Our time at Mbingo on this trip is quickly coming to an end, but a lot has happened in the past few weeks.
These are the 4 new CIMS (internal medicine residency) residents. From the left, their names are: Sih Colette, Kafoe Samuel, Epande Richard, and Sunday David. Colette, Richard, and David are all Cameroonian and graduated from the new medical school in Buea, Cameroon. They were pictured in the White Coat Ceremony from the last blog post. Samuel is from Sierra Leone and just arrived yesterday to Mbingo. It always takes some time to get the necessary paperwork to travel between African countries, but we are happy he has made it. He represents a big step for the CIMS program - he is the first resident that we have accepted from outside of Cameroon. Like the other residents, he will train at Mbingo for 4 years, but at the end, instead of working here in Cameroon, he will return to Sierra Leone to serve the people there.
This is a picture of the new ICU at Mbingo. It is functional now and Chuck has been rounding with Dr. Albert (3rd year CIMS resident pictured) on the critically ill medical patients. The ICU allows better nursing oversight and monitoring, improved respiratory support, and dopamine infusions for shock. In addition, we have treated 3 patients (2 adults and 1 child) with peritoneal dialysis in the past 6 weeks and this care is delivered in the ICU.
One of the benefits of returning to Mbingo regularly is getting to see patients in follow-up. We wanted to share one miraculous story of healing here. This is a picture of a little girl who came to Mbingo all the way from Gabon (south of Cameroon) who presented at 4 months of age with a massive vascular tumor of her right shoulder and chest (likely a kaposiform hemangioendothelioma for the medical folks). The tumor was consuming all of the little girl's red blood cells and platelets and causing her to have trouble breathing. She required several blood transfusions and we ultimately treated her with chemotherapy, steroids, and a year long course of propranolol. She was critically ill, but survived.
Angela got to see her again on this trip to Mbingo and this is her now! She is currently 2 years old, she has had no further tumor complications, and is doing very well.
Chuck has also been rounding in the female ward. As you can see the beds have been full and even overflowed to the orthopedic ward last week - 30+ patients! Dr. Ernest (2nd year resident pictured on the right) has done a great job of teaching the first year residents and helping the house officers on daily rounds.
Last weekend we hosted the CIMS residents and spouses to our house for dinner. It was great to spend time together and enjoy some non-medical conversation. It is always inspiring to hear where they each came from to get to where they are today. God has had a hand on each of their lives. We had the hospital kitchen make jellof rice and chicken for the dinner (local favorites) and Helen baked her famous chocolate chip cookies.
This is Isaac going with Angela to the children's ward to give out some gifts. He gave bouncy balls, toy cars, and crayons with paper. He wasn't sure about the ward at first, but then opened up and was excited to go back a few more times. The kids on the ward are always happy to see him and to get some toys!
Isaac has also been busy doing some incredible hiking on Saturdays. Two weeks ago, he hiked to the "Back Waterfall". It is a 7 mile hike with 1500 feet of climbing that starts at 5000 feet. Chuck was amazed that he made it there and back and the last 45 minutes was in driving rain. Last Saturday, Isaac hiked to the top of "Half Dome" (pictured) which is a 6.5 mile hike with 1000 feet of climbing. All of this and he just turned 5 years old this week!
Ben has been having a great time here as well. This shows him after church getting some help from a Cameroonian boy in catching grasshoppers. The older boys helped him get a good hold on them. His other favorite activity continues to be digging in the dirt with what he calls his "trouble" (aka "shovel").
We also had a snake at the very edge of our yard. A man saw it while digging a hole and killed it. It was not very big, but he thought it was poisonous. After it was dead, Isaac and Ben got a good look at it.
Angela's Dad, Mike Kimbrell, has been here with us for the past 3 weeks. He is an internist and has been rounding on the men's ward each day. After rounding, he has been helping watch the boys the rest of the day. Isaac and Ben have loved having Papa here! He will be traveling back to the US with us as well which will really help on the plane and through the airports.
We are heading back to Charlotte soon so we look forward to seeing our family there, but we will miss our family here at Mbingo. We are already planning to return to Mbingo in the spring!