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.

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