Saturday, September 8, 2012

Another day in the life of a missionary nurse (Sunday and Monday) Watch out- it's a long one.

Joyce & I and her elderly grandmother
Several weeks ago I had a friend (Caitlin) staying with me. She was a bit camera happy and I ended up with 400 pictures of myself as she hung out with me for two days. As much as it was annoying, it is a great glimpse into a few days. The photo montage she made begins on Sunday  morning shortly after I got a call to inform me Joyce was sick. We went over to her house, tested and sure enough- positive for malaria. Started her on treatment and tried to encourage her to go lay down but she wanted to go with us. So we piled her and the 9 other kids that I take to church into the truck and headed out to Obule.
The truck is usually pretty full but none of them complain. They generally fight over who gets to sit in "the boot".

Church generally begins at 9:30 and ends around mid-day.  We have several choirs, a few testimonies, an hour sermon and lots of worship.

Because I had a visitor I thought we should have something nice for Sunday dinner. So we stopped in the market on the way home for a (fresh) beef roasts.
Solomon also felt that he should get some lunch and is generally a pest until he gets something to eat. Though he is a pest after he gets something too.

Caitlin sat on the floor and tried to keep the animals occupied while I prepared the meal.

Monday is usually clinic day-  the the week Caitlin was with me was no exception.
I like to start the day out with a run for my mental well being and Caitlin was up for joining even that. Here is the sunrise on our run.

And the road as the sky gradually becomes lighter.

 Only a few miles to go!

Then out to the clinic. Many are waiting for immunizations so we start with their cards- figuring out who needs polio, TB, DPT, measles, etc..  It is not as straight forward as it sounds. Some kids (especially those born at home- which are most!) have had none and are on no schedule whatsoever, then some received the first ones, others came but the needed serum wasn't in stock, it gets exceptionally complicated.

It actually takes far longer to figure out who needs what than it does to actually administer all of the immunizations. On top of that return dates need to be calculated. They can't just come any time. Only when a supply has been recieved. Also we do all the paperwork first, count how many of each we need then mix them so nothing is wasted or warm for too long.

Lots of moms and babies waiting!!

And if anybody arrives to be seen for illness or injury we pause, change rooms and see them. This was a mom with a 1 month old who was really dehydrated with malaria.

 Back to the immunization room. Mixing and administering. NEXT! (Actually you should hear me attempt to call their names out in Ateso. You would think I'd be better at it by now.) 

 This little guy had received almost no immunizations.  I was trying to non-judgmentally ask his mother why she hadn't brought him yet. She told us she was sure he was going to die. But he hasn't yet so figured it was time to bring him. Turns out he has pretty profound cerebral palsy. He was super cute but couldn't even hold his head up. Tried to encourage his mother to love him and take the best care of him that she can. She told me that she still has to tie him on her back as he can't sit or walk but that she has another baby on the way so can't do that anymore. They have a tough road ahead of them.

Trying to decipher some complicated lab results. 

So after a full day in the clinic we had one last stop in Obule village. I'd been told of a woman who had had surgery and needed to be checked on. I agreed but didn't know how to find their house. So our guide would meet us at church. We waited there for a bit. This little girl felt obligated to keep us company but would not talk to us. 

The post-op patient was doing well and her family was appreciative of our coming. (Though I was unable to determine the nature of her abdominal surgery) Here is Caitlin's account of that part of the day:
Jennifer and I were brought to meet with a woman in the village of Obule who had recently undergone surgery. We were brought there by Charles, the pastor of a church nearby. We stayed with the family quite a long time- listening to her speak of her recent surgery, chatting with the daughter and husband and trying our best to encourage the family. We were brought tea and roasted corn to eat while we were there. Jennifer joked that since we were presented with food by the family, she would not need to worry about preparing me (her guest) food in the evening. The family fussed for a bit, but we all laughed and moved on to another topic. Towards the end of our stay, I noticed the husband lean over and grab an ugly little chicken that was poking around where we were sitting outside eating. He tied up the legs and tossed it behind him and I knew, without a doubt, that ugly little chicken would be coming home with us. Sure enough, when we stood to leave, Jennifer was handed a basket of corn and I was handed the very much ALIVE, ugly little chicken! The family said they were providing us with “dinner.” Apparently, I took hold of “dinner” the wrong way because the family laughed as I struggled with the terrified chicken but trying my best to remain calm (as if carrying live chickens was something I did every day). Jennifer and I loaded everything into the car. We stopped off and spent some more time at the Obule church and eventually made our way home. Jennifer lives in a guesthouse behind a house rented by a family with the same organization (International Teams). The family has some chickens and roosters so our hope was that we could slip our ugly little “dinner” in with their bunch. I wish there was a video of my struggle to grab “dinner” from the back of the vehicle while also trying to carry a couple water bottles and my backpack. I eventually had to drop all my other stuff and just grab the chicken all the while laughing at the ridiculous situation we were in. Once in the yard, I placed “dinner” on the ground and was about to go grab my bags when I heard a lot of squawking. There are two roosters on the property and they both went after our ugly little chicken and then all started fighting in a big puff of feathers! First of all, I don’t know anything about chickens and roosters and all that jazz and here I am trying to figure out how to separate three squawking fighting feathered enemies without getting my face pecked off. I just yelled and ran at them clapping and they scattered. Jennifer came out of the house and scooped up “dinner” and took her to a cage where she would be safe until we figured out a plan. We decided to see if Steve, the owner of the other chickens, will be ok with inheriting a new bird. Jennifer kept mentioning that village chickens are good egg layers (an attempt to keep our ugly chicken safe). Steve agreed to give “dinner” a chance with the other hens and went out to take a look at our ugly little chicken. The other chickens on the property have names and since “dinner” is not a good name for a chicken, Steve quickly came up with a new name. Egor.

Finally near the end of the day, time to kick back and put our feet up for a minute. Steve and kids joined us outside in the cooler evening. 

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