‘She’s so relieved that she kisses the doctor on the cheek’
As a nurse in the camp on Lesvos, every shift is different for Wout Linsen. This time he takes us with him.
“It is 10:30 p.m. when two boys run to the clinic with a man in a wheelchair. The man is hard to talk to and the boy is panicking. The man suddenly became unwell, made uncontrolled movements and talked confusedly. Together with the doctor I assess the situation and it soon becomes clear that he is taking insulin for his diabetes. I take a finger prick to determine his blood glucose and it turns out to be way too low. We give him sugar and immediately he becomes visibly clear. The boys breathe a sigh of relief. While I insert an infusion, his wife comes in. She is so relieved that her husband is okay that she kisses the doctor on both cheeks.
A new patient is already waiting. A boy, clearly under the influence, has blood on his face and hands. He has been fighting and suffered bite and cut wounds. The doctor asks me to help clean and stitch the wounds. While administering anesthetics, he cries out. The translator tries to reassure him. The boy receives 11 stitches in his hand, finger and skull. One wound is glued. I apply bandages, give a tetanus injection and pain relief. I also administer antibiotics, give medication and ask the translator to explain. Since I doubt that everything will stick, the translator writes everything down.
The patient is ready and wants to go to the police to file a report. Meanwhile, I check how the translator is doing. He assures me that he has seen worse in the two years he has been living in the camp; I (unfortunately) believe him immediately. Meanwhile, it’s 00:30 and we quickly clean up everything. As we walk to the car, we run into the man with stitches. He greets us and walks back to the camp. I wonder how he will feel tomorrow. Over a beer, we talk about the tumultuous end of our shift. We are satisfied how the shift went and each team member used his or her expertise. On to the next shift!”