Wednesday, August 29, 2007


This was a pretty busy day at the hospital, probably because we admitted a lot of patients yesterday. I had a lot of LP’s to do today. One surprising thing involved this one young patient – 30ish male, who was pretty sick and we didn’t know why. He was confused, and as a side issue, his family mentioned that he hadn’t peed in like a week! So we measured his creatinine and he had like a creatinine of 18. Meaning he had renal failure, and it probably was a chronic problem that acutely got worse. To make a long story short, we did a few tests (you can’t get a kidney biopsy here) and eventually came to the conclusion that he had end stage kidney disease. And this is something else that is vastly different from the united states. At home, you get free dialysis for life. Here, there is only peritoneal dialysis (through your abdominal cavity), and many of the patients, if they’re on it for more than a couple of weeks, eventually get infections and die. So dialysis here is really for people with acute kidney failure who just need support for a week or two, and will probably recover. This guy’s kidneys were shot (probably due to HIV), and he would never recover. So again, we were just waiting for him to die.

It’s weird with some of these young guys – in the states we would be doing everything possible to try and save them. Sometimes I think that’s bad though. We push the limits of life so much at home, and often it just leads to more suffering for the patient and their family. It’s not a pretty site. And often they still die anyways. We counseled the family and he died two days later.

We also went to Chutney for dinner – it’s this really good Indian restaurant in Gaborone. Interestingly, there is a pretty large community of Indians here. Not so many Chinese. But anyways, we’d all had a tough day/week so far, so we were all glad to go out to dinner. Kristy and I decided to drink a bunch of beers. :) It actually took quite a while for the food to get to us, so we had maybe 3 beers before the food got to us, and we were pretty tipsy. It was pretty fun. :)

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