Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Back from Rushere

We have been busy doing a community clinic in Rushere for the past 3 months……wait a minute, it was only two days.  I am just exhausted, so it seemed longer.  We are on our way home now in the “Redneck Ministry Machine”.  It was formerly called the “Ministry Machine”, but since we had 11 team members for this trip and only 10 seats, we purchased another seat.  This is not just any chair, it is a white plastic lawn chair.  It is placed in between the two seats on the 3rd row.  I have the pleasure of sitting in the redneck chair while typing this blog.
The Ministry Machine!
Redneck Chair addition

 We joined a team from Sugar Land, Tx, as they have an ongoing relationship with the Rushere Community Church there.  Rushere is about 40 minutes off of the paved road, and to get to the church, we had to drive through a pasture for a mile or so.  The church building had about 2/3 of the roof covered with sheet metal, no sides and dirt floors. 

Jayne with Eddie in front of the church.  Both are ready for the NBA Western Conference Finals!

The church set up a tent for patient waiting. 

We saw 200 patients on Monday and 340 today. 

Like many of the rural community clinics that we have done, we saw many people that were especially sick.

 I saw a 2 year old girl, named Mercy, that was small for her age.  She was very fearful of Mzungus and kept her head hidden from me and would start to scream anytime that I touched her.  She caught my eye, because she had clubbing of her fingertips.  This is usually seen in people with chronically low oxygen levels.  I suspected that she would have a heart problem, but I could not hear a murmur, at least not through the screaming.  Her mother said that she had a low appetite and seemed to prefer to eat soil over food.  This is called “pica” and is sometimes seen with iron deficiency.  So there is a possibility that the clubbing could be related to a severe anemia.  Since this was a chronic problem, we wrote a referral and advised that she go to the hospital for more testing.  His mom did follow through on this and came back to the clinic today with an x-ray.  This showed a severely enlarged heart and some fluid on her lungs.  Dr. John (one of the local doctors in Rushere) said that even after Mercy was quiet in the hospital, he could not hear any murmurs.  Dr. John will continue this work up.  If Mercy requires a service in Kampala, he will contact me and transfer her to our care there.

Joseph saw a lady named Juliet.  She is 30 years old and was quite ill with what we are convinced will be malaria.  She has been sick for several days and unable to eat the last few days.  David and Jill delivered Juliet to the hospital this morning in the “Redneck Ministry Machine/ambulance”.  When Jill returned, to the hospital, this afternoon, Juliet was still there, but had not even had a malaria test yet.  This was icing on our frustration cake that we consumed yesterday (more on this in a minute).  She is usually healthy, and provided she receives appropriate care, she should improve.  We used some Due Unto Others funds to pay for her hospitalization and treatment.

Joseph saw another patient today named Fenix. 
Fenix with his mother and Pastor Gerald

He is 3 months old and quite skinny.  Mom states that he has decreased appetite.  He looks severely malnourished, but the reason is not clear.  Mom is breast feeding, but we also saw her feeding the baby from a sippy cup.  This was filled with cow’s milk.  I think that this could be contributing to the malnourishment.  Working with the Sugar Land team, a local Dr. (Abdul), and the local pastor, we will send Fenix to Mbarrara next week to have an evaluation by a pediatrician to work up the cause of his problem.

I saw a 10 year old boy named Nathan. 

He limped up to my station with his left leg very swollen from the knee down.  It had several areas that pus was draining from the shin.  This problem had started 10 months ago, and had not improved.  Jill, David, Jared and Jayne took him on another run to the hospital.  They were joined by Jennifer, a NICU nurse that was in Rushere with the Sugar Land team.  Nathan had an x-ray that showed that the infection involved the bone (osteomyelitis). 

He will require a surgery to clean out the leg, and months of IV antibiotics.  This would be difficult to heal in the US, but short of supernatural healing, will likely end up with an amputation here.  Dr. John will be looking after him and referring him, as needed.  We again used Due Unto Others funds to pay for his hospitalization, procedures and medications.

Dr. Abdul saw a boy named Kenneth.  He is 8 years old but looks like he is about 4.  He has a low appetite and does not like to run and play with other children.  He gets short of breath with most any activity.  He has a heart murmur bad enough that you can feel it on his chest and hear it with your stethoscope just near him.  He likely has a septal defect, in his heart, that needs further evaluation and possible heart surgery.  Dr. Abdul has arranged for a nurse to travel with Kenneth and his mother to Mbarrara on Thursday to have an echocardiogram and EKG done.  He will then see a cardiologist in a private clinic there.  Dr. Abdul will follow up Kenneth, in his office, to get those results and see what needs to happen next.  The Sugar Land team will be paying his expenses for this evaluation and his initial medicines.  If he needs open heart surgery, it would surely be at Mulago, our new home away from home.

It is stressful and tiring to see so many community members with health problems.  Many of them we can help with our simple medicines that we carry.  Others are VERY ill and have been so for years.  They have not had care because they have been unable to navigate or afford the healthcare system in Uganda.  Even though we fatigue, we have to stay vigilant to not miss the “sick one” that could die without intervention.  Many lives were touched during this 2 day outreach.  People made professions of faith, people were made well with medication, prayers were answered, and the local church was strengthened in the community.  I pray that all of these things brought glory to Christ.

Even sicker than any of these mentioned in the blog, is my new friend David.  He is 9 months old and has severe malaria and pneumonia.  His story is complicated and taught me about God’s love and pursuit of us.  This interaction is what gave us the frustration that I referred to earlier.  I will tell about him in my next blog!

Please pray for the community of Rushere.  Please pray for Rushere Community Church.  Please pray for all 540 patients that we saw there, but especially pray for those named in this blog.  They need supernatural intervention!

Your support, in so many ways, allowed us to be in Rushere this week.  Your financial support has allowed us and is allowing us to make a difference with these very sick people.  They will see a demonstration of God’s love through the ability to get needed healthcare.

From the Redneck Ministry Machine,


1 comment:

  1. That chair must bring back memories from the old laundry van! It was always a treat to "get" to ride in it! lol It sounds like another busy week. I hope you will get a little rest before we arrive! Love to all and will see you soon!! Mom