Archive from August, 2012
Aug 29, 2012 - Medical Talk    8 Comments

Doctoring in a bygone era…

Most people have had to listen to someone from an older generation reminisce over the good old days, with a conversation that starts something along the lines of “back in my day…”

In the medical world, this kind of conversation occurs when a ripened consultant talks of the pitfalls of the modern NHS. They harp back to ‘their day’ when they worked 48-hour shifts and lived on hospital site, when matrons ruled the ward, and doctors really knew the meaning of continuity of care.

The more time I spend at St Francis Hospital, the more I believe that when I boarded the airplane at London Heathrow, it wasn’t really a plane, but a time machine that has transported me to a bygone era of doctoring.

Read on…

Aug 26, 2012 - General    2 Comments

Kulamba Festival

Although we are a long way from home, our weekend had parallels with that of a lot of people in the UK.

The last weekend of August in London sees crowds of people flocking to the Notting Hill Carnival to dance, drink, eat some jerk chicken and jostle through crowds.

On the same weekend in Katete, crowds of Chewa people flock to the Kulamba festival from all over Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi to dance, drink, eat some dried fish and jostle through crowds… as well as pay homage to Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi and give thanks for a good harvest.

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Aug 21, 2012 - Medical Talk    3 Comments

Adjusting to the outpatient department

St Francis’ Hospital is a large and busy hospital serving the local population of Katete District (over 200,000 people) and receiving referrals from all over the Eastern Province of Zambia (about 1.5 million people).

In Zambia, the concept of a GP or family physician only exists in the private sector. The public health system provides primary care through health centres, staffed by clinical officers, nurses and ancillary staff. These people have been trained to identify and manage common clinical presentations such as malaria, but they are not doctors. The patients who are referred to the hospital to see a doctor usually have had little or no treatment started. Therefore, although my work involves seeing patients in a secondary care setting, it has a feel of primary care to me.

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Aug 18, 2012 - General    5 Comments

We bought a car!

Until today, I’d only ever owned one type of car, the reliable, easy-to-park and incredibly girly Renault Clio! I’ve had 3 lovely Clio’s in my time, and I’ve loved them all dearly. However, I have become the owner of the antithesis of a Clio… Will and I now own a Toyota Land Cruiser, and it is a beast!

However, my Clio shouldn’t feel too betrayed, because it was clear from Will’s big grin and boyish excitement when we collected the car that the Land Cruiser is really his.

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Aug 14, 2012 - General    17 Comments

Our new house

It is fairly easy to romanticize the idea of an African house… for example by painting a picture of Karen Blixen’s house in your head, and then putting yourself on the porch in a rocking chair, listening to a gramophone beside your very own Denis Finch-Hatton! It is also very easy to do the opposite and conjure up images of a dark, dusty hut filled with more bugs than you can shake a stick at.

Well, we have moved into our new house, and although there is no gramophone, it is closer to my romanticized version than my nightmare one. After only two nights here, I know it is one of those houses that I will remember fondly forever.

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Aug 10, 2012 - General    7 Comments

Changing pace

As the wife of a wildlife photographer, I know that holidays do not mean relaxation. When Will and I travel, we are usually busier than ever. Sunrise and sunset provide the best light of the day and therefore cannot be missed! During the ‘bad-light’ hours, it is important to get familiar with the sights in order to decide where to spend sunrise and sunset.

On our first night in Zambia, we slept solidly for 13 hours, waking at 9am. When we did wake up (no alarm set!), we took our time before ambling to get breakfast. It means that although I am in a strange, new country, I am not on holiday. This is something different…

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Aug 2, 2012 - General    3 Comments

How to cut hair

Will requires a haircut once a month. If he waits any longer than that, he ends up with clumps of hair sticking out in the wrong directions. I can always tell when he has breached 4 weeks because he permanently wears a baseball cap, even at dinner.

For the past two weeks, Will has not been seen without his baseball cap. However, on this occasion, the delay has been my fault.

We have been waiting until I finished work so I could go with Will to Tony’s Barbers to watch and learn. You see, in Zambia, I will be Will’s barber.

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