Sunday, June 26, 2016

Update #3

Have we really only been in Kenya 36 hours?!  First, lots things to praise God about. The nursing staff here is great. (It is a pediatric hospital so they only do kids but having come from places that were terrible with Izaac is very refreshing).  Even the support staff is very helpful with things like helping me get to a hotel and get transport. Izaac is doing SO much better. A few times we have had sats in the high 80's but overall he sits about 90% on room air. Which means he got to have the mask off for a while yesterday which he was really happy about. There was even a time when we were going for a walk in the hall and he couldn't contain himself he just had to run. He is quickly regaining his normal, talkative, precocious self. The obvious highlight of his day yesterday was that we found a vending machine and he was allowed to pick something and put the money in and push all buttons himself. After getting his bag of pretzels we just HAD to get something else so he could do it again. Then he had to talk to Ellie (his little sister) to tell her all about it. He has already talked about doing it again today.
Very happy about bacon for breakfast!
Today's plan is to meet with the pulmonologist and see if he has any further ideas for us. So for now we are still waiting and wondering what to do next. But that is much easier when he is better and we have had a few nights of better sleep.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Update #2

Ok, I know all you lovely people would like an update and you deserve one but honestly Christina and I are pretty much running on fumes so we have pared down to the bare necessities.  You will get good blog posts in the future about this whole adventure because we have had some experiences, let me tell you. Like lights and sirens through Kampala during rush hour traffic?! Being delivered to the runway of an international airport in an ambulance?!
It was a very, very long day yesterday but the great news is Izaac is sleeping soundly now. He is also at his wit's end. Last night in the ER he kept telling the Dr."I can't." As in- Dr: "Can you stick your tongue out and say ahhhh?" "I can't." You get the idea. Poor kid has been through the ringer. But we met his new Dr. last night. She hasn't rounded yet this morning (it is still 6:30) but she is looking at all of this with fresh eyes and we are very hopeful.  Unfortunately, I expect today will be a day full of tests so we need to pray for endurance for Izaac (and fortitude for his mother. It is a terrible feeling to hold down your screaming child while they draw blood or give IV meds.)
Anyway, internet is too limited for pictures or too much more but we will see what we can do today to get more access. We are finding that our Ugandan phones will connect but at very diminished capacity. So I will apologize for the decreased communication and do the best we can. Thanks!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

brief update

Ok, trying to do a more detailed medical update in the midst of the crazyness:  Our major issue is respiratory. This morning, Izaac's oxygen saturation seems even lower than it has been the past few days. We took him off the non re-breather while he ate and he hit 72% after less than ten minutes on room air. (They don't have a nasal cannula to supplement). His chest x-ray from last night actually looks almost normal and is way better than the on of three days ago. The doctor here keeps talking of bronco-spasm but he doesn't respond at all to any neb treatments.  

Now, in the hours since I started this blog post we have a whole new problem. We know we need to get to a place with more medical resources. So there is a Children's hospital waiting for us in Kenya and we have an air ambulance lined up. But Kenya now does not allow visas at the airports. So there is a two day wait to get permission to enter the country. 
It is 9:30 pm here. These guys have had some very long days and are beyond tired. We need to get this kid some medical help. He is constantly tachy into the 130's and beyond. He never has a sat more than 88% on 15 liters. We can't get blood gasses. The pediatrician here practically admitted that he has no more ideas and has tried everything he can. No one likes to hear that. 

