Friday, December 11, 2015

Well worn shoes

December 11, 2015

Another month has flown by and Advent is upon us!  I am getting used to a tropical Christmas where palm trees are more frequent than the conifer variety.  Have you ever consider how many kilowatts your Christmas tree consumes?  Here we are very conscious of electricity….plugging in a Christmas tree on a cloudy day means inadequate photons in compared to photons out.

We are leaving for a short beach vacation in Mombasa prior to Christmas.  I have been wanting to sink my toes in a warm sandy beach, play with Emmanuel in a pool, and enjoy good food.  It seems like a great time to get away when the hospital census is not so high.  I think scuba diving an probably even snorkeling are out with a very active 1-year old, but we will have a blast eating mangoes and coconuts and running like crazy after crabs.

Memorable Patients & The Value of Counseling
I have had several very memorable patients recently.  I have grown in friendship with several of the mothers of my patients.  A little girl that I met almost 3years ago who is now 4 is recovering wonderfully from her tuberculosis…such a victory.  It is a joy to see a child come full circle and to  
feel joy with the family.

 I discharged a young girl named Here admitted over a month ago with severe malnutrition and a   Following surgery and starting on treatment for tuberculosis she has improved very dramatically.  She returned to a Medecin Sans Frontieres hospital for follow-up care.  She told me she wanted to be a teacher someday and about how happy she was to feel well again.   We have had a lot of wonderful cures lately.  
tuberculoma causing a bowel obstruction.

I have been doing a fair amount of HIV counseling lately with the director of the health center.  I am learning how to communicate directly, yet compassionately while presenting HIV as a chronic disease like so many others.  HIV is yet another disease that one lives with and that is not cured this side of heaven.  It is a very emotional experience to have to share this news with each parent and then see them go through various stages of disbelief, anger, grief, acceptance.  Pediatric HIV counseling is more complicated than simply informing one person that they are “affected,” rather it involves disclosure and counsel of three people.  I have seen marital conflict, avoidant behaviors, and a number of other unhealthy responses.  The first step in counseling is to promote understanding and acceptance.  The second step is to advise each parent/other children to get tested.  The third step is to manage the disease with retroviral drugs and treat infections.  It is my prayer that with time one family will come to terms with their child’s disease and seek help themselves.  For yet another family, I pray that their marriage will remain strong and supportive.  

A Typical Day for Lindsey
At night I collapse in bed and look back on the events of the day.  Aside from my hospital work I spend a lot of time with Emmanuel and in food acquisition and preparation.

I started the day with rounds and consultations from 8/8:30-1pm.  Returning home at 1pm, I fed Emmanuel and eat lunch.  Emmanuel and I played for a couple of hours until he was sufficiently tired and ready for a nap.  Often he takes an afternoon bath outside.  While Emmanuel was sleeping, I cooked one of my favorite meals:  beef peanut stew with coconut rice with fried okra.  Then various tasks in the guesthouse, organizing the storage of flour and rice in large drums, weeding the herb garden, putting away laundry, and a little bit of correspondence.  When Warren got home Emmanuel learned how to pick up baby chicks without harming them!  Then we went for a walk, bought some   Finally home for dinner, clean-up, rocking Emmanuel to sleep, and it’s already 9pm!  Our little boy has been having some difficulty with nighttime waking and getting back to sleep, so we anticipate a 2am wake-up.
Emmanuel and his friend Favredi
vegetables, and visited a family with a pet duiker to see its’ amputated leg.

As I write this from the comfort of my well-lit, cozy room I realize that local Congolese women have a much more difficult life.  They wake up at sunrise to transport water from local water sources, work in the fields, harvest wood for cooking, travel on foot to local markets, cook meals, take care of their children and husbands…perhaps hold a job, but likely not.  Much of the day revolves around providing for the needs of their families, food and otherwise.  The same is true for me, but I have the luxury of running water, a stove to cook on, and help around the house with laundry and housekeeping tasks.

I love being a mother.  Emmanuel is learning so many things everyday.  We joke that he probably runs a 5K everyday.  His shoes are falling apart!  Why walk when you can run or climb?  He climbs everything and anything he can find!  Emmanuel goes through about 3 sets of clothes a day and I go through at least 2 sets from playing with him!  His little “hi” and “bye” are charming, as is his little wave.  Instead of “up” he says “uppy, like “puppy.”  He knows a few words in French, Swahili, and of course English.  I love that his nanny speaks with him in Swahili. 

A Difficult Lesson
Have you ever missed the opportunity to tell someone an important message?  There was a young woman who died last night after many complications following surgery to repair her bowel and damaged uterus.  One of the nurses and I had planned to spend some time sharing the Gospel with her yesterday, but all the medical cases took precedence so we planned to do it this morning.  Then she died before we came back.  Ohh, such a difficult reminder that THIS is so important and worth leaving other medical tasks aside.  We are all mortal and will die someday.  It is my prayer that someone was able to speak with her and that she accepted the Lord into her life.  May the Lord show us how to incorporate the Gospel and words of hope into our daily work.  

It is true what the angel Gabriel said, “ I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). 

May you be filled with joy this Christmas season as you await Him coming,

The kid gang of Thanksgiving

 Thanksgiving Samaritan's Purse style in Bunia

1 comment:

  1. May our God help and bless you in this work, we know that it's not easy but Himself can give you courage. Be blessed and Merry X-mass