Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Price of Success?

No rain for 48 hours. Could "the season of the short rains" be ending? Nan affectionately describes the climate here as "two seasons: mud and dust." I left the house early today to walk to the 7:30 AM communion service at St. Philip's (sermon: to those whom much is given, much is expected...) and then hitch a ride back for hospital rounds with Dr. Hardison. The Eucharist was made even more meaningful by the accompaniment of low, rhythmic voices and traditional instruments. It was a good morning to pray.

Yesterday afternoon was discouraging. A 13-year-old boy was brought to the hospital in acute cardiac distress and renal failure. He had been misdiagnosed and discharged from a nearby public hospital days ago and will probably not survive. Gerry quickly identified the child's condition but could not treat it here. The only alternative was to return send him and his family back to the admitting hospital with the proper diagnosis and pray that he could be diuresed before he died.

Another patient was happily discharged this morning after successfully meeting his TB challenge. Yet another new admission, a shivering man with an O2 sat of 88%, had to wait in bed, third in line (behind a 75-year-old woman with a 54% sat and four-month-old Peter with pneumonia) for the one portable oxygen tank we have.

This morning after rounds I resumed the PT I'd begun yesterday with two HIV-positive women. Their wasted quad muscles left them too weak to stand or walk, and walk they must before they can go home. Quite simply, no one else will be there to care for them. So this mzungu's (white person's) personal PT regime of last summer is being "passed on" from Martha's Vineyard to Maseno Missions. Thank you, Judy Athearn!

So many stories, so many successes -- and so many frustrations for Dr. Hardison and his staff. At chai/ tea (mostly hot water, sugar and milk -- no wonder it is popular!) in the matron's office, Gerry began to explain the scope of the hospital's programs. Much has been accomplished in just a few short years. He also explained some of the difficulties, ranging from lack of surgical staff to inadequate community services, from NGO and Anglican Church intersections with the Kenyan government to just plain poverty.

Maseno has become a model mission for the Episcopal Church; but even with the support of the national church, the Dioceses of San Diego and Massachusetts (and many other individuals), the Hardisons remain both hopeful and concerned about the future. Please keep them and this community of caring people in your prayers.

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