Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teaching Kids to Pray for Missionaries

We love to hear that your families are praying for us and we consider you partners with us.  I've found some resources that I thought might interest those of you who are praying for missionaries with your kids and wanted to pass them along.  None of these ideas are mine, but I selfishly would like for you to have them!

1.  The Missionary Toolbox

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Triage - by Erik

Every surgical and emergency medicine trainee learns the “ABCs” of the “primary survey”. It is a simple way to keep focused during the evaluation of a trauma patient. “Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability, and Exposure.” As any surgical trainee – past or present – will testify, these fundamentals are engrained upon your psyche as you manage patient after patient in the trauma bay. As simple as it is, I still remind myself of this basic approach with each patient because it’s amazing how easy it is to become distracted by the chaos surrounding a sick patient in the emergency department.

The other day, the surgical intern called me to ask for help with two multiply-injured ladies who had been brought by good Samaritans to our Casualty. Behind the red curtains separating patients in Casualty, I found these young women in serious condition with life-threatening injuries. As I ran through the “ABCs” in my head, I knew that at least one woman needed to have a breathing tube placed immediately – nothing else should come first. The logistical issues of getting a breathing tube and the necessary equipment became secondary to the question of what I would do with this woman if I did intubate her. While we are very fortunate here to have an ICU with ventilators, there is limited space, and if I intubated her now only to find that the ventilators were taken by patients with better chances of living then I’d be stuck having to make the ultimate triage decision. Before “Airway” comes “Availability of a ventilator.”

The same weekend, I was in the operating theater with an older man with multiple medical problems who needed an emergency operation. Just before induction of anesthesia, a resident from labor and delivery came to the OR because a pregnant woman needed an emergency Cesarean section. There was one anesthetist in house and our initial efforts to contact back-up help by phone and courier were unsuccessful. Standing over my patient in the OR, the anesthetist and I looked at each other both querying what we should do. “Who has the better chance of living?” The answer was clearly the young mother, not to mention the fact that in her case two lives were at stake. We decided to leave my patient on the OR table with someone watching him while the anesthetist readied another OR and I went looking for more anesthesia help.

These situations are far from unique and certainly not as dramatic as those that many other physicians in developing countries experience on a daily basis. In developed countries, terms like “access to care” and “limited resources” are bandied about by students and politicians alike in support of their own social agendas often without a realization of what people in the 2/3-world experience every day. Sub-Saharan Africa has a dire need for healthcare where “limited resources” may mean “no resources” for millions of people.

I am grateful and honored to have the opportunity to serve the sick and needy, to show the love of Christ, and to address the massive healthcare needs more broadly as I join others to train African physicians to increase the healthcare workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa. May God continue to glorify Himself in and through His church.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Meet Plan G

Those of you who know us well know that we aren't exactly animal people and we certainly are not cat people.  We have always said that we would NEVER own a cat, but I also said that I would never be a missionary in Africa so clearly I must eliminate the word "never" from my vocabulary.

After trying store bought mouse traps, homemade mouse traps and all kinds of trickery to catch our pesky mice we decided that desperate times called for desperate measures so we'd like to introduce you to our desperate measure named Rascal.

Right now the cat is scared of just about everything and we frequently find him hiding in our desk drawer so I'm not sure he is going to be the fierce mouser that we'd hoped for.  Our daughter is teaching him to shake and would like to get a leash for him so she can take him on walks.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is How We Roll

A few weeks ago we were able to purchase a van.  Since we do our grocery shopping in Nairobi (about an hour away), having a car is extremely helpful for us.  We have had to adjust to driving on the left side of the road as well as crazy Kenyan drivers and pedestrians.  Driving the highways of Kenya is never boring and it allows us to practically live out Paul's command to "pray without ceasing."  So far, I have not attempted highway driving, but stick to the bumpy roads of Kijabe.  Erik is actually quite good at navigating Nairobi traffic so I will let him take me grocery shopping for now.

We are so thankful for the generous gifts of our supporters and for God's gracious provision for us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Sorry I haven't blogged lately.  There hasn't been much worthy of writing about seeing that most of my day is spent at home trying to potty train a very strong-willed 2 year old.  But for those that are really interested, here are some examples of a typical conversation around here:

Me: Do you need to go to the bathroom?
2yo:  No, I already went.
I now realize that he is wet and am left to search the house for a puddle.

Me:  Do you need to go to the bathroom?
2yo:  No, I peed in the grass.
I guess that counts as progress??

Me:  Do you need to go to the bathroom?
2yo:  No.  I'm not going potty today.

Hopefully I can get Erik to come post something ministry related soon.