(week 2) Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s off to LaLa we go…
Today was a pretty average day until Sean and I did a home visit. Two men had arrived at the clinic in the morning and one said that his mother’s legs had been burned the prior week. They stated that they were unable to bring her to Catel on a bike due to her burns and cars are unable to get to their village. We arranged for Sean and I to go to their village (Lala) around 4pm with a man from the church who was heading out there to do evangelism.
Note: when they say its 2 miles, they mean 2 miles from the road, as the crow flies. Which on a bike from your current location is actually more like 5-6 miles, most of that being through loose sand.
- Riding a bike in a long skirt while remaining modest…. a little tricky, but doable.
- Riding an old-school “grandpa bike” with a huge seat and Harley style handle bars, not the easiest to steer, but not that bad once you get the hang of it.
- Biking through loose sand is pretty tricky and something that I will need a lot of practice at, but I can swing it when I have to.
HOWEVER, riding a grandpa bike, through “the bush,” in a grandma skirt, with a hiking pack heavy with supplies is much easier said than done!
Moving forward, after riding through the bush, through a couple villages, through more bush, then a narrow path across a rice field, then a sketchy bridge across part of a rice field, stopping in a village to visit family of the man with us, quickly seeing 2 patients there, then across more rice fields and across the Senegalese border, voila, we were there in no time!
When we arrived in Lala we were excitedly greeted by the patient’s family. They ushered us to a corner of the yard in front of the house where an elderly woman was perched on a characteristic squatty wooden stool fanning her foot with feathers as another family member poured water over her foot. Well, what was left of it. We came to find out that this woman had seized and fell into the fire about 10 days prior. The wound looked awful but her overall health was remarkable warranting the environmental conditions, how long it had been since the burn, and the extensive bone and tissue damage to her right foot and left calf. I will attempt to upload some pictures at some point when I have a faster internet connection.
This is just an example of some of the house calls we’ve been attending. I also attended to a little boy thought to be around 16 months old who presented with decreased LOC, decreased PO intake, fevers QHS, retractions, tachypnea, and tachycardia. He appeared to be teetering on the edge of respiratory failure. For my non-medical friends I will put the prior sentence into English for you: he was tired, not eating, feverish and had a lot of trouble breathing. He couldn’t even hold his own head up during the first 24 hours we were treating him. With some albuterol, antibiotics, Tylenol, frequent ORS feedings, and LOTS of prayers… within 72 hours little Augusto was sitting on his mother’s lap eating mushy rice and yabbering at me in infant Kriol! God is so good! J
When we first started carrying for this little guy I struggled with how I would react and care for the family if the little one didn’t pull through. I also began to struggle with my own limitations due to experience and available resources. It was difficult to accept that my best may not be enough. My team was incredibly supportive and not only listened but prayed with me through many of these times. We prayed for God to give me wisdom in treating him and that God will help him to get better. We spent most of the prayer time asking that all those involved could have peace and rest in assurance knowing that our heavenly father cares about Augusto more than me, his mother, or anyone else does. I prayed that I could have peace knowing that God is the only life giver, not I, not any physician with years of experience or even the newest medications and technology, but our heavenly father. God is good all the time, and He’s reminded me again and again to give thanks in all things, because when we are seeking Him, He uses all things for His glory. We give thanks that God not only is giving Augusto more and more strength each day and that he has been able to return to his home village with his mother, but also for everything that he is teaching and growing up in us. We are here, we are well, we are blessed. Eucharistio!