Day 4 – Halfway Point

It was more of the same at the hospital so there is not a great deal to update on, unfortunately. Prossy was her happy little self although slightly fatigued from the events of the last few days.

I managed to catch up with an actual medical doctor at the hospital today (most people in white coats are not qualified doctors) that I befriended a few days back. I explained the situation and that I would like Prossy to have a full health check before we leave and he said it was no problem once she has healed a little bit. This is amazing as the hospital has a very limited number of qualified MDs (around 10 I have been told) serving an area with over a million people so think it’s great that she is going to have this.

Loving the balloon!

Loving the balloon!

Tomorrow I hope to be in theatre with the surgeons to see how they go about their work. I had dinner with them tonight and have a set of scrubs put by for me ….I am also hoping to go into theatre with Prossy on Monday for her dressing change. It would be great to get a good look at what they have done and, of course, any pictures I get will be posted on this blog.

Day 3 – What Surgery?

After spending an hour on the back of a motorbike trying and failing to find a soft toy for Prossy, I arrived at the hospital empty handed to find her sat on her mattress smiling away happy as Larry. Apart from the obvious large dressings you would never guess that she had just had surgery! The nurses were amazed!

Happy as Larry

Happy as Larry

After playing with her for a little bit the nurses needed my help to change the dressings on her leg and bum. She did not like this at all. First we laid her on a hospital bed and the nurses started removing the old dressings whilst I tried to distract her which immediately became clear was not going to work so I had to resort to holding her arm and head whilst trying calm her down. She was crying so much and screaming “moma” … It was quite heartbreaking to be honest but had to be done and this dressing can stay on until we get her home to the orphanage. I’m so glad they are going to put her under when they change the big one.

Prossy wobbling around

Prossy wobbling around

After that I went and got her a soda and some bread which seemed to fix everything. I don’t really like giving her sugary drinks but I made an exception this time. In Uganda dentists just pull teeth for the most part, especially in the villages so it’s not good for the children to have them. Then I had to take a trip into a crazy market in town to find some new knickers for her, a few tops that will go over her dressing and a potty – she can’t get into the toilet with her arm sticking out 🙂 I also got her a handkerchief which she loves and carries everywhere with her.

After speaking to some of the doctors here, I have found out that there is a Canadian pediatrician at the hospital so tomorrow I will try to find her and see if I am able to get Prossy a health check. Her teacher/first-aider and I have a few concerns about her and, as she has never had a health check before, I would feel a whole lot easier leaving knowing that everything is as it should be.

Prossy's ear

Prossy’s ear

After discussing it with the doctors, I think we will leave early next week sometime as we want to make sure everything is healing correctly. She will have her dressing changed on Monday now by the looks of things so we should know then. Doctors are scarce in Kabale to say the least and the Rafiki team don’t leave until Wednesday so think it’s best to stay there as long as possible. I looked into an alternative way to get home and think we will get the Lake Victoria ferry overnight from Mwanza to Bukoba just south of the Tanzania/Uganda border then it will only be 400km back to Kabale where the orphanage is. These ferries have been known to overload and sink from time to time so I don’t think I will sleep but Prossy will have a bed rather than a hot bumpy bus for 24 hours.

The nurses fitted the teddy with a splint too

The nurses fitted the teddy with a splint too

It’s safe to say that Prossy is a total hit with all the Rafiki staff, everyone loves her to bits and gives her all the attention she craves. I will write more about the Rafiki staff later but they really are incredible.

Us an some of the Rafiki team

Us an some of the Rafiki team

Day 2 – The Big Day

Prossy and her teacher doing some colouring before her surgery

Prossy and her teacher doing some colouring before her surgery

So the big day is here and I think Prossy is still none-the-wiser although was a little peeved that she was not allowed anything to eat or drink until after her operation. Despite the lack of food and water she has had so much energy today ….running around the ward causing chaos and smacking the nurses on the bum when they weren’t looking. It was really funny to watch especially when she did it when they were busy with other patients…

More colouring...

More colouring…

There were a few emergencies today so her surgery got pushed back a bit and didn’t start until 4pm. I was worried about her being really confused when we took her to theatre but once we got down into the waiting area she just fell asleep and went in like that which was probably the best way for it to have happened.

Going into theatre asleep with the anesthetist, Taka Wild.

Going into theatre asleep with the anesthetist, Taka Wild.

The surgery itself lasted for a good three hours and she didn’t get back to the ward until 8pm, but the surgeons felt it was a real success. They ended up removing 90% of the burnt tissue as some of it was so severe it had burnt onto the muscle itself. The good thing about about this was that once they had removed the burns, her neck was fine so didn’t need to be cut. I am very happy about this as I think when she is older, and more conscious of her appearance, there will be less visible scarring when she is wearing clothes. They took all the skin from her bum and leg so I am expecting a grumpy little girl tomorrow morning and think I need to find a different method of getting her home as she won’t be happy sitting for that long this time, I’m guessing. Another bit of unexpected good news is that they released her ear that was burnt to her head and skin graphed it so it is a better shape. Rafiki state that they focus on practicality not cosmetic so I thought it was lovely of them to do that for her.

As you can see from the final pic, she came back to the ward out for the count with a big splint under her arm fashioned out of a bit of wood they found. The surgeons said that she was just asleep an nothing more so she is in for a shock when she wakes up. Think I need to go teddy hunting tomorrow on my way to the hospital.

Post-Op

Post-Op

Now it’s just a case of trying to make her comfortable whilst she begins to heal. She will have to go under anesthetic again on Friday to have her dressing changed as it will be too painful for her but after that the teacher and I will be shown how to do it ourselves. They will also make a plastic splint for her to keep her arm up ….if it looks like this one I will have to get two seats for her on the way home!

Day 1 – Consultation

Prossy and I in May ’13

After a horrendous 5 days of travel involving 2 planes, 5 countries, 6 busses, 1 matatu (tiny African minibus), a few bribes and 2 vomits, …myself, Prossy and her teacher, Rebecca have finally arrived in Mwanza, Tanzania a day late for our appointment. I must say, Prossy was as good as gold throughout the journey and handled it much better than I did. Who would have thought taking a 3 year old Ugandan girl out of Uganda, through Rwanda and into Tanzania without a passport would be so difficult?!! 🙂

This morning we met the Rafika surgical team who are absolutely amazing. They were so pleased that they had caught Prossy at such an early age as they said all of her muscles in her neck and in and around her arm would have developed very badly causing her a lot of pain not to mention immobility.

For those of you with any medical knowledge she is booked in for surgery tomorrow for “Z Plasties to neck, FTSG to axilla and cubita”. For the rest of us, I am pretty sure that means she will have a Z shape snip the skin on the back of the neck and then two skin graphs, one between her upper arm and body and the other between her forearm and upper arm. This will give her full extension of her neck, arm and enable her to raise it right up too which she currently can
not do. The poor thing is completely oblivious to what will happen to her tomorrow and is running riot in the hospital ward like she’s on holiday.

The wards are obviously very different to what I have been used to in the past but not as bad as I had feared either. There are a lot of patients in there with various conditions so am not comfortable taking pictures just yet but hopefully I will have a few before I leave to show the amazing work Rafiki are doing out here.

I will be updating this blog each day and will get as many pictures as I can.

Kwa heri for now

Rocking new clothes from the donations