So right...big up to the Trauma Sisters.
Those of you not familiar with primary health care in this country, probably have no clue what I mean when I say "trauma unit".
That image you have in your head right now of "ER" doctor Noah Wylie (or Noah Willie as I like to call him) charging through a state-of-the art trauma unit with excesses of doctors and facilities...um...well that's the wrong image.
Our "trauma unit" is a 5X15m rectangular room with another tiny "room" / store cupboard attached to it.
*It has one telephone. The telephone is only used to call our referring hospitals to tell them that we are sending patients to them who need further care.
*A small L-shaped desk which the nurses and doctors have to share. The nurses do the vitals and the two doctors in the unit can see patients. The patients are having their vitals done and histories taken right next to each other at this one desk. Privacy is not an option. If you have genital warts, the guy next to you is going to know about it.
*Three yes, three examination beds. There is no linen on these beds, let alone pillows. Just a bare cold plastic mattress.
Often, the remnants of the previous patient's faeces/urine/blood/sputum/vomit is still left on the bed.
Oh don't worry, it does get cleaned, wiped down with some disinfectant fluid and then it's good to go for the next patient's examination.
Sometimes, on a good day, we have plastic linen savers to put on the mattresses. But even then, they don't last and usually run out by lunchtime.
*Grotty bloodstained curtains that do not close all the way around the bed. My apologies if you need a rectal examination. We try to do our best by clamping sheets in the curtain deficient places...if we have sheets that is.
*Minimal stock of the most basic equipment. However most of the instruments are from blood-letting times. Sometimes they come with leeches attached.
*A cupboard of the most basic emergency medicines.However, the clinic pharmacy is not open after hours so there is no way to restock if we run out. Thus, when I arrived for my call this evening I discovered that we did not have panado, panado syrup for the babies with high temperature, or amoxyl. NO PANADO!?!? That's like trying to cook with no heat.
It's as basic as you can get and not a box of gloves more.
The patients know this, so they have taken things into their own hands. No panado? "Screw you health system, we'll find our own remedies", they say. "We don't need panado! Who needs panado when you have the amazing cure-all, VINEGAR!"
Here is an actual conversation between me and a woman who had just brought in her friend after she had suffered a stroke.
ME: What happened,how can I help you
Woman: My friend, she is having a stroke. So I am throwing vinegar on her face.
ME: Um...what?! What do you mean you threw vinegar in her face?
Woman: Yhu Yhu Doctor! You don't know? * staring at me incredulously* Don't you know vinegar? You MUST use the vinegar.
ME: What MUST I use it for?
Woman: *excessive cicking and tut-tutting* Doctor, you must use it F O R . E V E R Y T H I N G!
She said it like I wrote it, loudly and slowly, like when one is talking to one's deaf demented grandmother.
I often have to listen to the stories of amazing Dr Vinegar.
These are some of the things my patients swear to me vinegar cures.
3.high blood pressure
I'm sure that for the mild skin irritation and sore throats , vinegar can be of some benefit. But as for the listed conditions above, I can tell you with some certainty and a great deal of sadness, these are not going to be cured by Dr Vinegar.
Poor patients, clutching at vinegar soaked straws to keep from drowning in our overflowing health system.
(p.s I dislike Noah Wylie and call him Noah Willie after I read an interview with him in the Sunday Times Magazine. The actor was shooting scenes for ER in SA, and told the Sunday Times that after ACTING as a doctor for so many years on ER, he feels that he could study medicine and be a doctor in real life. You are a buffoon Noah, really, you are an ignorant fool.)