Watoto’s (children) and AMAZING safari!!

The last few days have been so full of new things I don’t even know where to start because even yesterday seems like so long ago! Thursday at the hospital I gave the nurses a quick overview of ALL treatment. Their protocols or “schema’s” are not very clear to them so they have a hard time answering parents when they ask what is going to happen yet. I realized fairly quickly when talking about this that they really weren’t sure what made up an FBC (full blood picture instead of CBC), why we worry so much about neutropenia, what the number values of hgb or plts mean to us, the timing of when blood counts are low. So my plan for the next day was to review all that. I also did spend some time discussing why their role is so important because I really don’t feel like they feel validated. We talked about how they are the people that are with the patient’s and the parents the most throughout the day and know them best and also that they are the one’s that carry out all the doctor’s orders and wouldn’t get done without them. I think this made them feel good but I’m not sure (I sometimes am not sure how much they understand me)- even one of the night nurses stayed to listen which I thought was awesome. I spent the morning with the nurse that rounded, a different one though. She was very interested in learning how to do more assessments so after the doc’s examined a patient that had a significant finding we would examine him/her after. Me and Shelton had agreed the night before that after rounds we would briefly talk about the sickest kiddos and me and her would go back and check on them later which I could tell she really enjoyed. We caught a few PRBC mistakes which I think made her feel a bit more confident that I just went and talked to Sue and the other doc’s because it seems like they don’t always feel comfortable confronting doc’s. It was a good and productive day and me and my “raffiki”(friend- I love that that’s right out of the Lion King) Henry played with his paper airplanes and threw them up into the fan a lot which he loved but we’ll have to make new ones soon.

Thursday afternoon I played futbol with the boys. Dick picked me to be on his team against Shelton and two other boys (they also played the other day with him). I told Dick I wasn’t very good so he might want to make it 3 on our team but he kept saying “no no, you and me.” And I for sure was not very good but I did manage to make one goal on Shelton 🙂 There was an older, taller player that eventually joined me and Dick that was really good. The two of them were nice enough to keep including and passing to me and we actually did win!!

On Friday I spent some time in the chemo room with the chemo nurse…it’s a bit surreal in there..and very hot. For the kids in maintenance they bring in a water bottle (like a regular 16 oz one) and they get their 5 days of IV dex mixed in there that they then take by mouth. Their BSA is calculated purely based on their weight and a chart. I was told that the doses are rarely double checked by the nurse but they are supposed to so we went through them all at least while I was there. I played planes with Henry and he brought some of his friends Baraka and Ida…so cute!!! That night we went out for dinner with Dee and one of her friends and I had literally the BEST calamari ever!!

And then early yesterday morning me and Shelton left for safari!!! I feel like words can’t really describe it but I’m going to try my best. It was literally the most AMAZING thing I’ve done in my life so far! It was about a 5 hour drive out there which I thought was going to take forever but we had an awesome guide, Sanjay who told us so much about the park we were going to and Tanzania itself. He was so much fun! We stopped at a place to get coffee which was also….AMAZING coffee. About 30 minutes out from the park I saw a burst of steam coming from the hood. I couldn’t tell if Sanjay looked nervous or not when he got out and looked under the hood. I know it wasn’t a situation to be laughing at but I couldn’t help it…who does that happen to? I don’t think Shelton was worried either that I could tell. A truck with two guys stopped when Sanjay flagged- some seem to think it was just because they saw me but I don’t believe that though they did ask for pictures with me afterwards. Shelton tried to get in one of them and the guy just smiled this big grin and waved him to the side. I actually forget exactly what the problem was, the radiator overheated maybe?? Either way, it got fixed and we were back on the road within 30 minutes or so. Even before we entered the park I saw a “deer looking thing” that I learned was an impala (really working on my animals here), tons of baboons, and some elephants!! When we got to the park it was going to be time for lunch. There were tons of monkey’s just walking around; a blue monkey jumped into our jeep and stole the pear we had bought on the way out! We had chicken and beef curry for lunch which again was AMAZING! And something about having a beer while watching monkeys and very large elephant coming your way also makes that AMAZING! So yes this elephant just kept coming closer to us right up to the restaurant until it seemed like the staff was getting alarmed. It wasn’t hard to wave him off but how COOL is that?? We started the drive and saw so many elephants (several baby elephants that were adorable!- literally they look just like Dumbo and trip over their ears when they walk) and impalas right away. We saw a lot of giraffe which I have decided have become my new favorite. They would crack me up every time because they stand so tall and still as statues and just stare at you with this inquisitive facial expression; like seriously wondering what we are doing there. It’s just hilarious (at least to me) but I can’t explain it. The zebras are so pretty and have their quirks about them too; they typically stand facing in opposite directions with their butts next to each other. Sanjay said the idea is that they are both guarding a different side for predators but it looks like they are in an argument and just don’t want to look at each other. We did actually get to see one young male lion!!! I got a pretty good video that I’ll try to post another day but I was so excited to get to see one up close! He had absolutely no interest in us; he just looked up from his nap, looked at us, and went right back to sleep. The hippo pool was awesome too. I had never known how shy they were and they just poke their heads in and out of the water. I got some great pictures of Shelton’s reaction to them as apparently those are his favorite. We got a lesson on elephant poop from Sanjay- they only digest 60% of their food and poop out several pounds 8 times a day! EEEK! According to him if you are stuck out in a safari and there is no water you should eat elephant poop because it’s full of water and undigested grass : /  It was such an AMAZING experience though and we got to do it all again this morning though it was different because it had rained a LOT last night and…I finally got my thunderstorm last night which was also AMAZING! It went from clear sky to heat lightning which I hadn’t seen since Texas, then to full on downpour and thunder. So happy 🙂

This morning we were hoping to see two female lions with two cubs but no luck, it was overall though such an awesome experience. Definitely something I would love to do again. We will post pictures another day but they don’t even do it justice; neither do words. I should say though, Melinda, we are no competition to your photography skills. I accidentally put Sue’s camera on video at one point and didn’t notice for quite a while : / I haven’t looked through them yet but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of videos that don’t make sense.

Well it’s back to work tomorrow with the watoto’s so I’m off to bed. Good night!

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