So far it has felt like Christmas here at Loma de Luz. Every day there is a new gift to unwrap and discover. Sometimes it has been in the form of flora and fauna, as we discover all the amazing critters and plants that live here. Often it has been the blessing of hospitality, encouragement, or provision by the other missionaries here. Other times the gifts are in the form of kind words from people back home who chime in to root for us. So we say to you all, family and friends, thank you.
So, I have been anxiously waiting to get to work down here. They wanted us to get acclimated and adjust to language, living situation, and climate before I started the job. But I was getting antsy, so I went down to the hospital to start learning’ stuff yesterday morning. I wandered through the pharmacy to see what drugs were in my arsenal. There were a lot of standards, but a few missing that I would have expected to be there. Sometimes there were 30 bottles, and sometimes there was 7 pills in an old container.
Next, I headed for the lab, to see what things I can test. This was very limited, I feel. For instance, on the one hand I can easily test for Malaria, Sickle cell, and parasites, I cannot check Hemoglobin A1c (a standard of care test in diabetes), or culture anything (which is a very common practice of growing a bacteria to identify what is causing an infection). So, there is a lot of guessing and shooting from the hip that has to happen.
As I left the lab, Dr. Peter grabbed me and said I had to see something. He took me into the ‘ER,’ which consists of three stretchers in a large room, and I found a sweet little baby girl swaddled in a blanket on the stretcher. She looked vigorous and healthy. Peter told me to unwrap her. When I exposed her lower body, I encountered something I had never seen before… A conjoined twin. Unfortunately, the twin was deformed and really a mess of limbs and parts. It’s intestines actually being on the outside of its body, it was not living. So the question was, how attached were these two babies and could they be detached. An X-ray showed quickly that it looked like they were separate, but unfortunately our sweet girl was missing a left hip. The final question was whether her intestines were separate. Very soon, Dr. Jeff was consulted, who is the founder of the hospital and ministry, and an incredibly capable surgeon. A call went out across the entire hospital and missionary compound to pray for this little gal, as she went into surgery.
Here is Dr. Jeff’s update after the surgery was complete:
Many of you were aware that this afternoon we had to do emergency surgery to separate a newborn from its blighted ( poorly developed, non-viable) conjoined twin. Iain did a CQ on the radio asking for prayer for both the surgery and anesthesia & that God would be glorified in the outcome. So, God was gracious & all went well. The baby is in the room recovering with mom & nursing. A little more prayer would be welcome, as she’s not quite out of the woods, but I think we can definitely see the edge of the trees.
Thank you for praying and thanks be to God for another great outcome, “better than we deserved”.
This was my first taste of what goes on at this hospital on a daily basis. Wow. I am humbled and continue to pray that I can serve a need, and be competent in the presence of some very talented people here.
On a fun note, last night I delivered my first baby in about 7 years. What amazed me was that there really isn’t a nurse available to help. Dr. Isaac and Dr. Maria were there to guide me. It went mostly smoothly. The mother’s IV wasn’t working properly, and since the nurse wasn’t there Isaac had to start a new one and give some drugs.
Uh, that’s like the nurses job, right? Which end do you stick that tube-thingy in? Sorry, I’m just the doctor, I don’t really do that IV stuff… Aren’t there some buttons you push on that Bag of fluid to make it come out. What, gravity? Oh, ok.
So, what I am learning is that if you want something done here for your patient, you have to do it yourself, usually. So, I’m going to get capable…
alright, I’ll keep you posted.
Here’s a few pics to peruse:
Lot’s o’ butterflies here.