Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rough Day

So today was probably my worst day in Kenya. I am not sure why it was so bad, but everything seemed to bother me today. I think it was just an overwhelming feeling of helplessness that just overtook me today.

My day started with me arriving on the ward at 9am and no one was there. I waited for about 20 minutes and then decided to start rounding without my interns. I was then yelled at by a Kenyan attending because I "talked to loud." It was pretty awful and I felt he was definately picking out the one white person on the ward. The problem is that I am the American visitor and I can't keep anyone accountable. I just want to shake them and tell them to "work" - to show some interest in the patients, to read about the patients, and fight for the patients. I don't think I am in a place to say these things and I don't think they would listen to me even if I did say something.

On rounds I would try and ask people to help by going to find labs or X-Rays and they all just stand there and stare at me. I have to select a specific person to do the task and even then it does not get done 80% of the time. Nothing gets done on the wards. It feels like we do nothing for these patients. Part of me feels like the patients might be better off not coming to the hospital. At least they would be at home surrounded by their family.

Early in our rounds a patient died, we suspect from disseminated TB. It just made me think about the giant disease burden we are fighting against here. TB and HIV are claiming the lives of so many Kenyans. These diseases are so awful because they are slow, debiliating disease that slowly take lives.

I am sorry this is a depressing blog post but I want to be honest and keep you up to date on the emotional lability of Mackenzie :) Please keep me in your prayers that I would be able to see God's hand working in Kenya.


  1. Oh Mackenzie..how hard for you. You are a doctor that wants to make a difference and right now you are not able to make the difference you want. You are in a different country with different beliefs and mindset and work ethics and language. What you are doing is watching, learning, caring and absorbing all that is around you. God has a plan for you and He will use what you are learning now in that plan. Stay faithful.. Mom

  2. That sounds terrible! I cant believe an attending said you talked too loud! Does "too loud" mean audible? I mean, they dont speak loud enough for anyone to hear (maybe because they dont want anyone to hear the mistakes they are making!). Hang in there.. you are making a difference. Miss you guys!!!

  3. Mackenize! Sorry about your terrible day...so so frustrating! definitely don't miss that, but I miss you guys and the IU house! Sounds like you had an amazing weekend at Lake Baringo!

    Now that I have the link, I'll be following!
    Hang in there...tomorrow is a new day!

  4. Dear Best Doctor Ever,

    You make a difference. Your empathy and compassion and intelligence and persistence make a difference. You will continue to use those skills and make a difference for the rest of your life. And I love you.

    your biggest fan

    P.S. If you're voice was too loud, imagine what they'd say about me! Or our moms!!

  5. And by "you're," I meant "your."