Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost in translation

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a medical team that came from the US/Canada/Chile. I've lived in Salone for about a year now so compared with the team that was visiting, I knew the language a little better. I might have gotten a little cocky. Oops. Fortunately, God loves to bring me down a little notch when this happens......and He did a great job today!

I was in the OB ward giving one of the other nurses her lunch break, so I was by myself. As commonly occurs, a pregnant woman walked in. I sprang to action.

Me: "Hi! Is your belly hurting?" (Said in Krio)
Her: Head nod.
Me: Ok, when did the pains start?
Her: Three times
Me: Huh? Did they start today?
Her: In the night
Me: Ok, well let's go get you checked.
(Inside I'm thinking Woo Hoo!! Baby time!!)

I took her back to the labor ward to check her. First I got the little doppler out to check the fetal heart tones. 174. Good!! Next, I decided to do a vaginal exam to see if she was dilated. To be honest, I haven't done a ton of vaginal exams but after my last little orientation up here, I was feeling a lot more confident. However with this woman, I couldn't seem to really get my bearings. I guessed....maybe 4 cm dilated? (I really had no good idea). Next I went to palpate the abdomen to see where the baby was (head down, etc). Any good nurse can tell you I absolutely should have done this as the FIRST step!! As I went to feel the baby, it felt really small and really movable. Huh, that's weird. I went to measure her and see how big the baby was and she measured at about 28 weeks. Now that's REALLY weird. I hope she's not in labor! I think I need some clarification. I helped her up from the table and we moved back to little office area to chat.

Me: So....when exactly did these pains start?
Her: Well, I was riding a motorcycle 3 days ago and ever since then I've had some pain in my lower abdomen.

Eh? I looked at her card once more. Wait a minute, this is today's date. Wait a minute, there are medicines that were already ordered for today. Wait a minute, this lady was already seen by someone today and they prescribed medicines for her.

Me: So you bought these medicines today?
Her: Yes. (And she showed me her receipt).

All of the sudden it clicked. This woman had been seen by someone earlier in the day and had been prescribed some medicines. She returned to the OB ward with her medicines and receipt to see if she needed to do anything before she returned home. I proceeded to confuse her as a woman in labor and re-do her examination, this time throwing in a vaginal exam for free. Oh. My. Gosh.

I got too excited that there was a woman in labor and jumped the gun. I can list about 50 things that I did wrong in that scenario.....oh so so many things. Fortunately the woman was a good sport about it....but man did I feel like an idiot. Thanks Lord, for the humble pie!! Now back to my Krio lessons.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Emily! I'm sorry for your embarrassment, but I can't tell you how often I laugh out loud when I read your posts!! Thanks for keeping it real! :)
    It's good to know that God uses us even when we mess things up!