Thursday, January 18, 2007

Greetings again from the end (almost) of the 2nd week here in PNG. This week has entailed some shockers..

Firstly there was the demise of our reg with malaria & pneumonia leaving me and the resident in charge.. and the consultant when he was around. It was a nightmare! Just when i'd thought i'd gotten out of the paperwork type stuff & more into the surgery i was once again back on the wards! AHH! AND i lost the earpiece to my stethoscope leaving it useless, but the whole hospital did get behind me in looking for it... such champions!

Surgery has consisted of more circumcisions, but a heap of orthopaedics this week, and a lot of nasty nasty infectious stuf.. this pic (you can't miss it) is of this Buruli ulcer they have here.. or Mycobacterium Ulcerans... very very nasty and we're seeing it more and more. Its horrible. Family members remember pepe's ears when they were really bad?? Probably not! But it had this awful stench that this stuff has. IT IS THE FOULEST THING EVER! And terribly painful.

On the entertainment front had my first hash run, my return to the wewak golf club, and my attempt at launching a canoe into the ocean... which failed miserably! Gosh the seas get rough here! However.. i have managed to scough down a coconut finally! Even though they are everwhere! I look a bit spaz in this photo but i'm thoroughly enjoying myself let me tell you! I reckon we should have coconut cocktails back home served up in them! They're fabulous! Once u get them open.. u should see the michette type bush knife used to crack this one!

Anyway.. hope you're all well.. can't believe it's only week 2. 2 weeks and 2 rats so far in the good old penthouse ala Johnson. I'm still sleeping with the lights on and one eye open. Just in case. Love to all!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hello all! Am currently writing this out for the 2nd time as in typical Wewak style the power went out last time around. In mean time however i did manage to get in a quick run around the airport. First since i've been here and by gosh does the humidity get you! So the first week here is over already! Can't believe how fast the time is going. I must say that i've never spent so much time at a hospital! I'm really enjoying my elective here.. it's been great so far. With the surgical team currently and they have been lovely. Am getting as much hands on experience as i want and they make an effort to get you involved and doing something, not just standing in a distant corner somewhere like in sydney looking on from afar and wondering when you can leave! I've assisted in all the operations so far.. which have included circumcisions; ORIF's; skin grafts, debridements; and my fav the ruptured ectopic pregnancy..a medical emergency you would think.. but the poor lady had to wait hours because there was no blood! Great huh! Was an awesome operation though.. could not believe how much blood came out of this lady! Anyway so hospital has been a blast! Although the last few days there's been a bit of a disaster - been a bit of a problem with the blood and there's been a few wrong blood type transfusions been given. DISASTER! I've been made to go around the hospital chasing all transfusions in past week and re-taking blood & crossmatching it with the bags given etc.. has been a nightmare. If i never have to take blood again i will be very happy! On the social front we've been invited to many a friends place almost every evening.. has been quite nice. Visited the markets today and got given big crabs which thoroughly enjoyed for lunch! Yet to get my hands on a cocconut yet even though they are everywhere, and sold for about 4cents! And have yet to have a swim yet either! But all things to do. Suprised at how tired i am really! Had my first encounter with a rat the other night.. was not pleasant. Now sleep with the light on and one eye open! If you don't know already the thought of a rat in my room petrifies me. But generally speaking, the first week has been great. Everyone is so nice to me and i'm treated like a bit of celebrity! I'm not complaining. Everyone is happy to help out wherever they can. I lost the earpiece to my stethoscope the other day and the whole ward was up out of their beds and on the floor looking with me. Was great. The kiddies in the hospital are lovely and stroke my hair and touch my skin and one came up to me the other day as i was walking along and just grabbed hold of my hand. Very sweet. But sad also as you see heaps of awful ulcers and gangrene and it's pretty nasty stuff.. nothing like you would ever really see at home primarily due to the hygeine i suppose. Have included a variety of pics for your amazement &/or disgust! Enjoy. There's one of the highly equipped (yeah right) operating theatre, me and a margaret hayward's place, the high tech traction device, burn victim & amputation for diabetic foot. Nice. Ok best be off.. time for a cold shower! (not that i'm given a choice!) Ciao!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The journey begins!

Hello all! Greetings from Wewak PNG! Home of the Sepik, the mosquito, mildred the cassowary and the never ending stench of well.. PNG! The flights up were a success and arrived early Sunday evening to a sea of black people awaiting arrivals. My dad was not hard to miss!
So far i've had the grand tour, fed the cassowary, avoided the mossies and checked out the hospital. Hope the photos do this place the justice it deserves! There's not much in the way of entertainment.. television consists of one channel... the snow report.. oh yeah & a bit of channel 9! Am glad i brought my lap top & a variety of dvd's to entertain me in the evening.. it's actually a bit difficult to hear anything at night as the roaring & crashing of the waves are bloody loud! It kinda sounds like there's a massive thunderstorm outside! The people seem relatively friendly, always waving and smiling. Looking forward to the hospital work! Already been introduced to the theatres.. 1 & 2! And the emergency department (photo!). Snooped around a bit & sussed out the obstetric ward, the pathology lab and contemplated photographing the blood trail leading to the door of the path lab but opted not to! Must upload my photos before the power cuts out! Love to you all.. especially the family fan base back in brisvagas & U.S. Give the kiddies a big cuddle from me!
PS. It's damn hot.
PPS.. Lin.. bring more dvd's! And mosquito things!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Before Departure

Pre-PNG.. family at Chirstmas in typical Johnson style where not one of us is looking at the camera. Yes folks.. the youngest member may be the most normal yet.. little Ryan good luck to you!