Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chuck's Parents at Mbingo

Chuck's parents (Charlie and Ginger) have arrived safely and have been with us here at Mbingo for over a week.  They did have a cancelled flight, lost bags, and a change of airlines, but at least they made it safely.  They have been helping at the hospital, at home, and have been pushed in their hiking abilities.

This is all of us on a short hike down to the airstrip.  This was a welcome hike for Charlie after we took him on a grueling 6 mile hike to a waterfall a few days before.  He did well, but did drink almost a gallon of water on returning to the house!  You can see how happy Isaac is to have his Gigi and Dodad here to see him.

Charlie has been working at the hospital with Chuck.  This photo is from rounds on the men's ward.  In addition to Chuck and Charlie, you can see from left: Norah (resident), Alex (nurse practitioner student), Corine (house officer), and Irene (head ward nurse).  Each of the physicians sees half of the patients on the ward and then we have teaching rounds where we can see up to 32 patients on the ward.

 We have been seeing plenty of pathology at the hospital.  As always, TB is present in all its different forms.  This is a chest x-ray showing miliary TB, a life-threatening disseminated form of active tuberculosis.  Angela even diagnosed TB from a rash on a child's face.  We have also had plenty of hepatitis, which is good timing, since that is part of Charlie's specialty of Gastroenterology.

 This is Chuck doing an EGD with Charlie watching for esophageal varices (enlarged blood vessels in the esophagus).  Chuck has been doing some banding (using rubber bands to shrink the vessels) of the varices and was happy to have Charlie check his technique and give him new tips/tricks for this invasive procedure.

 Ginger has been working just as hard at home taking care of / playing with Isaac.  Isaac wakes up at 6am and does not slow down until bedtime, except for his nap.  This photo shows Gigi and Isaac picking leaves from the banana trees just a short walk from our house.

 Ginger and Isaac have also been watching for airplane or helicopters that occasionally fly over the hospital or even land to transport patients to the hospital.  This photos shows a helicopter that recently landed.  Sometimes the prop planes can bring a patient from as far away as Nigeria.

 A visit to our house at Mbingo would not be complete without a trip to get more chickens.  We recently ate our chickens and went to the poultry to get more chicks.  This is Charlie showing Isaac how to put them into the coop.

 As we mentioned above, Ginger and Charlie have been hiking with us too and have been enjoying the incredible surroundings that we live in.  This photo was from a hike to the "Knob" that gives a view of the hospital with the mountains around.  Despite being in the middle of rainy season, we have had mostly nice weather and have not been rained on during a hike yet!

Isaac in the "down dog" yoga position.  Having Chuck's parents here has allowed us to get a chance to exercise more.  Sometimes we do yoga and Isaac likes to copy us.  He has almost mastered the "down dog" position if he can just tuck that head in a little bit more.

We have seen God at work in many areas lately at the hospital.  We are constantly pushed to our human limits, but so often, God then makes his presence clear and provides for us and for our patients.  Thank you to each of you for your prayers and encouragement as we serve here at Mbingo.

Monday, August 6, 2012

6 Months

It has been 6 months since we moved to Cameroon.  We have had ups and downs for sure, but we know that God has put us here and we are grateful to be serving at Mbingo Baptist Hospital.  As always, thanks for following along with us.

Here is one of our miracle children. Princewill is a 18 month old child. He came in 2 weeks ago in severe respiratory distress. We initially thought he had a severe asthma exacerbation, but then began to suspect he had a foreign body in his lungs. Our ENT (airway specialist) was away at another hospital. For several days Princewill was critically ill and every day we were not sure if he would survive. However he stabilized and sat waiting for 10 days, until last Friday night. Our ENT surgeon had just returned and a few hours later Princewill again was in severe distress. Dr. Acha took him to the OR and removed multiple pieces of peanut out of both lungs. This is him post-surgery. He has been discharged home, and is doing great. God's provision was definitely over Princewill and His timing was perfect. 

We are happy to introduce you to our newest residents, Norah and Simo (from left).  They started work on August 1st and this was at the White Coat Ceremony on Thursday.  We gave them their new white coat, a new stethoscope, and a copy of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine.  They are standing with Tumi and Stephanie who started as residents halfway through the year last year.

 The White Coat Ceremony was a chance to celebrate the start of residency of our CIMS residents (internal medicine/pediatrics) alongside the new PAACS residents (surgeons).  Jim Brown spoke for the PAACS program.  Chuck gave a speech as the interim CIMS director and JR led the new residents in the Christian Physician's Oath.  The entire ceremony was a chance to encourage the new residents, set expectations, and have them commit to becoming the best physicians they can be.

 We also wanted to show you our house.  We mentioned before that we share a duplex with JR and Lindsay Young and this is the front of our half.  We have done a lot of work on the house and it really feels like home now.

 This is the back yard.  We had the outdoor covered area built onto the existing outdoor buildings.  You can also see our garden against the house, grass in the yard, and plants along the earth wall.  All of this replaced the dirt yard that was here before.  The chicken coop sits behind the outdoor building.  We eat most of our meals at that table outside and occasionally enjoy the firepit that we built from cement blocks.

 This is our living room.  The furniture is all made here by the carpenters and the cushions are made by the tailor.

 This is the kitchen.  The hospital was kind enough to put in a new gas stove and a new refrigerator before we arrived.

 This is our bedroom.  Most of the house was a blank slate with cement floors, cement walls, furniture and old curtains, so we have done the decorating since we arrived.

 Isaac is proud to show you his room.  It is usually decorated with as many toys as possible and train tracks running everywhere, but he was kind enough to allow us to clean it up for the picture.

Isaac continues to love to hike...or at least loves to ride in the pack while we hike. This was from a recent trip to the top of one of the mountains 2000 feet above our house with an incredible view of the valley.

Please pray for safe travels for Chuck's parents as they leave North Carolina on Thursday and will be at Mbingo on Saturday for 3 weeks.  We can't wait for them to arrive.