Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A little chicken, a knife, and dinner!

So I just wanted to share with you all a very traumatic experience of my life.  So traumatic in fact that I am surely convinced that I will need serious therapy and plenty of coca cola! ( c : Well, if that previous sentence wasn't dramatic enough... I'll show you the pictures and let them speak for themselves.  If you are into animal protection/rights... then this might be a post to avoid.  Here goes....

Doing my hair in preparation for the killing.  

In order to kill a chicken... you have to have a chicken 
And you have to have a knife. 

And you have to position the animal just right... was worried about hurting his feet and wings.  

Trying to balance myself and ensuring that the chicken wasn't in pain.  (Talk about denial!!)

trying to psych myself up to kill the little chicken.  Was so hoping there was an alternative.  

But there wasn't.  Dinner was calling!  
And so back to business..... 
And up from business... BREATHE... and prepare... What am I about to do?  The poor chicken.... 

And back to business.... And at just about this moment... the chicken made a desperate plea for life... and well, the rest is history..... absolute history..... 

I surrendered..... Handed off the knife and 


 ran around...... 

and while I was running around... Sam took over.  I mean, there was chicken to eat.  

I gave the chicken an empathetic throat grab.... 

while the chicken died.  

And then I rejoined just in time to.... 

pluck off the feathers.... 

I promise I was careful as I removed all those feathers.... 
 And well.... after all this drama... it was time for a coca cola.

and not just ONE coca cola.... but a whole bunch! 

And that is the story of one little chicken.  I can tell you right now that that chicken didn't taste so good that night.  I mean... as I chewed, I kept thinking of the chicken that had been VERY much alive hours earlier. And well, maybe next time.... I will be intentional about NOT being present at all during the slaughter of the chicken.  

And that is a day in my life.....  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A smiling young lady with a FIXED heart!!!!!

Well, the first of the girls needing heart surgery is out of surgery and doing well! Monday evening, I received a message that Adong Betty was supposed to be at the hospital.... then... for surgery Tuesday morning.  The problem with receiving the message at that time was that I was sitting at the dinner table at New Hope and Adong Betty was still at her home in Kobwin... a 10 hour journey by bus AWAY from Mulago Hospital.  The hospital had called Adong Betty's uncle and attempts to contact me had failed because my phone while on and seemingly connected to the network was not accepting phone calls.... BUT it all worked out.  Adong Betty, her mom, brother, and uncle made it to the bus in record time.  I did a lot of last minute things and headed out from New Hope to Mulago hospital early the following morning.  We arrived and the staff at Mulago hospital were and have been amazing.  As we were settling her in completing necessary paperwork, starting her IV, and getting her settled into her bed... I stepped away briefly....  and in the process, I saw this sign....                                                  
And what caught my eye was the line that said "Riley Children's Hospital".  And I paused... because this hospital is from my state...... a hospital where I had helped in the transfer, on several occasions, of children needing more specialized care.  What a small world!  And though it's not the hospital I worked at back in Indiana... it does feel a little bit of home meeting my new home here.  The coming together of two worlds.  And Riley is a GOOD hospital... and their staff along with medical professionals at Mulago.... worked on little Adong!  It's neat! 

And so much of yesterday was waiting around.  Betty was scheduled for surgery at 3 PM.  It was a long wait for her...and though there were times where she was anxious..... she was also restful and responsive to the care and love from her momma and your truly.  At 3:30, the doctor came in with bad news and good news.... good news being that she could eat and bad news that surgery would be postponed till the morning.  Adong was relieved and I was totally content with the news.  There is a gift in having a surgeon (or surgeons) who have a fresh mind after a nights sleep over one who has been doing surgery all day.   And as I left yesterday afternoon, Adong was drinking and eating.... and smiling.  

