Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 5: Small World (aka small Nalerigu)

Week 5-ish
So this was written on Sunday, but internet has been down all week. Here it is late, but still just as goodJ
It’s hard to believe I only have a few days left at the BMC before heading back to Accra and back to the states. It has been such a whirlwind of an experience…and there are so many things that I miss about home, but I am going to be really sad to leave.
I believe in a previous post that I mentioned a woman that came in with what we believe to be cerebral malaria. She has been at the BMC in woman’s ward for the past 2 weeks in a coma with an NG tube for feeding. The first week she was in the hospital her husband came into my clinic; he told me who he was and how much time he has spent at the hospital, worried about his wife. Since his visit, I wave and smile every time I go by, and every time it breaks my heart. At this point, she seems to have significant brain damage. It is that she was likely having a prolonged seizure leading to her present state. Friday night on rounds, I smiled and waved at the husband like always, but he pulled me aside, full of questions. I hadn’t been the physician caring for his wife, so I didn’t know what had been going on with her. He showed me how her arm was stiff and she had urinary incontinence. Through a series of translators, Beth and I began to wonder how much the family really understands about her condition. We tried to explain that her brain has been hurt and we can’t do any tests to see how much damage there is. We ended our visit with a prayer and went away. Walking away I was glad for the opportunity to have prayed with them, but I wondered if I should have said more about her prognosis…that she may not be normal ever again. Interestingly, the story does not end there. I am not entirely sure their religious status, but at church sunday (Filane church) the pastor said that one of their people was in the hospital…in woman’s ward with a tube feeding her. The Filane (not sure of spelling) people are nomadic and are often outcasts in whatever village they settle near. They are often forced to live on the outskirts of town and are not even accepted by local churches. It seems that she may be of the Filane people but not necessarily Christian. I write all of this because I think it is interesting how small Nalerigu can be when you have been here for as long as we have. I prayed so long for this woman unable to speak to her family. I then discovered that we are working with missionaries supporting the church and people that are supporting and praying for her. I also share this story because I pray that these relationships can help lead to healing and salvation for the family.
I posted previously about several admissions of some sick folks on Thursday. We had several abdomens we were a bit concerned about…always on the lookout for a typhoid perforation. There were two women with tender bellies that looked pretty sick, but they are both doing well now and did not need surgery. We did have another woman the same afternoon that appeared to have suffered some brain injury. The source of her problems was not clear, but it almost seemed like any moment she would take her last breath. She did not make it to rounds that evening. It is very hard to see, but the longer we are here, I think we are better able to recognize the things that we can help and those that we cannot. We could do some small things, but her case was already pretty much out of our hands.
I believe I also may have previously posted about a small boy that came into my clinic with the history of having swallowed a coin 6 months prior. In disbelief, I did a chest x-ray. To my own surprise, we found a coin in his esophagus. The family came back to clinic on Friday, and reported that they had been to the medical center in Tamale where the coin was successfully removed. Big answer to prayer.
The hospital has seemed less busy with Joel and Earl back…. We seem much less busy than we had been before. Saturday, Earl took call and the Corams took the volunteer crew to Paga to the crocodile pond. There are apparently over 200 crocodiles in the pond, but there is one that is 93 years old and is rather friendly. They pull him out for the visitors to see…. And sit on. J pics of that one to come. We had a great time and really enjoyed the afternoon off. I even had a chance to get out on a bike this past weekend!!! Big thanks to Bart and Jane Ann for loaning us their own bikes.

Love you and miss you all…more to come.

1 comment:

  1. enjoyed reading the update. i hope n pray for your continued success there. by all means, post a picture of people sitting on a friendly (?) crocodile. that sounds rather interesting.
    enjoy your remaining days in Ghana!