It’s been a month now, which has gone very quickly. We have both been enjoying our respective workplaces and settling in well.
Usually in the mornings I’ll sit with a doctor in their consultation and provide some training and opportunity for case discussion. Then in the afternoon I tend to give support for the day case patients (the more unwell patients who tend to be newly diagnosed with opportunistic infections and can be quite complex). Other time is spent going to meetings, planning projects and audits we hope to do. I catch the transport to the clinics around 730 and we usually get back into the city by 7pm. That’s earlier than I get home most of the week in London so it really isn’t that bad. Ned has been doing a mix of things but in summary I think he could find himself a pretty nice job here if he chose to stay!
Many of the patients are pretty sick and having to rely heavily on clinical signs and your gut, in the absence of tests you’re used to, is a very different experience. The days are filled with multiple pathological x-rays, some very cute babies, endless TB and inevitably a new, surprising and unusual case. Never a dull moment really.
The ‘all over body pain’ of the clinics in the general (ie HIV negative) patients is ‘dizziness’. I’m never quite sure exactly what the patient means but I’m not surprised there’s a lot of ‘dizziness’ in this heat (still 38 degrees, on the tipping point of rainy season). This week there was a ‘diarrhoea day’ which one of the docs attributed to mango season (lots of spicy sliced mango stalls around, lots of flies, etc). Actually though in addition to the diarrhoea day (which were non serious cases) there have been several probable cholera cases due to a recent outbreak.
In other news, Ned took part in what is thought to be the first international rugby match in Myanmar for 80 years. He joined the Yangon Dragons in the week before the match and had an intensive 3 practices, having not played for maybe 9 years?! The match itself took place on a former cricket pitch on Pun Hlaing golf estate. It was great fun, lovely atmosphere with pitch side bar and ‘BBQ’. The boys played really well despite losing 10-23 to the Hanoi Dragons. Next match is in a month.
We are continuing to enjoy the food (obviously) though given that we are on a limited budget we are mostly cooking at home. I love the local market and all the great vegetables which taste delicious. And the fruit of course – mainly we have had papaya, watermelon and pineapple as it’s so cheap compared to home, with the occasional mango and bit of jackfruit (pictured!). We also love walking around and finding nice little areas, though everyone thinks we are crazy to walk miles in this heat.
We are taking a weekend mini break to Dawei, which is my maternal grandparents’ hometown. We wanted to see a beach before the rainy season hits good and proper and considered Ngwe Saung, which is the beach five hours drive from Yangon. But then it turned out to be cheaper to fly to Dawei and stay for an extra night!! So we will spend most of the time in Maungmagan beach and a bit in Dawei itself. We are hoping to find Mum’s cousin – all I have is an address – here’s hoping!
Looking forward to the arrival of our first visitors in just over a week too! 🙂