I’m just finishing the most intense two and half weeks I’ve maybe ever lived through. It was extreme on all levels but contrasted with life changing as well. When I started this journey, I told myself and Deanne that I think I need a break from nursing. I wanted to do orphanage work and teaching, or so I thought.
While I found out I do enjoy teaching and kids at a certain level, it’s not where my true passion lies. Honestly, I really didn’t know how much I love the hospital, operating room, and emergency situations until this turn of events. While I was teaching, I had this yearning to be back in the hospital where my heart is supposed to be.
I talked to Deanne and Johnson about it and of course they made it happen. I did two and a half weeks at Eagle Nursing Home (they call hospitals nursing homes here, turns out) and it was amazing. I worked at two different branches of their hospital and of course fell in love with the bigger, more intense hospital in the slums. The intensity was all around: the slum, the emergencies, the living situation.
I found myself falling in love with the ambulance and its team. I started in trauma when I was a young nurse and my experience with emergencies will never leave my bones. I sought the thrill of getting a call and racing to the next emergency – be it a COVID-19 patient, a transfer to a higher level of care, crazy fractures, or a fatal motorbike accident on the side of the road, we did it all. Along with the ambulance rides, I was able to work in labor and delivery (I helped deliver 4 babies and assisted one C-section!), injection room, triage, wards, and my specialty – the operating room. The staff were all overly kind and everyone wanted me to experience their work.
Medicine is universal.
Although they have less monitors and not as many fancy things as the westernized world, a baby is still born during a delivery and a fracture still needs to be casted. It’s amazing how you can be across the world and processes for treating a patient remain the same. It was a rollercoaster ride of an assignment and I think if I left Kenya without experiencing the medicine side of things, there would have been deep regret inside of me.
I plan to help expose Eagle Nursing Home more and hopefully attract more medical volunteers to their facility. When I was meeting with the director on my final day, Dr. Sikuku, he said I was the first white person to ever step foot in the hospital. It shocked me a bit because the staff treated me like I was part of them from day one. Saying goodbye to the staff was very hard for me, harder than I expected, even tears started to well up! I hope my experience there will help persuade other medical volunteers who are in need of an experience abroad to come join Eagle’s team and see the true Kenyan medical ways. The kindness of people in this world never ceases to amaze me and I’m so happy I took the risk and followed my heart.