We have had a good couple weeks since our last post. Chuck was actually able to take a week off from rounding on the wards as we have a couple additional volunteers for the week. This allowed him to focus on some other areas around the hospital. He continues to teach EGDs and do colonoscopies. He has now done over 100 EGDs and 15 colonoscopies! We are also starting to do FNAs (fine needle aspirations) and learning to do bone marrow biopsies. Angela has been busy with the children's ward and has been rounding more in the pediatric oncology department. It is actually just a separate room with 6 beds, but department sounds more official. She has been learning and is now helping guide chemotherapy treatment plans along with some of the more experienced residents. We continue to be challenged medically with the volume and complexity of our patients that present with such advanced diseases. We continue to trust God to provide the strength to face such a daunting task when we are limited in diagnostic tests and treatment options.
This past 2 weeks, we have seen new diagnoses of Burkitt's Lymphoma, pediatric AML (leukemia), metastatic Wilm's tumor, many cases of malaria, TB, and meningitis, a child with juvenile inflammatory arthritis, and even a dislocated jaw. We also continue to see HIV with it's many consequences. Chuck saw a lady with Parkinson's disease that had never been treated and could not even move out of bed. He gave carbidopa/levadopa and she is almost like a new woman! We saw a 22 year old girl with severe hypertension who presented with blindness from her hypertension. We were able to control her blood pressure and her vision in her left eye returned completely. She had been treated inadequately for many years in small clinics, but will now be coming to Mbingo for her care.
It was a good Easter week here. The church and hospital had some kind of celebration almost everyday of the week leading up to Easter Sunday. The people here know how to celebrate! This picture shows a group of us singing during Easter week at the morning chapel service. We formed a somewhat official choir and practiced our songs and the service seemed to go well. Angela has been in choirs before and did great...Chuck had to learn how to sing something other than the melody, but ultimately it was a fun time.
On Easter morning there was a sunrise service on Mbingo Hill. The group passed our house at 430am and then this is the group coming back down at 7am on their way to church. We did not make it up the hill this year with Isaac, but we are looking forward to joining them next year!
The rains have come and it rained 14 days straight to kick off the rainy season. It rarely lasts more than a couple hours, but can be very heavy. Our water shortage is improving and we are thankful for that. Isaac has also found a new activity...dressing in his rain clothes and playing outside...wait, where are your pants??
Now that it is raining, our views have improved significantly. This is taken from the hospital, looking back towards our house. Our duplex is the farthest on the left. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place.
This has also been a week of goodbyes. This picture shows Mr. Nji giving a farewell speech to Christoph and Sara Berger. They are a Swiss couple that spent 2 years here and are now heading back home. She is training in tropical medicine and he is the brains behind our internet setup here. They were a great asset to Mbingo in all the ways they improved things here and their friendships.
We wanted to introduce you all to Dave and Susie Oviatt. They are both physicians and have an interesting story. They did some short-term mission trips (2 weeks) earlier in life and felt God calling them to something more. They both decided to retire early and now they take extended trips to hospitals in need around the world multiple times a year. They have been with us for 6 weeks and we will be sad to see them leave on Tuesday. Susie is a family medicine physician and worked with ob/gyn on the maternity ward and in clinic. Dave is a hematologist and worked in our chemo/palliative care program as well as rounding daily on the men's ward. He also made some lasting changes in his updating of our chemotherapy protocols. It is neat to hear how God used shorter trips in their lives to ultimately lead them to this. We hope God calls them back our way!
As always, thanks for the support you all provide. Knowing that we have a group of friends and family at home praying for us, following along with us, and keeping in touch with us helps us more than we can say.