NIGHT SHIFT

7.36 pm I am sitting in the mat,my second one squashed between what seems like a billion children whose mother has decided ni watoto so halipi kiti…tsk….buzz buzz-my phone the hospital line is calling me,It is actually the nurse in charge asking for the fourteenth time nimefika wapi.I do not feel like answering her,she is just bugging me,am only six minutes late and two minutes away.And do I have to remind her that unlike her who leaves in the hospital servant quarters I take two matatus to work and a motorbike too sometimes?*sigh*

7.42 pm I open the office and flicker the lights on,before I put my hand bag down,a queue of disgruntled people has formed outside my office all convinced that their case is more important and is very much of an emergency.I issue them with the outpatient record cards and direct them to the casualty room where they instantly become the nurses’ headache as they all wheel their patients in the wheelchairs and stretchers at once in the barely enough room.She has a hard time arranging them in order of seriousness of the ailments.Meanwhile I settle down.Arrange the books,switch on the computer,check on the daily reports and make sure I have everything I need.See at night am an all rounded person,I take care of patients records; files and cards,I am the cashier, the secretary,the messenger,the receptionist and sometimes an M-pesa agent.

8.30 pm buzz buzz…the nurse needs my help.They is a patient that needs to be admitted but the doctor does not have any continuations inpatient sheets. Arggghh…that means that I have to go print and make copies at the secretary’s office.It takes me close to thirty minutes just switching the computer on,getting around the maze of passwords and finally making copies from the monstrous photocopier!

9.41 pm people still coming and going making payments and whatever.I am checking my Facebook and charging my phone.This place is cold.I head down to the maternity where the doctors common room is for tea.I sit there taking my tea while listening to women grunting in pain in the labor ward.Child birth is no joke people.Think shitting a melon.

10.20 pm buzz buzz…the nurse needs me back at my office.New patients who need cards and two who need to be admitted.One of them is an assault case beaten to soft pulp cannot utter a single word.Admitting a patient is a long ass process.The hospital requires loads of information:a patients entire family tree,religion affiliations,home county,district etc You have not seen a hard day until you have asked someone the name of their county and they tell you Muguga or Banana!I finish admitting them and think I will have a minute of silence but that is too much to ask for.

10.40 pm the nurse is swamped by work.A drunk guy was brought in unconscious the relatives claiming that it is unlike him to get that wasted. Alcohol poisoning.We all think.The doctor checks him out and certifies his death.Gasps and loud screams fill the room as the morgue guy comes in with his stretcher ready to take him away.(He is a very creepy guy by the way,I have never seen a guy who gets this excited while he sees a dead person)

11.15 pm the maternity nurses need me to go admit new-born babies to the new-born unit (NBU)because they were born with a few complications here and there like born prematurely and with very low birth weight(less that 1600 grams) and others that are beyond my comprehension.The NBU is the most sensitive place in the entire maternity ward since new borns are very vulnerable and susceptible to infections.You have to take your shoes off before entering,sanitize your hand before touching the babies and put on a gown on top of your clothes.The babies are so fragile,its humbling.

11.45 pm more patients coming in.A re-admission,meaning delving into the millions of files to get an old file.I get sent on an errand to the general ward(the place I hate the most in the hospital)The smell of medication,antiseptic,patients urine and other unpleasant things takes my breath away every time(and not in a good way at all).Before I can settle,I get sent to take a pint of blood from the laboratory to the general ward.Blood sickens me,literally.

12.05 a.m my head feels heavy.The cold is tearing through my layers of sweaters.The caffeine I had taken earlier is wearing off.Before I decided to lay down for a few minutes a bunch of people show up and I have to issue cards and wait for them to see the doctor to charge them for the services they will receive.Several of them are assault cases that need stitches…GREAT!

1.30 a.m I have been warding the sleep off by watching a series while i wait on the doctor to finish stitching up the guys who were brought in.They finally pay and leave.I decided to lay my head down but the loud wails of an ambulance fixates me on my seat.Another patient brought in from a health center who needs further consolations.More cards and files have to be filled.

2.17 a.m a certain calmness engulfs the hospital.We all decided to lay down and wait for the next round of madness.

3.09 a.m A loud knock on my window jolts me awake.New patients,a child with a crazy fever and convulsions.Another admission.takes about thirty minutes.My body is weak,am yawning on replay!

4.10 a.m The calm returns.I fall asleep.I dream am home in my warm bed.I dream my bank account is overflowing,that I never have to…

6.00 a.m My alarm wakes me cuts my dreams short.I have to tally the cards and file and get ready to go home.

7.30 a.m which way,gym or home?

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8 thoughts on “NIGHT SHIFT

  1. Great post.This takes me back to a time I worked in a similar setting many years ago. It seems that the whole world needs medical attention when you are working the night shift. You describe it very well and i remember how sometimes I wanted to tell everyone to just go away. Sleepiness was a killer!

    Stay well.

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