I’m a little later getting started tonight. But….I am clean and ready to go to sleep as soon as I’m done. I cannot tell you how wonderful the post-clinic shower feels. To get the sweat and grim off of you is amazing. So now I’m clean and ready to enjoy some rest. I hope. Last night, my phone rang at 12:40 am. I was sound asleep. It was wonderful. But the phone blasted and I answered it – because it was Bay Alarm. Like, I know what’s happening in E-20 at 2:40 pm on Labor Day? I told her where I was (without mentioning that I had put myself as last on the call list before leaving town) and she was apologetic. She said she’d note were I was until late September. But by then I was awake. Sleep is so precious….. Oh well, I managed to go back to sleep (until 3 am….). I did eventually go back to sleep again. Eventually. But I was awake well before my 6 am alarm. My roommate (Danny) didn’t have a clue about any of that. Oh the joys of being young.
Anyway, enough of that.
It was a cool morning – and foggy. Breakfast was good. This team is so punctual it is amazing. We are always on time (well, except for me) and happy (except for me….ha). I had a pancake with peanut butter (from Costco) and syrup. Real syrup. That’s twice in a row. Wow.
We made it to the clinic on time. It was pretty quiet, though. Most of the medical folks are more dribbling in than we would like. But herding volunteers from a different culture, can be a challenge. OK, well…it can be impossible. The line of patients outside was long. But none of the chairs had been filled yet at all. And a lot of these patients had registered on Monday before being sent home.
This was no Terrible Tuesday. It was actually pretty terrific. Things went smoothly The team works together really well. There were a few emergency cases (for which I am never called any more, like in the good old days). We have such an amazing nursing staff this year that they handle everything with professionalism and compassion. They are a great team. And larger than ever. That’s a good thing.
By break, folks has samosas and chipote….and then they were bringing around rolex (chipote with a fried/scrambled egg rolled inside). They are quiet delicious – and I guess they come with avocado or onions or tomatoes or whatever you’d like inside. These were delicious (I only had a bite of Lindsey’s) and a great introduction to a famous Ugandan dish. Where have they been for the past decade?
Malaria is a big issues this year in Uganda. The results of our tests are running at about 40% positive. That’s a huge increase for us. I don’t have today’s numbers yet, but I imagine that percentage won’t go down. So we get a couple of severe malaria cases in children every day. Therefor we ran out of the injectible/IV medicine for malaria (Artemether). With the crisis, we decided to reorder. That’s our first re-order of this year, and hopefully the last. We ordered pretty carefully this year. So we shall see. Malaria medications are something that can really make a difference in the lives of people.
We have about a full black tub of malaria tests – and Becky from Kiwoko Hospital brought us a whole fresh supply. And drugs (valuable). They are provided free from the government I guess – news to me. But we will save a good supply for next year and donate the rest of Life Medical. They can use it.
Power was down most of the morning. They cranked up their generator, which provides power to everything on campus except – the computers/modem in The Container. And the surgical center. They were quite frustrated out at the surgical center – they had a full day of surgeries planned but couldn’t get started until noon (when the power came back on). They would have operated by flashlight (torch), but they had to move the autoclave to a location with power, and that took a while. So poor Becky was so disappointed – and the poor patients – wow. They decided to stay and do surgeries until 8 pm or 10 pm tonight. They could still be working now. That’s a commitment to their patients – and their craft.
The Container came and stole our modem (theirs requires power, ours does not). So they could keep track of the inventory. We were without our link to the world in the hub of the clinic (the main admin office) for a couple of hours. We survived. Well, actually we used the powered modem since we had power. That’s why it went so well, we remained connected to the world. That’s important while you all are asleep, right?
The day went along fairly normally. Lunch at 2. I went a little late so there were slim pickings….but they soon brought me my own plate of chicken and chipote. I shared with Lindsey. I put out a few fires. I didn’t start any, which is nice.
We did have to Fastrack all the pediatric patients today – or the doctors were going to leave. We kept the rooms full until the end. But the doctors left early anyway. We tried.
The patient line had basically dried up by just after noon. So we closed the doors and spent the rest of the day treating the patients already on campus. Getting everyone cared for took the rest of the day. Malaria IV’s. Cephtriaxone IV’s. Some sick children – and the malaria treat requires three shots each 12 hours apart. So we put in an IV, give the drug. Send them to the hospital with the medication for 12 hours later. And then they return to us 24 hours later for the final dose. We shall see if they return tomorrow or not. For the sake of the children, I hope so.
To be here during a malaria crisis is certainly a huge blessing to the people. Not sure what they would have done or found help. They will do something I suppose. I mean, we won’t be around next week.
The fog which began the day burned off by mid-morning. It gave way to a pretty warm couple of hours. And that means rain. It threatened it most of the afternoon, but it never rained until probably 4:30 or so. Triage was well done by then (they closed before 3 pm). It was a nice rain – and most just ducked under cover and waited it out. It brought cool refreshing breezes, so that was nice. We loved it.
By 5:30 we were on the bus and headed for home. The Donela bus is really nice – best bus we’ve ever used. Bar none. We are now a team of 21, Jeremiah Davis (our videographer) arrived about 2 am this morning, after a long series of plane rides. Honolulu to LAX (six hours at home). LAX to Amsterdam to Kigali to Entebbe. That’s a lot of time in the air. I think he went straight to be after dinner. I don’t blame him.
Tomorrow is officially “hump day” – but really today is the half-way point. Things are going well and the team is working together better than ever. It’s so nice. I’m getting sleepy so I probably ought to wrap this up (besides, no one but my family will want to read something this long).
These are the best moments of the day. The fan is on. I’m under my mosquito net in my jammies – and I am clean and full. I will soon turn on some tunes and shove my earbuds into my ear. Spend some time in prayer and reflection on you – and the great God we serve.
Tomorrow it starts all over again. Why? Only, as John puts is, “For the sake of the Name.”