Wiki ya pili

The first childbirth I ever witnessed was one with complications. The contractions were way to long giving the baby almost no time to breath in between. It was the third child and supposed to be quicker and easier but the umbilical cord had wrapped around the neck of the child so that it was hindered on it’s way out. The doctor joined us and immediately decided that a suction cup was the only way to go. Until that was ready it felt like it took an entire eternity. The worst part was that when we he finally managed to retrieve the baby it was completly blue. I have no exact time but I’d say they gave artificial respiration to it for at least 10 minutes and kept on pinching it to stimulate it. Meanwhile we got the placenta out to be able to stich the uturus. The baby is a boy, he is alive and breathing and currently on the neonatal care unit together with his mother for observation.

I was very impressed by the responsible doctor that day. Already in the morning he took the time to explain every single case on the ward to us using metaphors and even once miming an anatomical structur using one of the other intern doctors (equal to PJ’ler in german) to demonstrate how the urethras and arteries cross. When a cesarean section almost went wrong he ran into the theater (OP) without a surgical coat to protect the scrubs he was wearing from the blood, put on gloves and solved the problem, giving clear but not harsh instructions. The entire time he was strict but not mean, he didn’t shout, he didn’t hold anyone responsible, he just acted when necessary and once everything was back under control he was already joking again. Very impressive.

As for every culture I have had the luck to be able to experience there are a few things that are hard to understand for an outsider. In the hospital the most prominent for us are definitely the ‘pole pole’ – mindset which means ‘no hurry’. Somehow they manage with it in case of crisis. I have no idea how and sometimes they will forget something and when we ask them they will reply as chilled as ever that oh yes, that would be good at this time.

The second one is that they must have taken the saying ‘Nur die harten kommen in den Garten’ (only the strong ones get into the garden) directly to heart. The living conditions are rough and the people only come to the doctor when something is really really wrong after they have consulted with their family, their extended family, their neighbours, the village healer and searched for people who had the same symptoms before around them. After that they might consult a doctor. In the hospital they are expected to be strong. There is no other option. The staff and relatives simply don’t understand them otherwise and therefore the patient will soon feel very isolated. The children are to some extent excluded from that idea but the hand that treats them is from our eyes still a very rough one.

There is no judgment in my words. This is how it feels for the other german interns and me (there are five of us now) from the tiny insight we got. No culture can be declared better or worse in that sense. It is just important to reflect for each and everyone and not just follow what everyone around us does, what is declared ‘normal’. There are a million versions of ‘normal’ in the world that hugely contradict each other. Go see them, experience them and try to understand them even though it might not be what you believe in. As global as the community on this earth is by this day it is crucial that all of us try to understand each other. We don’t have to agree to tolerate and we don’t have to tolerate being treated a way we don’t agree to if we vocalize it with respect and the benefit of the doubt.

Thank you 🙂

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