Day - 2

We rounded on three patients this morning, no babies except the one being discharged with its mother who was also being discharged from the fourth occupied bed.

We rounded on three patients this morning, no babies except the one being discharged with its mother who was also being discharged from the fourth occupied bed.

Today was a big day for the operating room team: preparing and unpacking the first theatre in Solidarite, as well as completing packing and moving sterilization. The theatre was ready, except they were still installing the air conditioning into the recovery room, and there is still no faucet on the scrub sink. We've not yet given them back their machines (anaesthetic machine, suction, cautery, lights) for fear of injury by dust and dirt, but tomorrow morning looks promising.

The sterilization is interesting because of the monstruous autoclave: it is heavy – though less heavy than the operating table – and needs a propane hookup. Also there is a window-mounted exhaust fan as a bonus. But actually, the sterilization moved without a hitch. In a way, this is not surprising: we've moved it three times in the last nine months within Jude Anne, so the logistics guys are well-versed in this particular process.

Another several truckloads of furniture and boxes came over today. We brought a bunch of brancardiers (stretcher-bearers) and cleaners from the hospital, too. Jude Anne is so quiet right now that they are much more needed at Solidarite, for some industrial-strength lifting and cleaning, respectively.

In fact, it's amazing how some things completely change one's perspective. Much of the metal furniture is being repainted white, to cover rust and stains and make for easier cleaning. The hospital got a thorough cleaning, removing the piles of sawdust and broken tile and dirt and grime, and tidying of various cabinetry under construction and pieces of plywood lying around. Now it looks plausibly like a hospital about to open.

However, today should not actually be called day -2, because we concluded that we cannot open in two days. There is too much left to be done. I pointed out today that even if all the construction was finished now, that only gives the medical team one day to prepare to open the hospital. We cannot realistically do that. So we have delayed day 0 to February 9th.

I'm not sure what to call the days from now until then.

In the meantime, we still aim to open officially on February 14th. The second week of our move will have to be compressed. Perhaps it's not a bad thing: it reduces the length of time that we are running two hospitals simultaneously.

Miscellaneous observations:

  • Our technical logistician, who is elbow-deep in decommissioning and moving Jude Anne, starts his day with a clean MSF t-shirt. I see him in the morning at the breakfast table at 6am. In the course of the day, he gets dirtier and dirtier by visible increments, worse at noon than at 10am, worse again at 3pm, and really filthy by 5:30pm. It is impressive.
  • My job, the everything-but-nothing job, is apparently quite energy-consuming. Today, after rounding, I collected some miscellaneous furniture that needed to go ahead to Solidarité so we can duplicate some services. So I told the staff who were using the desks involved, then cleared them off, labeled, and carried them to the courtyard so they wouldn't be forgotten when loading the moving truck. Then, I went to Solidarité to see how the OR team were doing with their disinfection and unpacking, and settled some language and communication problems they were having. Got logistics to get us the chlorine tanks they needed, and in doing so, ended up unloading a Land Cruiser. Spent some time in the office printing papers and asking when I would receive various other orders I've made for the new hospital. Etc. But it's apparently energy-consuming because I'm always hungry at 9:30 and starving by 10:30am, despite my regular oatmeal and ground flax breakfast.
  • High-level donor visit tomorrow, which requires me to look nice. This is hard. I will borrow clothes from a team member. Mental note: next mission, bring at least one better shirt.
  • Tonight, required to stay in for security reasons... not that we had plans to go anywhere. If the security measures remain in place tomorrow, I'm not sure if that makes us more or less likely to regain some strength.