It's been a busy morning at Maseno Mission Hospital. After rounds, Dr. Hardison worked up a very sick new patient: a 28-year-old emaciated male with multiple abdominal masses. Rabson has lost 15 pounds in the past three weeks and is too weak to stand. Fortunately, he was also too weak to refuse admission for very long and ultimately allowed us to put him into a bed. We await with concern the test results that should determine his diagnosis: TB vs. lymphoma -- hopefully the former so he can more effectively be treated.
En route to the ward with our patient at noon, I caught a glimpse of the small black and white TV high on the wall of the waiting room/covered portico. To my surprise, I began to choke up. A fuzzy aerial view of the White House was pictured on the screen, and local news broadcasters were beginning to cover America's Inauguration Day in Kiswhahili. (We are eight hours "ahead" of D.C. here, so it was precisely eight hours prior to President Barack Hussein Obama's swearing-in ceremony.) Spirits are as high in our small rural Kenyan hospital compound as they could be in any massive urban American inaugural ballroom.
We are wearing Obama stickers today; they were kindly provided by our visitor, Marie Williams, from Chatham, MA. I am also wearing a hand-me-down Obama t-shirt from daughter Kate beneath my lab coat. In honor of the occasion, Dr. Hardison bought ground nuts (peanuts) for everyone to share with morning chai in Matron's office. And Linet and her mother Mary have generously invited me to their house after dinner to watch the swearing-in ceremony on their TV. (Outpatient's screen will be locked up long before 8 PM.) I've warned them that I will probably spend the evening in tears.
"We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; that there may be justice and peace on the earth" (from "Prayers of the People," Form III, The Book of Common Prayer).