It is our last night at Nyankunde. The last week has been tiring. Lindsey caught some horrible virus which caused her nose to run like a faucet. I had to give blood to a lady who was bleeding to death. Normally I don't even notice it, but it seems like I've been huffing and puffing to get up the hill. The running has been on hiatus, while I try regenerate some red cells.
Lindsey and Dr. Chantal
We've been working hard in the new building. We brought over a whole bunch of boxes from the old store room where an army of small critters was having their way with precious medical supplies. We found some great stuff, as well as a lot of things that we'll never use. The challenge has been to go though these boxes and separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff. The chaff includes materials for open heart surgery, some chest tubes which expired in 1968 and an implant designed for surgery on the super-obese (not many of those around here.) It has been tedious to go through all of this stuff, but it's simply something that has to be done. Lindsey and I have different organizational styles. Sometimes I need to find her a job like organizing the suture. It is mystifying and a bit frightening to see how much she enjoys this.
Lots of suture to organize!
The new OR/ICU building is not exactly ready for prime time, but it's come a long way. My pride and joy is the Endoscopy room. We actually have a pretty decent collection of scopes and I have carefully arranged the room with the necessary instrument to peer into the various dark places in the body. I also found an old table that we were able to salvage and repair. I have named the table "Lazarus". We have materials in the other rooms and equipment that is ready to be used. When we return to the US, we'll be trying to assemble the material that is still needed.
Omviti and me clowning around!
We'll also be putting together some supplies that we will need in the next couple of years. We will be hosting visitors in our house, so we're looking to purchase bulk food items. Packaged food is quite expensive to buy locally. As an example, a small can of oatmeal costs about $5.00. I went online onAmazon.com and purchased a 50lb bag of oats.
In addition to organizing the new building, we continue to deal with clinical challenges. Today I re-operated on a patient on whom I'd done an ileostomy when I first arrived. His ostomy was putting out so much fluid that we just couldn't keep him hydrated. I ended up calling him "Sir Leaksalot." He was getting so malnourished that I feared we were just going down the slippery slope. I sewed his intestines back together today. Hopefully he will make it. I also operated on a poor little girl who fell in the fire after having a seizure. This is a tragic, but all-too-common story. I did a skin graft on her face. Lindsey has been dealing with sick patient and continues to struggle with kids who die from diseases that should be treatable. They just come in too late. It is heartbreaking to have a child die of malaria right in front of your eyes, but this happens. It is a difficult transition to come from an ICU setting where everything is available, to a place where you often can't even get blood. It will be a great challenge to see what is possible with the limited means available.
On the water tank
Last week was the 10th year anniversary of the massacre and destruction of Nyankunde. Not much was said to commemorate the event. It may be that it is too hard for people to think about it. Still, it seems like a new day is dawning here. There is a spirit of a renewal and a hope that things will be better. The new building is a huge encouragement. For Lindsey and myself, we are just happy to be a part of what God is doing here. It is pretty clear that He has chosen this time for the hospital to grow and to strengthen its spiritual ministry. It has been a tremendous privilege for us to be here and we are excited to return in January.
Tomorrow we will begin an adventurous return to Kampala. We will take a vehicle to Bunia and then to Kasenyi. We are planning to take a local boat across Lake Albert, then find a bus back to Kampala. We're not sure how long this will take. We have allotted a couple of days for the journey. We could just fly, but I think it will be more interesting to travel using local transportation. More on this later, if we survive.
Lindsey with a preemie
Obligatory sunset picture.
We will return to the US for a bit. I will be attending an orthopedic conference in Washington. In mid-October, we will travel to South Sudan to assist with a medical project there.
As always, thanks for your prayers and your encouragement.
Warren (for both of us)