This morning, surgery started just a few minutes before 8.  After about 2 hours, we were told that everything had gone well and that she was in the ICU.  Momma Adong went back first and was able to see her daughter and just be with her.  A while later, her momma sent me back.  And what I found was a sleeping girl with GREAT vitals.  
Sleeping off the anesthesia

BP good, oxygen good.. and pulse rate good.  A few irregular beats...but nothing alarming

And as she rested.... I celebrated HIS faithfulness to HIS little girl  He is the God who Heals.

And then little Adong started waking up.  And as she did... the smiles came.  We played with my camera, we played with the little stuffed beanie baby the staff had given her.... and it was good.... very, very good.  

  And then her momma served her some tea.  Laying flat (necessary for a period of time after a cath procedure) can make drinking tea a little challenging.  Her momma patiently fed her baby girl...some tea.   Momma Betty knows that so many have been praying and that people have given generously.  Her face glows.  Her baby girl has been given a huge gift and in the process, their spiritual hearts have been touched in AMAZING ways! 

Thank you for giving so generously.  Thank you for praying so faithfully for this one young girl. Her life will never be the same. 

Thank you.  And Thank You Jesus for providing for your baby girl.  Thank you for being in and ahead of ALL The details.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Heart Surgery.....TIMES two... in 24 hours!

This afternoon, I watched something absolutely beautiful happen.  I write that sentence and then I keep writing and before I know it I delete everything.  And the sentence that keeps coming is the very one that starts this particular blog entry.  This afternoon, I watched something absolutely beautiful happen.  And then, I am not sure how I should continue.  I am still processing.  Still taking it in.  Today, I met a little girl named Gina.  This little girl is VERY sick.   I have had the honor of being present with many people as they breathed their last breath. I would say that those moments have been some of the most humbling experiences of my life... a gift without measure. I've bathed, medicated, turned, and whispered His messages of hope, love, and life into the ears of individuals struggling to take in a simple breath.  Death is not new to me.  And yet, my flesh struggled today.  I sat on a bed rubbing the head of a six year old girl that, without immediate medical care, would undoubtably die.  I mean DIE.  This little girl isn't sick from cancer  or some other terminal disease.  She has a disease that with medical care, is survivable. Her bill was racked up at the hospital and so in fear, her mom didn't bring her back.  Her palms are nearly as white as paper and her little legs are so swollen.  Two large pressure ulcers the diameter of golf balls on her hips.  As a clinic, we watched as God directed His children to give financially.  We surrounded this little girl and her mom.  We sat and we prayed.  And I watched as Jesus led and prompted.  He wanted his baby girl to know that she was not alone and that He was WITH her.  She prayed with a voice barely audible asking Jesus into her heart.  This was the sweet connection between Jesus and His daughter.  And those of us in that room had the humbling opportunity to watch. And watch we did.  And it was beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  Even in the pulling of the flesh... the seemingly unfairness of it all... the questions... the pain.... Jesus was right there.  He was performing a Heart Tranplant in the sick bay of a small clinic in Uganda all the while ensuring that His attendants stood up.  Because in Him, we can stand strong.  I can stand strong.  I don't understand why this girl is so sick or why to a million other questions... but what I do know is that My Jesus is REAL and He is ACTIVE and HE IS ABSOLUTELY PRESENT in this world.  Gina may die a physical death, but I can assure you that today she had Life breathed into her.  She left headed to the hospital.  To get medical care.  And I pray Jesus heals her physically.  But either way, I choose to rest... because He's got His little girl.  Here or there, He's got her.  And He's got me.  And that's beautiful.  In a deep sorta way.  

And without having much time at all to process sweet Gina.... 

I got a call at 7:15 PM tonight letting me know that sweet Adong Betty will be having surgery in the morning!!! This is GREAT and EXCITING news... and it comes with a request for a lot of prayer.  The hospital called someone earlier today requesting that Betty come to the hospital by this evening.  The only hiccup in the situation was that the message didn't get passed along and Betty lives about a 10 hour journey from the hospital.  And so the adventure for this little girl continues.  I'll be leaving at 5 in the morning to meet her at the hospital and be with her as she goes in for surgery, comes out, and recovers in the hospital.  I ask you to join me in praying for this little girl and for ALL the details.  And God-willing less than 15 hours from right now, her heart will be repaired.  

