Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tintswalo Hospital

Just arrived in the hospital which is the same avacado green inside as the church back at my parents'. The doctors are in a meeting that they said we won't get anything out of and so we are hanging around in the staff room. Even though we're 4th years, we will be foundation year one doctors here. We won't just be taking histories or blood, but we'll be delivering babies, doing lumbar punctures, and if we wanted to do Paediatrics, it sounds likely that we would end up doing a ward round or clinic by ourselves. Hmm, talk about deep ends.

Note to self, never call a child 'Lucky', because they always tend to die of HIV/TB out here. Or have some horrific facial trauma. Or maybe Tim and Anna just remember them because they were called 'Lucky'.

We are staying in a two bedroom cottage next to the main house, set in 30,000 hectares of game reserve. You know the bit when Belle sees the Beast's home for the first time? The most beautiful home I have ever seen. I won Rock Paper Scissors, and so I have a King-sized bed and a huge room to myself in the cottage. It's overwhelming, there are trophy heads everywhere, pieces of vertebrae from game serves as soap dishes, antler handles everywhere, Impala heads, Buffalo head. Even the walk-in wardrobe has rhino handles. I felt so overwhelmed. I was confused by the water feature, which turned out to be a swimming pool with water running artistically down the granite edge. There is a fridge with an ice machine, a coffee machine in the kitchen that I have no idea how to work, and I was even confused by the sink.

Yeah, I felt like I was Tarzan, just coming out of the jungle when I saw their home. There's even a huge, and I mean HUGE, fibre glass elephant head in the living room of the main house, modelled on a real elephant. The cottage even has a massage chair, for crying out loud. Madness indeed.

So, I should go now, and read up on TB. But I had the BEST day of my life when we went on Safari, last Sunday. My first sighting was a male elephant in musk, it was a rhino day and we ended up seeing 11 of them, 9 of which were in a herd. The stars, my goodness, I have never seen stars like these. I can't capture them on camera, but wow. They are truly amazing. 

Why did the giraffes cross the road?

To check out the lions eating their friend.  

Oh, and we also swam at the top of Lisbon Falls, look it up! From Nelspruit, we were bundled into 3 separate cramped mini buses (or taxis). Managed to sit right next to the loudspeaker for most of them, but met a nice lady who helped us get off at the right place, and gave me half of her maize to munch on. It took us about 4 hours to get to Hoedspruit. People were staring and pointing at me from outside the minibus when we were in the township. Men were thrusting mobile phones in my hand to try and get my number. It's so strange. I don't think they know where to put me, because there are so few Chinese people around. Even less than white. We stopped outside Tintswalo Hospital to pick up Colin, the theatre porter. It was just Jack the driver, and Colin, and us. Got a bit worried, but we made it.

I saw a Africa wildcat this morning, and a herd of six Nyala grazing really close to where we had dinner last night. The cat, I thought was something exotic from far off and got very excited. Then as it came closer and closer, I realised it was a domestic cat. But it still wasn't quite that. He stalked closer and closer until he came to sit next to me and I was petting him. Then I was told afterwards it was really a wildcat, just the neighbours', and tame.

Need to go, I know nothing, and it's been a long time since I've even taken blood. If Peter is reading this, please could you top up my phone? I love you and I miss you so.


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  2. I'll top up your phone tomorrow :-)

    Wow... really great account of things. Both the safari and tale of swimming in Lisbon falls sounds amazing, and I look forward to seeing photos of your experience.

    Certainly sounds like being placed in the deep end hospital-wise, although it should take some of the shock away when you're an FY1 here. Oh, Michael got his placements yesterday, and is in Sandwell for A&E, GP and as a teaching fellow.

    Really extravagant house by the sound of things. Hope your attic doesn't disappoint on your return. It has pretty felt animals instead of parts of real ones.

    Love you so much

  3. Every time I turn around, I see Doofus the Buffalo Head gazing at me. I don't normally use Anna's mac, but I'm transferring photos at the moment. We were watching some amazing thunderstorms from the balcony just now, reminded me of Mordor. Splitting the sky and the mountains. Really hard to get photos naturally.

    I didn't see anything ground-breaking today, though Alice got to sulture this man's head after he had been attacked with a stick. Poor guy. I saw people with constipation and heart failure, go figure. There was a glove shortage at one point, which made things interesting. Not a whole lot you could do without gloves when so many people are HIV positive. Got to practice my practice skills, the cannulas here are different and the gloves are too big, and keep getting in the way of everything!

    Anyhow, must go and shower, and sleep. Need to get to hospital for 7am tomorrow. Volunteered for 8 to 8 on-call to get sulture practice, and because there are bank holidays coming. Want to make the most of placement.

    Much love to you both!