28 August 2009

Africa Dispatch VI: The African quick step

A few years ago, one of my best friends left theatre to go save the world. She'd been working in fundraising, and, coupled with some general job dissatisfaction, she figured, "If I'm gonna be raising money, I might as well be saving babies." And so now that's what she does, more or less. She works for an amazing charity that does work all over the world. This friend, whom we'll call Sydney Bristow (and her husband will be Vaughn, but no, she doesn't work for the CIA) so I don't get her fired or anything, works in the organization's NYC office, but is currently in Africa, having gotten the chance to spend a few weeks there visiting some of the org's sites. She's been sending email updates to family and a few friends, and I asked if I could share them with the internet. Maybe it's the malaria, but she agreed.

8/22/09

hello from rainy africa.
i should preface this story by saying that yesterday morning i was finally hit with a bout of the african quick step. [I have no idea what this is. Queries were met with a blank email. I will update when I know. -Jaime]
i went on rounds with one of the clinical officers in the hiv ward of the hospital. a clinical officer is a government nurse practitioner but they are basically doctors in a country with too few of them. while on rounds, patrick had to drain excess spinal fliud from a man with a kind of meningitis that only shows up in late stage AIDS patients. i asked if i could watch. i did and took pictures. afterwards, while i was asking patrick questions, the room went swimmy and my ears started ringing and i blacked out. next thing i remember i was outside with my head between my knees, totally mortified. patrick is petrified of me now.
i'm fine but embarrassed. and my stomach is doing much better now. i guess i still have a little of the bristow in me after all.
i'm much busier here than the other programs. the project is huge. they've got me running around like a mad lady. today i'm sitting in on a nurse training session and then spending time at a youth group for HIV positive kids. tonight, dancing with some of the expatriates.
love to everyone. i'll be home in just about a week. i've gotten pretty enmeshed here and love uganda. but i'll be glad to come home to the land of door knobs, 24 hour electricity, hot indoor showers, and my husband.

5 comments:

99 said...

African quick step=the trots? Just a guess...

Jaime said...

Except the main symptom we get here is that she blacked out. My guess would be sorta fainting, but it's odd that it happened after seeing the gory stuff...

99 said...

Oh, right. Good point. Any word back yet?

Jaime said...

Ah, the problem was in my reading comprehension skills - the quickstep and the passing out were related, but not one and the same. 99, you were right about the quickstep, and then the passing out was due in part to being a little weak and unfed thanks to that.

99 said...

Ah! Well, I hope she's recovered well. The fake spy game is pretty rough.

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