I'll keep you all posted.  Trusting that I will be able to get a message out tomorrow night... if not, I will get one out as soon as I can.  

Isaiah 43:1-3a

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you o Jacob, he who formed you, o Israel; Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  When you walk through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. 

If anything that I said in this post (or any) left you with questions/comments... please let me know.  My intent is to be real on here... but part of sharing in the rawness is not always saying things smoothly  I am so up for clarifying and/or dialoguing on anything that I have said.  


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cows, Commutes, and HIS goodness.

Back when I lived outside of the windy city and had to be at work for my 11PM-7AM shift, I would leave for work at 9:45 PM.  That was my door to door travel time.  After I got off in the mornings, my commute would often jump to an hour and forty five minutes.  During those commutes, I would find myself chatting on the phone, talking to Jesus, and/or listening to Roger Basick on Moody Bible Institute.  And while the commute to work was often a smooth 70 mile an hour journey.... the journey home was often quite the opposite.  Often exhausted from a night of medicating, bathing, and ensuring the care of my patients, I was often greeted by bumper to bumper traffic.  There was such a sweetness when I pulled into my driveway and pushed the button to open my garage door.  I knew at that moment that sleep was imminent.  And now years later.... my commute to work is quite different.  This last week, I came home for lunch and found myself walking through a herd of cows.  There is a momma sheep with her twin lambkins (yep, looked that one up.... baby lambs are called lambkins...) and instead of worrying about bumper to bumper traffic delaying a timely arrival to work one has to account for ensuring you leave enough time in your commute to properly greet each person that you pass on the way.  And it's good. And it's sweet.  And I love it.  

The other day, I was walking back from work with two of my coworkers.  Aunt Sarah asked me a serious question.  She wanted to know if I was using different smear (cream).  I said no and asked her why.  She said, your skin is becoming more white.  I smiled.  And so today, I did the unacceptable. I applied some sun tanning oil to my skin and walked with my arms up in the sky.  Personally, when I look at my arms I see an amazing tan.... but I also realize that there have been times where I have been in denial when it comes to my perception of just how tan (or not) my skin is.  And God had a sense of humor.  After applying my awesome Banana Boat #8 Sun Tanning Oil (Thank you Cherie Martin!) I headed into town.  Minutes later.... a massive rainstorm hit.  The sun that had been shining so brightly was now hiding behind some angry clouds.  
And while the picture at the right is an appropriate reflection of the intensity and amount of the rain.... it's not a reflection of what it looked like this afternoon.  This was a picture of a rainstorm in Uganda I found on the internet... there was definitely running when the rains came this afternoon and I am bummed to have not captured it on camera. The market had just started and was in full force.  The dark clouds were visible in the distance.  Soon the winds came blowing dust all over.... and then the rains came... and come they did! Waited in a store for the rains to subside and hopped on the back of a Boda Boda to head back home.  A backpack full of pineapples, onions, tomatoes, and or course some coca cola.  

And that was just the afternoon.  This weekend I am on call.  And as of right now (just past 11 PM), it has been a pretty quiet afternoon.  This morning, I arrived at the clinic right around 9 AM and had a young man waiting to be seen.  He is one of the kids from my family group and he was struggling with a headache.  Shortly after he arrived, an older lady arrived holding her jaw.  A toothache gone bad.  Gave her some pain medication and sent her to the hospital.  The dentist comes to the hospital on Wednesdays and Saturdays.... and while I was hesitant if they would extract her tooth today due to the infection, I was thankful that dentist would be able to evaluate her.  One of my sweet girls came in with what I suspect is mumps.  It's going around and she had the symptoms.  There were tests for malaria and a one sick with Brucellosis needing an IV and daily IV medication for a minimum of a week.  Doing the math to figure out her dosage and thankful that we were stocked with normal saline.  A staple back home, but not always a guarantee here.  There were all of the normal doctor office things and other things that probably would have been at least an urgent care visit.  And yet, God had me working today.  And He was with me. When I couldn't get the IV in and I was her only option.  We paused and we prayed and it went in.  Yes, my hands were on the needle... but it was Him showing me the vein to go for.  He has shown me time and time again that I am NOT alone.  He is leading me, guiding me, and growing me.  He is building up a team of health care workers to love on HIS children (big and small) and to be His hands and Feet.  And I am loving it.  

