At midnight, there was a call for a doctor as a woman was in labour.

We had an ace team. On board there was a midwife, a retired anaesthetist, a steward who is an intensive care nurse and myself. At 00:48, a health baby boy was born!


I'm drinking huge quantities of water every day (and sweating most of it out) so there's no way soft drinks will become the sole source of fluids but it's going to be a great treat. Some bread, some peanut butter and some jelly to work with me when I'm on call tomorrow and will have no worries just like home.

I've been meaning to mention the food here. Rice (htamin) is the staple at almost every meal and lots of it. A lot of their foods can be found fried. There aren't a lot of fresh vegetables around here but there's an abundance of samosas. 

Rather than try to cook for myself during the week I've signed on to a meal program with MSF where we pay 3,000 kyat per meal and they are delivered to wherever we're working from Monday through Friday. (1000 kyat (MMK) is about $0.864 (USD)). On the weekends there are local restaurants and now there's peanut butter AND jelly. Breakfast is usually fresh fruit (papaya, pineapple, oranges, mangoes), bread with butter and preserves, hardboiled eggs, and juice. (I haven't been going hungry. It's just too hot to go running in the evening and in the morning the sun isn't up early enough to go running before leaving for the hospital.

Burmese is the main language and is pretty interesting to listen to. It is a Sino-Tibetan language influenced Chinese characters, Pyu Script, Tibetan alphabet, and Tangut script. The language in its own right with its own grammatical rules. Like many countries, I have learned the different dialects at the focused village areas we have travelled to with our mobile clinics:  Tanintharyi Region - Merguese/Myeik and Arakanese in Rakhine State. 

  Some of the phrases I've learned:

Min-ga-la-ba (Hello)

k-amya ne-kaun-la? (How are you? "how's the body?")

k-amya ne-meh beh-lo k-aw-leh? (What's your name?)

Keh-ba/a ku a nyi (Help)

 twe-ya-da wun-tha-ba-deh (Pleased to meet you.)

taung ban ba de (I'm sorry. "I beg [your pardon])

kyun note ne ma kaung bu (I'm sick.)

      Phrases I used a lot of 

pyay pyay pyaw ba (Please Speak more slowly)

thin ingalait/ bamar sagar pyaw ba tha lar? (Do you speak English)

d har ka be laut ba le (How much is this)

ce-zu tin-ba-deh (Thank you)

ain-ta beh ma leh (Where's the toilet)

And, most important in my line of work:  twann (Push!)

luukalayy (Boy)/ meinkalayy (Girl)

Some of those phrases are easy enough to hear. There are lots that don't seem to resemble anything I've ever heard in English. The nurses at the hospital seem to take an enormous amount of pleasure instructing me how to say a phrase and then laughing their asses off when I repeat it in what sounds like, to me at least, a perfect replication. At least they seem to be warming up to me a little. The first few days I could sense them inspecting me, figuring out if I was worth the effort. I think it must be really hard for them to have doctors come and go, each with their own preferences on how to practice but expecting the nurses to be at their beck and call. I'm taking a more humble approach (called "sucking up") figuring you catch more flies with honey. It sounds simple enough but there's a fine line you have to walk between being an authentic-appearing suck-up versus a transparent one.

That's the end of today's lesson.

Comment