Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Peace Happens

Barack Obama made a historic speech in Cairo a few days ago. Entitled "A New Beginning," it addressed our commonalities and our differences around the globe. As a North American nurse working at an Anglican Church's mission hospital in Maseno, Kenya, I have felt blessed to witness our president's kind of peacemaking on an ongoing, daily basis. So have the nurses working at the Al Ahli Anglican Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel. And so have clinicians in mission hospitals everywhere.

Patients of every faith who come through our doors are treated with the same medicine and the same respect. Disease and injury know no boundaries, nor do our mission hospitals. I celebrate the continuation of medical services to all of God's children throughout the world. I celebrate all of you who have made that possible. And I celebrate people everywhere who may be inspired to make "a new beginning" and a more peaceful planet.

Over two years ago, 13-year-old Miriam was brought to the Outpatient Department at Maseno Mission Hospital by her mother. There are many clinics between Maseno and their home in Kisumu, 20 kilometers away, but Mama Miriam had heard about "Daktari Hardison" and had sought him out. Their traditional Muslim garb was the primary visible difference between the Somali women from Nyanza Province and their Christian Luo/Luhya counterparts here in Western Province. Medical needs are the same beneath our bui bui's, our kangas and our skirts. And medical needs are all that matter here.

Miriam was (and is) a beautiful girl who had suffered an apparent seizure at 8 months of age. She had met all her developmental milestones until the night she cried out in her sleep. Her mother found her lying in her crib with right-sided paralysis. Miriam's creeping was delayed after that, but she gradually recovered most of her motor function over the next year. She was left with only a slight limp and minimal residual right-sided weakness. Her social, intellectual and emotional development were unimpaired.

In 2007, Miriam began having intermittent seizures, evidenced by rigidity, then shaking, of her right arm and leg, and a brief loss of consciousness. After each seizure, she would fall asleep for several hours. Her mother then brought her to our hospital. Upon history and physical examination, Dr. Hardison determined that Miriam had suffered some type of event, perhaps at birth, that manifested 8 months later with epileptic focii, probably as a result of scar formation.

Miriam's course did not suggest a focal neoplasm or an infectious process. There was no CT scan available in western Kenya at the time, and her family could not have afforded one, anyhow. Her seizure disorder has been successfully managed by Dr. Hardison with Phenobarbital and Carbamazepine, the basic medications available to us. Miriam has been seizure-free since her initial visit. She returns to Maseno Mission Hospital for periodic checkups,with great gratitude and quite mutual affection. 

A happy, healthy child. Peacemaking at its finest.

1 comment:

Nancy Rowe said...

God bless you Dianne. I love reading your blog. God is using you mightily! See you in the fall!
Your WI friend