Monday, 13 April 2009

Kacper is reading about medical evacuation procedures, Part 1 – Post 6

Perhaps somewhat a little late, as he has already been in Chad for over 2 weeks, Kacper opened a file with information on medical evacuation procedures for staff of his organisation, in case they encountered medical problems. He found it slightly worrying to learn that practically speaking there were very little medical facilities that he could count on in Chad. For basic emergencies, Kacper and his colleagues were to be referred to the French military doctors, stationed in Abeche, who aresupposed to keep you alive, until the emergency company arranges a jet to bring you to a place where more reliable medical facilities were available (Cameroon, Nigeria, Senegal, or France – depending on urgency and nature of a problem).

Surely, Kacper hoped that he would not need to use these medical services, but knowing his own luck, Kacper could not rule it out, so perhaps it was better to be prepared! Kacper knew that his fragile health contributed to his ‘bad luck’, but thinking of his past medical evacuations, it is hard to resist an assumption that Kacper was simply unlucky, and highly unusual stories kept on following him all the time.

Kacper underwent five major evacuations during his aid worker’s career. Strangely three happened in Sudan, one took place in Angola and one quite recently in Bangladesh. He was going to write about all of them in the due time – as for different reasons – they were important to be mentioned. Today however, he would start from his ‘bowel-related problems’ and troubles that they caused to him.

As a potentially dangerous adventure, eventually ended-up well, Kacper automatically has a smile on his face, when thinking of his Sudan’s story…

Kacper’s bowels problems started bothering him in Wau in 2001. Kacper remembered very well the morning, when he went to his toilet, and noticed that there was blood in his stool. He definitely got surprised and became worried to notice the red liquid, but then he was also too embarrassed to talk about it to anyone, and therefore decided that it was nothing really, and it would go away all by itself.

Days passed, but the blood didn’t ‘go away’ at all. On the contrary, there was more of it every time Kacper went to toilets. Strangely, Kacper did not feel any other inconveniences at all, and actually felt great. Obviously, something was wrong, but then… nothing hurt!

After a week, he decided that perhaps, he was being silly, and he needed to do something about his secret. He therefore confessed to Marie Clare. When she found out what happened, she got absolutely mad. ‘Kacper, you are surely mad!’ – she shouted. ‘You have it for a week, and you are telling me only now?’ Marie Clare was a medical nurse by her profession, and Kacper did not dare interrupting her, although wanted to add that nothing hurt. She obviously might have a point, and a reason to be upset… Marie Clare decided, she would inform the head office in Khartoum, and added that she would not like to see Kacper in Wau the next day. She said, she would arrange for a plane, so that Kacper was taken to see a doctor as soon as possible. ‘I refuse’ – Kacper tried to object. He argued that he was grown-up, and he was Marie Clare’s boss, and she had no right to decide for him. Marie Clare – being a confident, strong French woman would just not listen. ‘And you think, I care what you think?’ – she asked rhetorically. ‘Sue me, if you want!’ – she added and minutes later she approached a radio room (where radios for long distance communication were kept) and was talking to the medical coordinator of their organisation arranging for Kacper’s evacuation.

Next day, around 10 o’clock Marie Clare, Sophie and Kacper were on their way to the airstrip. There was no choice, Kacper just had to go, and knew it was the best thing he could have done for himself. Both Marie Clare and Sophie put their very dangerously looking faces on, and Kacper knew that they were really not impressed by his ‘immature actions’ – as they described them. When they arrived to the airstrip, the UN plane was already waiting and prepared to take Kacper to Khartoum. Just as Kacper would make his way onto it, Marie Clare, who deep inside was a wonderful and gentle person, kissed Kacper’s cheeks, and whispered to his ears: ‘do not worry, you will be fine’. In his wildest imagination, Kacper did not expect, he would not see Marie Clare for 4 months and that lots of things in his life were about to happen…

Two days later, Kacper talked to a pleasantly looking doctor in Khartoum’s “Doctor’s Clinic”. On his desk, the doctor would have Kacper’s results of the blood and urine tests. ‘We did not see anything worrying in your results’ he stated with a smile. ‘Obviously, you are bleeding though’ he added, ‘and therefore, we need to do more investigations to find out why’. ‘What kind of investigations?’ – asked Kacper, expecting an answer that he was sure he wouldn’t like… ‘We will need to physically check, what is going on’ – answered the doctor, still smiling generously. Kacper understood the answer immediately! They were going to look into Kacper’s bum… and he – Kacper was not going to allow it!

Next day, he was back to the hospital. Kacper was neither impressed, nor happy. He looked around the examination room, and saw lots of scary pipes, some ended with something that resembled flash lights. Kacper felt embarrassed and just wanted everything to finish really quickly. The doctor asked Kacper to undress, and lay down…

‘You should not worry’ – said the doctor, while removing his latex gloves. ‘It is nothing that bad. You just have piles.’ ‘Piles!’ – how come could he – Kacper have piles? He had always thought that piles were for older people, and he just was in his 20’ies – surely not old enough for piles! The doctor continued explaining that the haemorrhoids were quite big, and they were bleeding. He also assured that it was easy to get rid of them, and all what needed to be done was a small surgery. Kacper’s tension eased somehow. Okey, perhaps it was unexpected to have piles, but then he knew that they were nothing major to worry about… ‘But hang on a second’ – reflected Kacper, ‘has the doctor just said that THE SURGERY was needed?’ By the time, Kacper comprehended it fully; the doctor already checked his calendar and decided that they were going to perform the operation in 2 days!

Right after Kacper left the doctor’s room, he repeated to his anxious French boss all what he had been told. Pierre thought for a second and decided that both would visit their befriended Canadian doctor from a medical international NGO that was neighbouring their house in Khartoum. In the same time, they wrote a report, which Pierre later sent to their headquarters in New York. As, the surgery in Sudan was now officially an option, both the headquarters and the insurance company needed to be consulted and needed to agree for it to go ahead.

Kacper’s story amused the Canadian doctor a great deal. ‘I did not do the examination’ – he said still grinning, but ‘piles are really easy to be spotted’ and therefore he did not think, there was a major risk of wrong diagnosis. He seemed to think, the surgery was a bit premature, but then again, ‘as I did not perform the investigation, it is difficult to make a proper judgement’ – he stated. He therefore advised to go for the surgery, as suggested, and get rid of the problem as soon as possible. He did not see any problem to have the operation done at the ‘Doctor’s Clinic’ in Khartoum either. ‘Removing the piles is as simple as clipping your nails’ – he remarked. ‘Nothing to worry about!’

Later, Pierre called Kacper to tell him that the email from New York said that both the insurance company and the office in New York felt comfortable with Kacper’s surgery in Sudan. Kacper had no choice but agree…

End of part one – to be continued…

PS. It is so hot! Kacper is thinking longingly about the Water Festival that they celebrate in Poland today!

1 comment:

  1. Loved it and looking forward to Part 2