Dental Clinic round two! No, I didn't get to pull any teeth this time, it was sad. I was actually working in the sterilization room. The team was short their sterilizer as she was sick so I stepped in to help. Mama Grace was a dayworker that was a very patient and good teacher. First step in the process is to collect all of the dirty instruments from the procedure room. There were 4 dentists and 8 chairs so the dirty things would pile up rather quickly. Then, back in the sterilizing room, the instruments would be scrubbed to remove any blood or tissue and then placed into a small machine. I have no idea what the machines did, I think it was an ultrasonic deal, but the instruments were in there for 15 minutes. Then they were dumped onto the table, dried, sorted, and packed into the sterile pouches. Once we had 4 trays full of packaged instruments, we placed them in one of the 3 big steam sterilizers. Once the 40 minute cycle was finished, they were set onto a table to finish drying and then finally to the instrument room to be used again.
About 11 or 11:30 the power went out. This Is Africa after all. The generator kicked in to run the necessary machines but fans are less of a priority. The power did not come back for the rest of the day. So we began sweating. It was worse in the sterilizing room because it was back in a corner and didn't get much of a breeze.
I was unable to really be in the procedure room, other than walking through to collect dirty instruments. So I did not get to pull any more teeth. Sad day. But since I was able to have so much fun and so many stories at the Dental Clinic in Togo, it seemed fair that they put me to work. By the end of the day I was getting the whole sterilization process down. Except for sorting the sterilized instruments into their homes. They look a lot alike, color coordination was helpful, but it was confusing! All in all it was a fantastic day.