Salome and I started our day by meeting at Wilkin’s Hospital for the weekly MDR-TB clinic. The first few cases were interesting but not eligible for our study and I was feeling pretty awkward when a guy presented with treatment failure and had just received his drug susceptibility testing results. He fit our criteria so we asked to speak to him about our study. I actually can’t do a whole lot in the recruitment process since most people feel more comfortable speaking in Shona, but I helped prepare the forms and nebulizer for use. Mostly I tried to look busy and made a list of things to talk to John about on the next Skype call.
Just when we were wrapping up and getting ready to go, a young woman that we had spoken to at one of the clinics yesterday arrived with her brother, wanting to enroll as well. It was great to have two patients in one day, but it meant being at the hospital until 1:30 with paperwork and having to wait an hour between sputum samples.
And then we had to rush to the lab to drop off the samples before they got too warm in our cooler box. And of course the lab is on the other side of town from where the clinic is.
We didn’t get back to the office until after 3:30 and then we had all of the paperwork to organize and e-mail to respond to.
Salome had arranged to screen one of the patient’s household contacts at a clinic near their house the following day so we had to make more copies of our consent forms and questionnaires since we knew at least one of the contacts had signs of TB. We’re trying to save printer ink by using a copy machine but the office charges $0.10 per page and you have to bring your own paper so Salome said she would try somewhere down the street to get a better price. She was gone for over an hour!
It turns out that printing double sided sheets here is really hard: none of the copy machines do it automatically so they make copies of the front, then load those sheets in and copy the back page. Only sometimes they load the paper incorrectly and you get page one on both sides or side two is upside down. And sometimes the pages are just not dark enough to read. We’re going to try a different place next time but this is a great example of how some simple tasks are just so much harder here.
By the time we were ready to leave it was nearly 7 pm and we’d been working for 11 hours. We definitely deserved to go home (especially since everyone else leaves at 4:30). Salome dropped me off at the combi stand and I didn’t have to wait long for the bus to leave but it was pretty dark by the time I got reached my street so I think I’ll take a cab home the next time.
There was no power at the house when I got back so I had a nice dinner of yogurt and granola then read some more of the Hobbit.