When I left you, we were in the middle of Migori Town, surrounded by protestors, with the patient in the back, on our way to the Catholic hospital of her family’s choice. We made it to the hospital just fine and again, a gurney was brought after we convinced the registrar she needed to be admitted. She was unloaded from the ambulance onto the hospital’s gurney, and taken to the Observation Unit. After 20 minutes or so of waiting out on the porch (I got to hold the newborn baby girl who slept the whole time!), a nurse came out and said we had to go talk to the Clinical Officer. This is an even more highly trained clinician than the nurses, who provide almost all care here, and was clearly the Clinician-In-Charge of the entire facility that day. She told us, the patient’s mother and I, that while they agreed that the patient needed surgery, the Medical Officer on duty that day was stuck an hour away in Kisii and could not get through to the hospital due to—you guessed it–the protests!
The driver had a quick discussion with the mother and patient, and after a phone call to the first hospital to make sure they could do the surgery, we did the whole thing in reverse. The patient was bundled onto the gurney and then into our ambulance, we went back to town and through the young men protesting, (after only one failed detour down a narrow dirt street trying to find a “back” way to the other hospital), and made it finally to the original hospital we started with. After getting the patient settled into a bed in the maternity ward, the driver found the medical officer who was prepared to do the surgery. He assured us he was hoping to get started within the hour, and we left the patient’s mother talking to the administration about how she was going to pay for a unit of blood, should it be necessary. (The patient’s father was already on the road, coming to Migori Town.)
By now it was after 2 pm. The driver and I went back downtown to see if the post office was by any chance open—I knew there was a package there waiting for me to pay customs fees—and it was almost as if nothing had happened. Businesses along the main route had opened their shutters, the sidewalk vendors were again laying their wares out and removing the tarps they had placed over them, and cars again lined the streets and moved through the traffic of buses and motorbikes.
We got the package, went shopping and ran other errands, and picked up the our passenger who was also ready to return to Matoso. Along the bumpy road back, we ate bananas the driver had bought, and bread I got at the supermarket, and drank Fanta Passions in silence.
I was not scared for our safety (other than concerns that the patient would need a real medic and care on the way), but I was really, really glad to get home!