And Then I Called the PCMO…

April 6, 2011 at 6:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So as a Peace Corps volunteer, I have two very terrific people on my side: the PCMOs, or Peace Corps Medical Officers. If you are even a little bit sick, they help you out, make sure you have access to medical care, and answer stupid questions while reassuring you that they are not stupid questions.

Now, after being in country for over 10 months, I have had my share of PCMO phone calls. But since swearing in as a volunteer, all of the calls have been the bizarre. And they’re great because they are ok with that.

October – “I think my mefloquine is stuck in my throat…”
And it was. Because malaria is pandemic here in Burkina Faso, I have to be on anti-malarials. Mine is mefloquine, a once a week pill. One time, I swallowed it and it just did not go down. So I had a slowly melting pill in my throat for a few days and ooo man did it burn.

December – “How can you tell if you broke your fingers?”
I was cleaning house, and I had to sweep under my trunk, which is supported on cinder blocks. After I was done sweeping, I went to move them back and PAM crushed my finger tips. I lost a fingernail, but no broken bones.

February – “What is rabies in French??”
I had a brand new kitty and he was too small to have his vaccination for rabies. And one day he ran up to me with a foamy mouth. So grabbed my phone and shut him in the house as I called the PCMO. And yes, Yuri is safe.

April – “I just hit myself in the eye with a shirt – what do I do now?”
So it was night and I was trying to pull a shirt – a specific shirt – out of my zippered rice bag to wear to bed. I do not have electricity so it was dark and as I was tugging on the shirt PAM. It snapped out and hit me in the eye. And because it was dark, I didn’t see it coming and it got the eyeball. I had blurry vision for a few mintues, but PCMO to the rescue. And now I can see again.

So yeah, things like these keep me down to earth. Here’s to another ten months with no severe, if only bizarre, PCMO calls.



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