A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hospitalization in South Africa

Over the last few weeks I have undergone several doctor appointments and medical procedures such as a CT scan, ultrasound, colonoscopy and gastroscopy. After all these tests and procedures it was determined that I needed to have a laparoscopy where they inflate the abdomen with air and look at the organs that way. While they were doing this they were also going to remove a growth they saw on a scan that was somewhere near my right fallopian tube. It turns out I have a fibroid on the supporting structures, round ligament, of the uterus. As it does no harm they left it in tact so as to not weaken my uterus wall.

Looking at my other organs (digestive and reproductive) the doctor was pleased to report they are beautiful and all in fine working order. On one hand this is a relief - who really wants to find anything wrong with their organs? - yet on the other hand it was a little discouraging because the root of my pain is still not known. I am now being treated for a spastic colon (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and we'll see if that brings any relief.

Most of what I see here is what I would see in America: modern technology, paved roads, traffic lights, fast food restaurants, shopping malls, and a mixture of races, slightly more white than black. The hospital setting is not that much different as far as skin tone. It also showed me many white faces. In Uganda you know if it's a white face they probably don't know too much of the local language. You can assume they speak some semblance of English. Here in South Africa, they assume you speak Afrikaans. Every doctor, nurse and medical personnel would speak to me first in Afrikaans. As I was slightly loopy from being sedated or under pain killers for the majority of my stay in the hospital, I would usually appear to understand when they first spoke to me and even attempt to respond with body language. Eventually, one of us would figure out I don't understand Afrikaans and switch into English.

At times it's strange to think I am receiving medical care in Africa. It's so developed and I feel like I'm in America. The hospital staff is kind and sympathetic and there is a mixture of white and black faces. There is an order to the way everything is done. It's only when they try to speak to me in that harsh sounding language (keep in mind I'm an English speaker so take "harsh" lightly), serve me morning and evening tea, and give me maize porridge for breakfast that I remember I am not in North America, I'm in Africa. What a great place to be:)

p.s. Thanks for the beautiful flowers Family!


  1. I'm glad you liked the flowers. Did mom tell you about the adventure in getting them. She almost had to fly to S. Africa just to get them to you.

  2. Dearest Amanda,
    We are all thinking about you. We have been discussing your birthday for months now, and its finally arrived and we are all thinking of you. We will take such good care of you and celebrate your bday above and beyond when you come home. I miss you love, and cannot wait to see you!
    Hope you had a great bday! Seems like the US won just for you!
    love you and thinking of you as always

  3. Chica bonita - Happy 26th Birthday. Wish I could be there to celebrate with you. Love you!

  4. Love you girl!!! I am wishing you a happy birthday here but hopefully you will get to Uganda soon to claim your package! Also, just got home from NJ so I will call you soon!