After morning rounds, we headed off. "Bruiser," the elderly Land Cruiser, broke down en route in Luanda, so Nan came to our rescue with the "new" van. The clinic began a little late, but we saw all the kids and their guardians by 1:30 PM. Linet was my interpreter, and by far the better clinician. We assessed and referred patients with headaches, fever, hypertension, coughs, head lice, intestinal worms, arthritis, tinea (ringworm) and "jiggers" -- a painful, disfiguring and sometimes life-threatening problem caused by tunga penetrans. (When people try to dig out the mites, they potentially share HIV/AIDS, as well as a common pin.)
The preferred treatment is repeated chemical soaking. A tub is set up at every clinic, and the kids line up to "dance."
We shared in handwashing, prayers and a meal of githeri , large crunchy kernels of maize mixed with beans. Many of the kids quietly tucked a little extra githeri into plastic bags for their siblings at home.
Little Diana was discharged during afternoon hospital rounds today. Her fever -- still of unknown origin: the malaria smear was negative -- has subsided, and her small ulceration has simply been treated with Vaseline, to suffocate the now-suspected screwfly larvae within. Two outpatients were treated and released following an early-morning RTA (Road Traffic Accident). Thugs had apparently blocked a main road with rocks in the dark, causing a bus to roll over. One fatality was reported.
Next summer will also, hopefully, see another delivery of Lions Club eyeglasses. Many of our diabetic patients, in particular, have badly-impaired vision due to retinopathy. When asked if he could read his glucometer, one man shrugged and pointed to his wife: "She's my eyes," he said. In a place where the resources and supplies are meager -- from surgeons to eyeglasses, from IV poles (2 per ward) to thermometers (1, with luck), from oxygen to blood for transfusions -- healing continues to take place, with attentive medical care and by God's grace.
Tonight Nadia, a young medical student from South Africa, came to join our Rotary House family for the month. It is lovely to have her company.