Saturday, June 16, 2012

Final Exam

We were sad to tell Angela's parents goodbye today...especially Isaac.  However, we had a great 3 weeks with them and they did a lot to help us, not just at home, but also at the hospital.  Thanks and we can't wait to see you guys again soon.

Mike rounded on the men's ward while he was here.  That involved seeing about 30 admitted patients with the residents each morning and teaching them in the process.  He saw and treated patients with TB, malaria, cryptococcal meningitis, prostate cancer, chylous ascites, toxoplasmosis, HIV, strokes, and even a young man that presented with a blood pressure of 270/140!  This picture shows him in action with one of the nurse practitioner students.

 Betty stayed busy with Isaac most days, but did make it to pediatric rounds with Angela one morning.  This shows her with Angela and Estelle.  Estelle is a house officer completing her one year internship with us before she goes to work as a general practitioner at another location in Cameroon.  Angela enjoyed showing her mom what it was like in the hospital.

Mike also helped us by being one of the formal external examiners for our final exams for the 2 graduating residents.  Our residents are here for 4 years training in internal medicine and pediatrics and they took a 2 day exam involving written, oral, and practical components.  The picture shows Mike with George Reisz, Jam Divine, Kouya Francine, and Dennis Palmer.  George Reisz is the chair of medicine at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and Dennis Palmer is the director of the residency program here at Mbingo.  Congrats to Jam and Francine on passing the exam!

We also had time to get out into the surrounding country some with Angela's parents.  We took a trip to the Ndwara Tea Estate and as you can see from the picture, the road was bumpy.  This shows Mike and Betty supporting Isaac's head as we get tossed around on the rocky dirt road.

 The tea estate is quite nice and smelled great, even from the front door.

 We were able to take a tour and see how the tea is processed from the leaf to the tea bag.

We also went out into the fields and took in the beautiful views.  The estate is about 1500 feet higher than where we are at Mbingo with many mountains around.  It was amazingly green.

One of the many things that is different about this tea estate in Cameroon is that they also have chimps nearby.  The owner of the estate has chimps, monkeys, ostriches, peacocks, and pythons for visitors to see. We all took turns holding the chimps.  Nobody held the pythons.

Two funny things happened in the process.  This chimp tried to put his hand in Chuck's mouth, which of course Chuck was not too happy about.  After we put the chimps down, one jumped up and grabbed Isaac's shoe off of his foot and was playing with it.  We got it back and even a week later, Isaac still talks about the monkey taking his shoe!

Thanks again Nana and Papa for coming to visit.  We will miss you.  They are actually getting on the plane now, so we will be praying for safe travels back to the US.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Angela's Parents Have Landed

We are happy to say that Angela's parents are here!  They arrived to Mbingo on Monday and are staying for 3 weeks.  We are enjoying spending time with them.  Of course, Mike has been working at the hospital (he is an internist), but we don't think Betty has left Isaac's side!

 This was a couple days after they arrived and we went on a short hike to the airstrip.  It only takes about 15 minutes to get there and the views are memorable.  We are at 5000 feet of altitude here, but Mike and Betty have started to adapt and did well with the hike.

This is Isaac on the airstrip.  Few planes land here anymore since the road was paved about 15 years ago.  This used to be one of the best ways to bring in supplies.  We sometimes have a prop plane land with a patient (even from Nigeria), but mostly it is a nice place to take a hike.  Isaac is here suggesting that Nana and Papa just fly direct next time from Charlotte.

 We introduced Mike and Betty to the market, which is mainly on Saturdays.  We buy all of our supplies for the week and this week we put Angela's parents to good use by helping us carry all of it back to the house.

 As we have mentioned before, we teach medical residents, medical interns (house officers), nurse practitioners, and nurse screeners here at Mbingo.  This week, the nurse practitioners and screeners needed a lecture on the pediatric exam, so Isaac got to go to the hospital to be the "patient".  He actually did quite well as Angela demonstrated and taught how to examine a child.

 We also wanted to share with you guys some of the building that is taking place.  This is the outpatient building that was started years ago.  We are actually working in the part closest to us, but as you can see, much of the rest is still under construction.  The rest of this floor should be finished in the next few weeks and there will be more room for clinics.  At this point, the medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, and ENT clinics share about 8 rooms.  After the expansion, the clinics will have more of there own space which will allow us to see more patients and provide better care.

 Teaching is a component of many areas here at Mbingo.  This is one of the head carpenters giving a geometry lecture on an unfinished wall to a group of students.  We stubbled upon this scene, but were happy to see that the teaching is not limited to the medical side of the hospital.  Even the carpenters here  will leave with more skills and knowledge than when they arrived.

This is Darko with Chuck and JR.  Darko is a chief medicine resident at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.  He was here for a month and did an incredible job teaching many lectures a week in addition to rounding on the wards and seeing outpatients.  He learned how to hike and he also became a friend.  He is on to become a cardiologist but is welcome back anytime.

Thanks again for all the prayers, emails, and support that we receive from each of you.  We hope you enjoy following along as much as we enjoy sharing.