Terrible and short but I'll try to get more up shortly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Every few years I just hit this wall where I hate this job. When I feel like I've been making these huge decisions that have serious impact (either good or bad) for people. I get to this point where I want to scream that I can't make any more significant decisions. I'm not a doctor. I'm not trained to diagnose and prescribe. I'm trained to follow a doctors orders. My job is to watch patients and identify abnormalities and problems. Then report them. Not decide what needs to be done about them.
Yesterday I hit that point. Right around 10am. I'd been trying to help my family members get good treatment for their sick son. Which is really hard here. Really, really hard. This has been a hard malaria season with several unnecessary deaths and miscarriages so I was already feeling the strain.  Then trying to help them get the treatment they need was like the straw that broke the camel's back. Attempting to get a chest x-ray in a city that has not a single functioning x-ray machine. And oxygen. Practically a joke.  Though we did find the ONLY oxygen condenser in the city and borrowed it for 10 hours.  Conclusive lab work?  Not going to happen. So what is wrong with the child?! And what treatment should I recommend?!?
Anyway, yesterday morning my nephew seemed to finally be heading the right direction. And they had a doctor that seemed to be taking them seriously.  So I headed the 4+ hours back to Soroti. Now I'm regretting it. He is still very sick and having complications. My brother is calling asking what to do. And I really want to help. But I hit that wall. I can't make a single other decision. I doubt everything I suggest.  "Get on an airplane now and get your sick child to a good hospital before he gets even sicker!" "Well, you could change abx and give him 12 more hours to see if there is a change." "We could try to find a hospital in Kampala that can give oxygen overnight." I just can not be decisive. And they don't know what is best for their child so they don't know if they just keep watching him, worrying that he will get sicker or if they need to drop everything, purchase airline tickets, pack, find a guesthouse and rush out of Uganda.

So, I look at these numbers and try not to think: "For a healthy person, the normal blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2) should be around 94% to 99%. For patients with mild respiratory diseases, the SpO2 should be 90% or above. Supplementary oxygen should be used if SpO2 level falls below 90%, which is unacceptable for a prolonged period of time."
 I'm heading back to Jinja as soon as I've had enough hours of sleep to be safe to make the drive. I can't promise I'll be able to help them make a single decision. But I'm going back as an Aunt who cares rather than a nurse who knows we have to do something.

I didn't mean to make this whole post about me. Please pray for healing for Izaac. Please pray that God shows Himself as the healer and provider that He is. Please pray for all of us to trust Him. Please pray for peace and wisdom for Izaac's parents. This kind of thing makes you questions why in the world you would drag your children into rural Africa.

I'm still processing and I guess this kind of thing reminds me of that saying:

Which I'm going to say I actually think is complete BS.
Right now I'm at the end of myself. I was in the clinic for three hours today. I really want to be a good missionary nurse.  But I'm weary. And I'm finding it impossible to make medical decisions for people. I really, really believe this is actually true:
And so I need him to handle it all right now. So I'm praying. Because that is really all I can do.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

This remains one of my favorite posts by another missionary writer. Check it out while I recover and figure out what I want to write about.

10 reasons you should be a missionary. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

How to build a house in 10 easy steps....

Here is a funny post from my brother. He lives in a different part of Uganda so their houses look a bit different (square rather than round and tin roofs instead of grass but mostly the same idea.)
Check it out. It is funner than my rather boring, depressing stuff lately. 

And another great post by another missionary writer. Mostly I want to share it to keep myself honest. I don't want to ever use facebook or my blog to misrepresent myself. I want to always post truth, and God's truth, not my perception of truth. I don't want to mislead, even by omission. (Which isn't actually a lie, right?  It just isn't telling all of the truth? Wrong.)  Even if you are not a missionary I want to challenge you to also read this post and see what you think. And also, I'm giving you permission to call me out on something, anything, you read here or on other social media that doesn't seem honest. Please help hold me to integrity.
Facebook lies and other truth

Monday, June 6, 2016

Prayer requests

I was going to start this post out saying I think I need prayer for this week, but on second thought I'm sure. I need prayer for this week. Where to begin? Well, first (because of this stupid picture) I have some sort of painful inflammation on the left side of my face and neck. It feels like a burn and without ice every few hours my eye swells half closed. Also, I think I have a stress fracture in my foot. It has been painful for weeks now. I took it easy the end of last week but probably over did it this weekend and now I'm paying for it again.
And malaria..... that season is well upon us. The clinic is overflowing. It seems like very few are having a response to first line treatments and everyone is needing IV.  On top of that there are lots of diagnosis of other things like typhoid which just makes me frustrated but that is for another post.

Lastly, I still have no idea where I am in the work permit process. I haven't heard anything. So I need your support:
Please pray that I can be the hands and feet of Christ in the clinic this week.
Please pray for healing and strength.
Please pray that in the busyness I can be patient, loving and kind.
Please pray that I can just get my permit and not need to worry about it for 3 more years.
Thanks everyone!!!