was taken to a room in another part of the hospital. This was a room that was very small only big enough for a double bed to fit in plus a foot on either side. It had it’s own private bathroom, air conditioning, small fridge and a single bed. The bed’s mattress was covered in a thick plastic material with cracks. The bed was high and did not adjust up or down. It had no side rails but was positioned against the wall. It was my friend that supplied her own sheets, pillows, towels, toiletries and food.
After the nurses and doctors got her situated in her room they left and gave the fibroid specimen they had taken in the operation to her friends. They were told to be run the specimen to the laboratory for analysis. A friend described walking around in the heat of the day trying to find the laboratory then finding out she need to first go and pay for the specimen before they would take it. She went to two different places to find out where to pay until she could go back with the receipt to leave the specimen at the laboratory.
In the mean time my friend was in the her hospital room in pain. The only pain medicine given after surgery was IV tylenol and IV tramadol, these were given every 8 or 9 hours. There were no assessments done by the doctors or nurses, no vital signs taken, not very many instructions given to the patient or family on what to do, what to eat, etc. The nurses came to hang the IV meds, which my friend had bought before coming and that were stored in her room. She had no IV fluids hooked up and did not drink very much for the first 24 hours. I went to see her the second day. She was in a lot of pain and had a lot of gas pain too. I was able to explain what to do about the gas pain: walking and being careful what she ate and drank. I was able to listen to her stomach and we got her a thermometer from the pharmacy near by. Her friends stayed with her night and day to help her. I was wondering if I should have gone or not. I was really busy that day but I was worried about her so I went. Later on, when she got home she told me that it meant so much to her that I came and it helped so much to know what to do to help the gas pain and that the slight fever she had was ok and what to do about it. So I guess sometimes random visits at inconvenient times for me can be a big blessing for others. It has been neat to see God use my knowledge of the surgical field even here. Now my friend is at home and doing well. Praise be to God who is sovereign and in control over all things every where!