My first operation was in Tanzania
Three weeks ago I noticed a soreness under my right arm and a painful lump right under the skin. I immediately felt a little worried, and became more so the next day when the spot began to be red under my arm. I set up an appointment with the school doctor, who just happens to be the parent of one of my flute students. She took a look at my arm later that week and told me that I had a staph infection and would need antibiotics. I got on them the day that I left for my trip to France (see previous blog entry). That whole weekend in France the spot under my arm became quite painful. When the doctor looked at it again the next week, she said that it would need to be cut open- a minor operation that I could be awake for. So, I agreed to meet her the next day and we would do the procedure in the nurse’s office at the school… or so I thought.
I met her at the school, but it was a school holiday that day so the nurse’s office was locked. She had apparently expected this, as she led me behind one of the buildings where there was a picnic table. She rolled out a yoga mat and said, “ok hop up!” … I realized at that point that I was going to have the procedure done on a picnic table under a thatch roof cabana. Haha. Oh, I love being reminded that I’m in Africa. She had all of the sterile supplies, clean medical paper to put under me, and new, unwrapped utensils.
She numbed my arm as I stared up at a gecko climbing upside down on the thatch roof above me. It was actually one of the most pleasant medical experiences I’ve yet had- no waiting time, a doctor I knew, a gecko to distract me, and a very pleasant breeze blowing by on a warm day. At the end of the operation, however, she had to pack the wound.. I won’t go into detail cause it still makes me cringe. Let’s just say that in one fast moment, a shock of intense pain hit me when she did that. I nearly started crying from the pain! It soon subsided, but the shock had caused my heart rate to drop suddenly. She had to lift my legs to get blood back moving faster to my heart. That was over after a moment and I felt like I could stand up and fix my clothes. The only problem was that I hadn’t yet had lunch and immediately after standing up, my blood sugar dropped and I became hypoglycemic! I thumped back down on the table and felt like I was going to be sick. She realized what was going on and ran and got an apple. Apparently I nearly fainted, but she held an apple in front of my face and said, “eat this!” I told her “I will be sick if I eat that.” And she said a little more forcefully “EAT this.” And so I took a big bite of the apple and bonked my head back down on my arms as I tried to chew. But, I managed to do that and within 30 seconds, the nausea was gone and I felt way better.
10 minutes later, I was teaching a piano lesson.
My arm was very sore the next day, but now it has been a little over a week since the experience, and my arm is all healed! YAY!