Back to work…

We felt glad to get back to Kalene after our trip away.  It felt a bit like ‘coming home’ when we touched down on the airstrip!  The hospital has been pretty busy while we we’ve been away and Dr John had saved up six patients with massive thyroid lumps that needed removing as a special ‘welcome back’ (four down, two to go!).

My friend and O&G colleague, Anna, travelled back to Kalene with us and has been living and working with us for two weeks getting a taste of life at Kalene.  She arrived with bags of energy and enthusiasm which has been a real boost for us!  She’s been busy training the midwives to scan, writing protocols and running maternity emergency training scenarios.

The cases of clothes and toys collected for Hillwood Children’s Home arrived a few days ago.  We unpacked them at our house before taking them to Hillwood and were so overwhelmed by your generosity!  The kids helped us carry the cases in and also helped with the unpacking!  Mel and Anita, who run the children’s home, were just so delighted with all the clothes, toys and other very useful things which had so generously been packed up in the UK!

We’ve had another week of both tears and rejoicing on the Maternity Ward.  The tears were for a lady called Reeness who sadly died this morning.  I first came across her when she was 28 weeks pregnant and attended Maternity with severe heart failure secondary to a heart valve problem.  We managed to get her symptoms under control and performed a Caesarean under general anaesthetic yesterday to avoid the extra strain on the heart that a normal delivery causes.  Reeness seemed to be doing well at first but got very sick very quickly this morning, probably due to all the redistribution of fluid in the body that happens soon after delivery.  It’s always such a tragedy when a baby loses it’s mother and we all feel very sad, especially when we look at this beautiful little girl.  We know that we gave her the best care we could and the outcome may still have been the same even if she’d had her baby in UK, but it’s still very hard to accept.  In this situation the family usually go to bury the mother and then return to pick up the baby in a few days so we spent this evening looking after her.  One of the children thought she should be called ‘Sparkle’ so that’s her name until her family return and give her a proper name.

In contrast there was much rejoicing in Maternity on Tuesday when Marjorie (below) delivered her first live baby.  This was her fifth pregnancy: she’s had two stillbirths followed by a late miscarriage of twins and then another miscarriage.  As if she needed any more stress her placenta was completely covering the cervix (placenta praevia) and she’d had bleeding on and off throughout her pregnancy.  She had a Caesarean on Tuesday and is delighted with her little boy!

We hear that the UK is going Jubilee-Crazy!  You know I can’t resist an excuse for a         party so we’ve been planning our own Zambian Jubilee celebration including ‘The Commonwealth Games’ and a royal teaparty!  We also think we should be entitled to a  four-day weekend – we’ll keep you posted!!

Lots of love, Tess & Phil xx

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4 Responses to Back to work…

  1. Anna Caley says:

    Hi guys, we are ‘camping’ this weekend about 30mins away from home, so as its now raining we’ve come home for showers and a change of clothes – Mike only took sandals and a jumper, i think the jubillee went to his head, surely he knows that bankholiday+camping = rain!!
    Last night we went to a cycle powered disco, we all had to take turns cycling to keep the music going, although this meant til 3am, and therefore not much sleep!
    Say Hi to Anna! What common wealth games are you doing, egg and teaspoon? Sack jumping?
    Hope you have a great weekend x

  2. Elva B says:

    so you folks still at Kalene?? Would be great if we could meet up again? Elva B. Kabompo

    • Tess bonnett says:

      Just leaving! Thanks for reading the blog! Hope life is going well in Kabompo? We won’t forget how kind you and Don were taking us under your wing in our first few days in Lusaka! God bless, Tess

  3. Tom Pettinger says:

    Hi Phil and Tessa,
    Your blog is fascinating, thanks for sharing your year with everyone!
    My wife and I met some friends of yours when they visited a mutual friend in Leeds and they pointed us to your blog. I’m an ST1 in O&G, Katherine is due to start paeds training in August. We are also very keen to spend some time abroad (possibly in India), and would love to hear any tips you have on when and how to go, taking time out from training… anything, really!

    I realise you guys must be due to come back soon – would you consider adding a page to this blog with info for people interested in doing something similar? Or perhaps we could host you for a dinner in Leeds in return for a short talk on the subject…?!
    Kind regards

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