Week 4: Commitment
It is an incredibly hot day here in Nalerigu. Perhaps the hottest we have had, and as I sit on my bed typing this post, I am sweating despite the lack of exertion. We were hoping for a little stroll on Bart’s bikes later, but the heat may deter us.
Towards the end of this week, I began to wonder how anyone can do this for more than a month at a time. My respect for the long term missionaries increases each day that I am here and the more tired that I feel. They are such Godly and wonderful people who have given up so much to serve God. Writing about the missionary families feels very fitting this week, as a new family arrived on Wednesday to work in Nalerigu. It sounds so daunting to hear them talk about getting on a plane with two suitcases…not to return to the states for at least one year.
The patient that is really on my mind is a little girl that came in yesterday afternoon. She was having a difficult time breathing, already on oxygen and receiving a blood transfusion. Basically, her heart is not working well. I would guess she is no more than 8 years old, and she can’t breathe because her heart is failing. What can we do in a center like this? Even the oxygen is not pressurized, it is only an oxygen concentrator. For the medical readers, she is started on Lasix and digoxin. As of this morning, she had stopped peeing as of yesterday and her abdomen has gotten more distended. Joel used the ultrasound to look at her heart only to see the ejection fraction is very low (it does not pump blood very well). Joel put down the ultrasound and says, “I think it would be a good idea to pray for her now.” I have seen Joel in the OR doing some impressive procedures: he saved a child with a typhoid perforation just the other day. But, I was more impressed by his prayer and his faith than anything else I have seen him do.
There are four American families here: the Gibbs, Hewitts, Dickens and now the Corims. Bart Gibbs is a nonmedical missionary who does a lot of ministerial work through the hospital and in Nalerigu. He has three daughters, and one lives with them here in Ghana. Earl Hewitt has three children and he has been in and out of Ghana over the last 25 years. He speaks the language and has amazing dedication and wisdom. Joel Dickens is the Ob-Gyn (and in Ghana general surgeon) at the BMC, which means he is “on call” nearly every night. He also has three little children. The new family will be in charge of organizing volunteers in the guest houses and will connect with the schools and orphanage. They have 2 children and are already committed to stay here for one year.
I am very pleased to report back on the uterine rupture patient that I have mentioned before. She had a prolonged hospital course with sepsis and infection of her incision site. To make matters worse, she does not have insurance and her family had no money to pay her hospital bill. Arrangements have been made from previous volunteers to take care of her bill and get her back home.
Prayers for strength for us and healing for our patients. Sometimes the medical is so busy it becomes easy to forget the mission side of what we need to be doing.
More to comeJ