Friday, September 10, 2010

What a trip!

We have been given the privilege of working in the clinic in Migori with the Kenya Relief team. But before I tell you about our time there I must tell you about the trip to Migori. We got up at 3am and were on the road by 3:30am. We had packed food for the journey, boiled eggs, scones (later given a name change by Abba, “hockey pucks”, popcorn, and of course Chai. Beatty got up when we did to make the chai for our trip. We hadn’t gotten far when Joy realized the thermos had leaked. When she picked it up all but ½ a cup had disappeared into the side step of the van. We couldn’t even find the lid. So abba emptied the thermos since he was the only one that wanted any at that moment. We rode on for about an hour when George suddenly pulled onto the side of the road, leaned his seat back and closed his eyes. We couldn’t believe he got us up at 3am to drive for an hour and then sleep. We asked what he was doing and laughed so he decided to go a little further. It was a cold night we were shivering to try to get warm. Half hour later he stopped again so we let him doze for about 15 minutes. He said he didn’t know why he was so tired. I think taking care of mzungus for 3 weeks might have something to do with it. I pulled out my Withania (Medi Herb energy pill) and gave him 2 tabs. We drove on over very bumpy roads that rearrange your insides. We finally got to Kissi where we were promised a nice hot cup of chai to warm our chills. There we found a familiar Tea Hotel. The nice man at the gate let us in. George went in to find out when we could get some tea. He came back and said they don’t open until 7am, it was 5:50am. Now we have to decide whether to wait or go on. George assured us there were no other places to go between here and Migori. We waited a while. We voted George should go back in and talk the hotel man into making us some tea. He has Nathanael’s gift of talking people into things. Didn’t work this time though, but he did find out where we could go to get tea. We went a little farther into town to a little hole in the wall place and got some very hot tea. We were grateful and were ready to continue our trip, the Withania and 4 cups of tea got George going pretty well by now. The sun was rising and the scenery was beautiful! Tea plantations went on for miles.

We finally arrived at the Brittany Home of Grace without car problems or getting lost. We were ever so grateful to be there. We were greeted by Alice who manages Kenya Relief from this side. She is a very hospitable, stately lady given to take care of the needs of those who come to help her people. George and Abba left us in our cozy bunk room and headed back to Nakuru to meet Pastor Daniel from India.  We were there before the rest of the team so we took a tour made ourselves at home and rested a bit. Bryan (nurse anesthetist) and Emily (photographer, and friend of Steve James family)  arrived next and offered to take us across the street to see the clinic. K.R. has about 45 acres of land with a highway dividing the 5 acres where the orphanage is and the rest is for clinic, farming, and a future hospital. Little did we know we would be packaging pills. It was a good time to chat and get to know each other a bit. We later welcomed the rest of the team, Dr. John Roberts, (pediatrician), Dorothy, Emily, and Lauren (pharmacy students), and Josh (chemical engineer). This was a very diverse team and a small one compared to others. We went to church on Sunday and visited a widow with 6 kids K.R. supports. By this time I wasn’t feeling too good but I assumed I was just tired from the trip. I went to bed early every night and missed out on some of the evening social time. 
Monday morning was our first clinic day. We didn’t exactly know what to expect but felt comfortable. The team was very relaxed and created a non stress environment. We arrived to see hundreds of staring, pleading eyes that seemed to say, “can you, will you, help me?”  We greeted them with smiles and Jambo’s  (hello’s). Knowing some would be waiting all day to be seen. I was assigned to Gyn/adult assessment room with Beatrice, a Kenyan nurse. I really had no idea what I was doing. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any medical care and never in a foreign country. I said a little prayer and rested in knowing God would give me what I needed. Beatrice was very sweet and helpful. She had a cold and wasn’t feeling well and the colicky pains in my stomach interrupted my train of thought on more than one occasion. So we were the sick treating the sick. We worked together well. She deferred to me which was a humbling experience since I knew she was very capable of doing this without me. We saw a lot of infectious diseases – malaria, parasites, fungal, viral, bacterial – gave out a lot of meds, counseled and prayed with them. One particular woman came to us with a lower abdominal mass, nausea, fullness, backache. When I examined her it was obvious she was pregnant! We did a pregnancy test to confirm it. Now that was fun! This same scenario happened again the next day. I have stories to tell that wouldn’t be appropriate to put in a blog, so we will talk laterJ

 I took a break from my room and went to watch Caroline in the pediatric room. The timing was perfect. Her patient was a baby and nursing mom who had a serious case of thrush. Caroline looked to me so I suggested nystatin drops for the baby and mom and vinegar water to cleanse with and stop the passing of the thrush back and forth.
Back to my room. Another patient had all the symptoms of sciatica. I had her lie on her back and showed her exercises to relieve the pressure on the nerves. Beatrice thought I was crazy at first. It was hard for her to interpret so I just laid down on the table and showed her how to do the exercise. Now that was comical. But it helped. A little while later we had another patient with back pain and Beatrice started explaining to her the exercises. Many have back pain, hip pain and neck pain from the work they do bending and carrying water and things on their heads. But you can’t tell them to take a couple weeks off work. They would starve.
Overall I believe I got a better picture of what we want to do in Nakuru. The clinic was interesting. I gave out A LOT of antibiotics. These people have very bad infections and a real need for medication. There’s plenty of access to medical care in Nakuru but to educate and teach wellness is needed.  I want to do a wellness clinic to try and teach them how to stay healthy. Herbs have a bad reputation here because of all the abuse by shaman ‘witch doctors’ so I will just teach nutrition and vitamins, exercise and body mechanicsJ  A prenatal clinic would be good too because many of them don’t go until they’re almost due. Anyway it gave me a lot to think about.
After 2 twelve hour days I was exhausted and realized something was going on inside. I going to blame it on the boiled egg I ate on the way here. Being as careful as possible doesn’t guarantee you won’t get something. I got on some antibiotics to get rid of whatever the cause of my distress. Thank you for your prayers. I’m finally feeling normal again.
Love to all!

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