Monday, September 24, 2012

A Trip to the Bowels of the Earth

Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember taking trips to one of the world's largest open-air markets. I have no proof to support this statement other than I cannot imagine there being a larger market than Divisoria. When you step off of the jeepney (public transportation vehicle), you step onto a never-ending conveyor belt of humanity moving every which direction. The smells of raw, open sewage singe your nose hairs, you constantly have to watch where you step for fear of an open man-hole or banana peel, you clutch your bag tightly to your chest to keep all your possessions yours, and you hold your bladder for as long as you can, all day if possible.
My 2010 Christmas card was taken in Divisoria

This truck was trying to navigate the narrow streets.
The guy with the stick is lifting up rope that vendors
string across the street in order for the truck to
pass under it
But, if you want to find cheap school supplies, just about any type of fabric, upholstery or pleather, China-made kitchen doo-dad, buttons, wedding gowns, wedding favors, Christmas decor, shoes, backpacks, suitcases, towels, blankets, ribbons, netting, fishing wire, autoparts, or just about any other item you can think of, the best place to go is Divisoria. So you brave the stench, the crowds, the sweat, and even the abject poverty and descend into the bowels of the earth and just hope and pray you come out alive.

Cindy perusing some of the options
Today it was curtain fabric. Cindy (the other American RN) and I needed 50-some-odd yards of different material to "treat" our windows. We were armed with our most comfortable shoes, big bags (back-pack worn in front for me), color samples, water bottles, and money and set off. It was driving my vehicle to some random subdivision to park then walk to the start of the Metro Rail Transit system, a 30 minute ride to the other end of the line, and then a 10 minute jeepney ride. We arrived just as shops were opening.

At first we were kind of disappointed...we were not looking for polyester Christmas material, school uniforms, or wedding dress material. Just plain cotton will do. After shooting down numerous rat holes in condemned buildings, we stumbled across several vendors. Slowly our bags filled and our backs began to ache. By this time my shirt was mostly soaked. While looking for our last few yards, we stumbled back into the light of day and onto a busy street. We found a vendor with a huge tarp on the ground and bolts and bolts of random fabric.
Diving into the middle to find what we like
What caught our eye was beautiful Christmas tablecloth material which we both decided to grab for the upcoming holidays...While the vendors were busy cutting up some pretty Christmas plaid fabric I spotted, I suddenly hear Cindy gasp and yell, "Oh-my-goodness-they-have-Thanksgiving-too!" That just might have been the most excited I've ever seen this woman! I might have spotted a tear of overwhelming delight spring from her eye. Then Cindy literally (!!!) dove into the mass of fabric and found some perfect damask for our green-themed alternative delivery room.

After the fabric was cut, packaged, and our bags filmed to the brim, we treked to the corner McDonald's (that didn't use to be there when I was a kid!) for some sustenance before beginning the homeward journey. Wanna see what fabric we got? You'll have to wait until it's in the windows! :)

Exhausted after a successful trip!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Update on the wee one, Google

Whew! We've finished 10 days of antibiotics for the little guy, and at 3 injections a day, no one can be happier than him! He's been turned into a veritable pin cushion.

I cannot tell you how much better Google looks since his birthday. He's gained nearly a pound (birth weight 4.12lbs, today 5.9lbs) and he's smiling, cooing, and eating like a champ. His mom is doing great, too, praise God!

It doesn't always have such a wonderful ending like this, but when it does, we sure do celebrate!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

and he shall be called, "Google."

This is the story of a little boy named, "Google."

Last Wednesday started out normal enough. Drag myself out of bed, blindly prepare my first cup of coffee, start to feel halfway human and get ready for Wednesday morning prenatals. It was normal until about break-time at 10am. We've had a slew of tricky deliveries and preemies and had just prayed for all these circumstances and kiddos during our Tuesday prayer time. One of the midwives mentioned that it happened again this morning...a thick meconium stained baby that had to be resuscitated for a good while. He was a week overdue and looked to be malnourished, barely five pounds. He was stabilized and resting with his mom. The midwife asked if I would assess him. Would I? Hmmm...let me think about that. ;)

Mavis lovingly pokes the cute cheek of Google
I grabbed our infant stethoscope and headed back to our overflow room where four moms and babies were recovering. Daisy and her little boy were on the only bed. I noticed this little guy seemed lethargic and had slow reflexes. His heart and respiratory rates were normal and his lungs were clear but I couldn't tell if he was super sleepy (normal at 3 hours of life) or if it was something ominous. I helped Daisy get situated to feed him so I could assess the process. It was mostly a failure as he was too sleepy. I admonished that when they were discharged to not pass go, do not collect P200, but go straight to the pediatrician for further assessment.

As I finished up prenatals, I got to think and feel more unsettled about this newborn. I went back in and took his temp, which had dropped to the danger zone (cue theme song). I got him bundled up skin to skin with his mama to raise his temp and contacted a pediatrician friend and asked if I could bring him by for assessment. At 1:30, I loaded Daisy, her neighbor who had come to help and be her companion (it's a cultural thing), and the baby into my car and off we went. Dra Glo was concerned enough to give us a prescription for some antibiotic injections and an order for a CBC. We picked up the meds and went back to Shalom. I administered the first dose and gave orders for strict breastfeeding and antibiotic compliance. The midwives were going to bathe the little tyke and send them to the lab, then home.

Daisy, Google, and me...before the injection.
Next morning I showed up at 0700 to give the next round of meds and found out the mom's blood pressure had spiked just before discharge and she'd been sent off to the went home with dad. At 8:45am Dad and baby showed up. Mom was doing ok but baby was supposedly not allowed to stay with mom (!!!!). I pleaded with the dad to try to take the baby to the mom so he could get the important antibodies and immune protection from his mom's breastmilk and he promised to try. Baby boy looked 100% better. Praise God! Strong reflexes and good temp. The dad later texted that baby was with mom in the hospital and the nurses there would continue the injections. yay!

Yesterday, Daisy and her baby came back. Daisy was fine, blood pressure normal, and baby looked great. (Though he's not a fan of the injections...don't blame him!) He was 100% exclusively breastfeeding! yay!

 Saw them again this morning. Praise God he keeps getting stronger and stronger! Oh, and his name? Kenneth, but dad has nicknamed him, "Google." No joke.

10:45 pm update - got a text from Daisy. The neighbor nurse who was supposed to give him his pm injection got extended at work and can't give him his injection. After calling her, we decided to meet at the town square. I mixed the med, assessed Google, and gave him his pm injection in the backseat of my SUV using the dome light and a flashlight. A day in the life of a missionary nurse. :)