Third installment from Dr. Katy Rivlin, NYU resident blogging from Ghana!
5/17---> Lights, camera and a whole lotta action in the Gynae Theatre
Well, the GI monster finally defeated Maala, who sent me a message through Paka that she has been vomiting all day and night and is out for Cape Coast this weekend. Me on the other hand, I’m still game. It’ll be a nice vacation from my bleating, dying goat friend. Oh, and I’ve since learned that Paka’s name is actually Parker. Let this be a good example of why the Ghanaian accent can really throw you for a loop.
I spent the day in the Gynae Theatre, or the operating room where I assisted Emmanuel in a myomectomy, taught some deer in headlights medical students how to put in a foley, and then talked them through the hysterectomy that Emmanuel and Henry did together. I found them every appreciative and they flocked around me like I was a steaming pot of free rice (Ghanaians LOVE rice. They call it riiiiiiiiiiice).
The OR is truly a theater, teeming with house officers, residents and medical students who place their chins on your shoulder while you operate. All the while the woman is awake behind the drapes, with only spinal anesthesia. Her uterus becomes the plot of the show.
On the walk home, as per the usual all the school kids ran up to me in their red and orange uniforms, shrieked “obruni!!!” (which means shiny one) and ran away giggling. I’ve associated the phrase with children mainly and some taxi drivers, until the anesthesiologist said it to me today. I guess it crosses age and socioeconomic boundaries. The correct response is a big smile and wave and everyone walks away happy, even anesthesiologists. The obruni feels a mixture of happiness at being acknowledged and ridiculousness for being, well, caucasian? American? Wealthy? A salad eater who sometimes goes on runs? A daily shower taker and multi-daily toilet flusher? It’s a little unclear.
5/18--> Here I go again on my own
Last night we went to Osu for dinner, a neighborhood that the New York Times called “upscale” in its “Places to go in 2013”. As far as I can tell, there are just as many goats eating garbage there as here, but I get the idea. We drank beer and fermented cane alcohol at a bar that somehow is very appealing to western sensibilities. It had little plates, outdoor seating and kicking tunes. There were more obrunis there than I’ve seen since I left New York and I felt a bit of an urge to touch their skin and hair, just like a school child. Sari and I got pretty drunk, and the evening ended with a wild beef-fest about health care in America and the world and how Barbara Kingsolver is the only one who gets it.
So now I’m off to Cape Coast, trying to push through the diarrhea, goat still hasn’t died, and I’m starting to get a weird chest rash.
Until next time!