Thursday, November 13, 2014

~~ Namesake ~~

I recently worked for two weeks covering the Nursery. Each morning’s rounds started in a small room dedicated to the sickest newborns and premies. The room is kept warm and humid, a slap in the senses after my cool morning walk up to the hospital. What’s more striking is the smell which rides upon that hot humid air, combining the sweet (and tangy) aromas of sweat, breast milk, and baby poo. Yum...

Anyway, rounds progress as I peruse each baby’s chart for new weights, feeding progress, and any notes regarding overnight issues. Usually, the babies I see are just “feeder/growers”, but there are the handful who require monitoring on antibiotics, fluids, and/or oxygen. I’m comfortable among the babies, even the complicated ones, though I’ll admit to “breathing easier” when I make it out of that little hotroom to round on the D Ward babies!

The D ward newborns are usually doing just fine, completing a course of antibiotics, or weaning from formula to breast milk (we can’t send babies home on formula – so they’re all required to be 100% breastfed before leaving – which is awesome). Usually with a nurse or two in tow, I’ll make my way around the beds, checking weights and feeding sheets, and doing a brief exam for anything new…which does occur - rashes, thrush, infected umbilical stumps, extra fingers, etc. 

One of my favorite stops was for twin boys, both just feeding/growing, but super cute. Toward the end of my two weeks covering nursery, the twins were getting close to going home, and I asked the mother if she had come up with names yet. “No” – was the answer I got, and I wasn’t surprised – folks here wait a month or two before naming newborns, waiting to see if they’ll survive. The next day while seeing the boys again, their mother covered her smile with a hand and told me she would like to give Twin 1 the name “Ted”, after me! It took me a second to recover my astonishment, but of course replied that I would be honored. I had heard about newborns being named after doctors at the hospital, but to actually have a “Namesake” (as they call it here) was quite a pleasant surprise. 

Here in PNG, children take their father’s first name as their last name, so the baby's full name would be “Ted John” – which I thought was pretty neat since John is my younger brother’s name. The obvious follow up question was, “Well, what is Twin 2’s name?” She hadn’t thought that far yet, so I asked what her own father’s name is, to which she replied “Timothy”. Perfect, I said! Ted and Tim! How good can it get?! She was also sold on the idea, and we all had a big laugh when I explained the meaning of “T&T” to them in Pidgin.

Signing Off, Ted (the former)

Holding the "new" Ted

Baby Ted's medical book

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