Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

Off to work we go... and went. The Monday "holiday" turned out to be a lengthy service of celebration that simply delayed the start of (everyone else's) shift, rather than provided a whole day off. Our morning and afternoon rounds were punctuated by three endoscopies instead of lunch, and we admitted several new patients. Two are beaten wives -- with head and rib wounds, respectively. We also treated a child who had been raped, and we admitted a 77-year-old self-described "peasant" who had cut her toenail too short last May. Hellen continued to work in her shamba/garden and neglected the developing infection for five months before coming for care. She will lose much of her left foot, as a result. At least she was spared a grisly death from tetanus. But who will feed her grandchildren?

A 12-year-old boarding school student was admitted late Sunday night after mixing a cup of Omo laundry detergent in water and ingesting it. He was discharged Monday afternoon in the care of his teacher who had insisted (without success) that we treat Samson for "cerebral malaria" because of his "bizarre behavior." The child had no fever and no malarial parasites. He did have a problem, however. In a private conversation, he told me that he'd been studying when some older students threatened to beat him. We talked quietly for awhile, and I asked his permission to explain his problem to the teacher. Samson agreed, so I invited Sister Aloys to talk with us.

She instantly scolded the student about how his hospitalization would incur financial expense for his mama. I explained that bullying was a serious problem all over the world, and that some schools now have curricula to address the problem. She did not respond. I reminded her that we see adults who have attempted suicide -- usually after domestic disturbances -- as often as once a week in our hospital. "We need to help Samson find another way to resolve this problem." Our three-way conversation concluded with her verbal assurance that he could report to his hostel supervisor's office if further difficulties should arise. In her heart of hearts, though, I know she still believes that Samson has untreated malaria.

A thunderstorm (still the season of the short-but-violent rains here) trapped us in the ward after rounds -- a "shower of blessing," indeed, since I was invited to comfort a beautiful healthy baby whose very sick mama was trapped by the same storm in our hospital lab just a few hundred yards away. It was lovely to hold a substitute grandie in my arms! And it was lovely to eventually get home to Rotary House to the company of Emmah and Jessica, our new YASC volunteer at St. Philip's. We shared a delicious dinner and mango pie. "God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good," as our Kenyan friends so faithfully chant.


Anna said...

I didn't realize when I left in April how much my heart would ache for Maseno and the people. Praying for you Dianne.

Anonymous said...

And to think that I am upset about lack of recess for Nico... I mean, it certainly does matter, but I am grateful that no one here would ever even consider berating him for a hospital stay.

Thinking of you. I am going to dig up your blog about the animals for Nadia to share at her preschool. Her teacher discusses "what's going on" in the world and looks at the map with them so I figured that that would be a neat way to connect her with her granny. Well, another neat way... again, today, the kids were playing a game where they took a trip to Martha's Vineyard to see you


Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny said...

Wish it weren't just a game... Wish they could come visit me in Kenya, too, and see the animals for themselves. Hugs & misses!