And after closing up the clinic just shy of one, I did a few errands and headed home.  One of those errands was picking up a bottle of coke and a tray of eggs.  Shortly after getting back home, Phiona came over.  Phiona asked me a little over a month ago if I would mentor her.  So, each week, we get together.  It's a time to pour into her... to love her, encourage her, and to listen as she slowly entrusts me with her heart.  And she is opening up. We laugh.  We eat chocolate.  And slowly, but surely I see as her heart opens further.  May she know Jesus more and more.  That is my prayer for her.  

And so it is just shy of midnight.  And I best be going to bed soon.  Tomorrow brings another full day.  Tomorrow all the staff from the clinic are getting together for a celebration dinner.  Two of the nurses just graduated from nursing school.  It's a huge accomplishment and one worth celebrating.  There is a live chicken being brought to my house and rumor has it that I am going to kill it.  It's something I plan on doing at some point.... but the thought of doing it in the morning is leaving me a little nervous.  Thank you for letting me tell you about my day.  Yes, thank you.  Thank you for journeying along with me.  For loving me, for praying for me, and for caring about the things that have become important to me.  May we know Him more and more and may we each rest in Him.  

Webale nyo.  nsanuse kumbanga Ali balungi.  Nsanuse njja ku laba gwe mu wiki musanvu!
(Thank you very much.  I am happy because He is good.  I am happy I will see you in seven weeks!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An annoying little Tick

It's stinking early on Sunday morning and I am wide awake.  This past week, I was hit with Tick Fever.        Woke up early last week and quickly realized that a tiny black tick had decided to latch on.  I removed it and killed it.  And I thought very little more about it. Thursday, I was exhausted and by that night I was not feeling very well at all.  A malaria test came out negative and by the next early afternoon, I felt better.  I dismissed it as the flu.  On Monday, the fevers came.  I had been fighting a cough for about 5 weeks and decided at that point that maybe I should start some antibiotics and so I did.  Instead of feeling better, I felt worse.  Headed into Kampala on Thursday where they ran some blood work and put the pieces of the puzzle together.  And late this morning, I felt better.  It was like a light switch.  So thankful! As a result of ALL the sleeping I did this week... I find myself wide awake at 1:31 in the morning.  ( c :  And so I thought I would bless you all with my presence.  

Earlier this year, I was involved with an institute training class.  An opportunity to come together with others from both the US and from around East Africa.  We learned together, cried together and had fun together.  And tonight, we came together to just be.  It was a gift to connect, laugh, and share.  Half of us were there... the other half were held close to our hearts.  We ate some amazing food.  It was pretty much my first real meal in four days and It was DELIGHTFUL! 

Auntie Robinah cooking away! 

Ready for a taste.... 

Auntie Sarah hard at work! 

The men waiting..... ever so patiently

Baby Frank does NOT prefer G-nut.... He has no idea what he is missing! 
Eating, drinking, and posing! 

just chilling.... 


Baby Frank and His momma Rebekah

Add caption

Auntie Sarah and her boys! 

U. Michael, Auntie Sarah and their whole family

I believe this picture was taken over by some people yelling "HOllA HOLLA"

Love to you all! Sorry this is so short... I best be getting to sleep.  Just wanted to share a quick glimpse into my "today" So thankful that our God is a God who HEALS... 
Holla Holla to you all!!!!!!