Sunday, December 25, 2011

This is Why I'm Here

My Christmas started at 5:30 this morning with a phone call.  I was being summoned to the clinic to see a friend who I’ve been doing OB/GYN care for over this past year.  After nearly a year of trying to conceive, and some problems with ovarian cysts, she finally was expecting.  At almost three-months along, I saw her for her first OB appointment on Thurs this last week and immediately had some concerns.  I shared these concerns with both her and her husband.  She was to follow up with me just before I leave for the states next week. I told them to call me sooner if there were any problems.  They were calling this morning to tell me that she was bleeding.

With a heavy heart I got dressed and made the walk to the clinic. As I saw hints of the coming sunrise spreading across the sky this Christmas morning, I asked the Lord “Why? Why today on Christmas does she have to lose this baby she has been longing for?  Why ever Lord?”  I can’t say that I got an answer.  But what I did feel was a calm assurance that this is why I’m here.

This is why I’m in the medical profession.  This is why I’m here in Africa.  This is why I’m here on earth.  God has a calling on my life to use the skills that he has given me to reach out and touch others with a tangible expression of his love.  I don’t know why my friend has to suffer.  But I can be there to walk through the process with her.  I can explain what is happening to her and her husband in a way that they can understand the physical process and know what to expect.  I can ease her physical pain, and hopefully her emotional pain a bit as well.

I took a deep breath and walked in the room.  Tears were streaming down my friend’s face.  Her husband looked up with huge relief when he saw me walk in.  “I’m so glad you came” he said.  I confirmed that they were in fact experiencing a miscarriage.  We spent a while talking about what had likely happened and how she needed to be cared for right now.  I gave her some medicine to ease the pain. I held her in my arms and cried with her.  We prayed together.  It was somehow a sacred moment even through the pain. 

And later as I walked home to prepare for Christmas breakfast with my family I thought again, this is why I’m here….

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I have several friends who put pictures up on their blogs every Wed. I realized that today is Wed and I have a bunch of pictures I've been wanting to upload.  I think technically I'm only supposed to post one picture on Wordless Wednesday.  And I've obviously already messed up the "wordless" part.  But here are some pictures fromWilliam's famine-relief trip to Samburu a few weeks back.

The team got stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere.

It took hours to dig the truck out.

Some passing zebra stopped to watch the poor team trying to dig their way out.

It was the first large rain that the area had experienced in years. Many roads were flooded.

This man was so excited for the arrival of the maize that he did not want even one kernel to be wasted.

Masai man watches the unloading of the first bags of relief food.

Waiting for the maize to be ready for disbursement.

I love all of the bright colors!
So thankful to receive the maize.

William helping to pass out maize.

Saying "Asante"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Practicing what I Preach

I figure if I'm going to promote dental care in the village I better be taking my own family to the dentist!  Yesterday Jonah and Moses both had their teeth professionally cleaned for the first time ever. Moses was convinced that we were going to kill him and was pretty much sobbing as he was being led to the chair.  The air compressor spitting right before he started didn't help anything either!  So we wound up asking Jonah to go first so that Moses could see that he lived through the procedure.  I unfortunately did not get any pictures of Moses, but here is Jonah just as the dentist is about to get started.  You can see Moses' arm and sleeve in the corner. 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Back on the Front Lines

Today I put on my women's health hat and went back to GYN clinic.  Last month I went back to work in our clinic here in Kipkaren, but I had asked my women's health team for an extra month before putting me back on the schedule.  Earlier this year I connected with an incredible team of doctors and nurses who are on the front-lines of fighting cervical cancer here in Kenya.  I've been training under a team of Kenyan, Canadian and American doctors. 

As a way of saying thanks for the training, and also getting on the front lines myself, I've volunteered to rotate through some of their satellite clinics a few times a month. Two of the clinics they rotate through are just 20 and 40 minutes drive from my home.  So this morning I was at the Turbo clinic seeing patients. 

It was my first time in four months re-entering the women's health world.  And I was reminded that this is what I really, really, really want to start doing at our clinic in Chebaiywa.  Please pray with me that God opens the doors for us to get the equipment we need to launch this program.  The exciting thing is that we will not only be screening for cervical cancer, but doing interventions and procedures in simple office visits that can stop it in it's tracks!

The team was excited to have me back.  The nurses asked if I had any pictures of my baby.  I showed them a recent one of my sweet little guy.  The nurse squealed and said with a big smile "Oh look, he's fat just like his mom!"  Um, thanks?......

Anyway! It's exciting to be back on the front lines again.  I've talked with one of the American GYN docs about going into the big Eldoret hospital for some further training in basic surgical procedures used in GYN care.  She was very welcoming.  I'm excited to see what this next year will hold as I continue to train and provide a greater spectrum of services in the more rural areas of Western Kenya.