Sunday, July 17, 2016

A few toy cars, a pounding chest, and walking.

Today has been a day of writing.
And chilling.
And writing.
And washing clothes.
And writing.

I think you get the point.

I can't believe that it has been nearly a month since I brought my fingers to the keyboard and written you all.  I am 3/4 of the way complete with my required time of working in a hospital in Kampala.

These last weeks have been an adventure... to say the least.

In the privacy of my heart, I am processing.

Tomorrow, I will start working on the pediatric ward.
I'll work one week in outpatient and one week on the inpatient ward.

And then my time at the hospital will officially be over.

My main focus these past 6 plus weeks has been my time at the hospital.

But separate from my time at the hospital I've had a few other things on my agenda.

One of those things has been this little lad.

Ayeko had an appointment with his surgeon a few weeks back.
Initially, he was a bit hesitant when I saw him.
I had brought along a few toy cars and before long he was playing with them.
When it came time to see the doctor, he burst into tears.
But, even as the tears rolled down his sweet face, he offered the doctor one of his toy cars.

A peace offering of sorts.

I believe that deep down within, Ayeko knows that he is being helped.

Ayeko will have one more test in the beginning of August and then God-willing will have his final surgery.  The intestines that are hanging out on the outside of his body will be tucked back within.  And God-willing this little lad will be able to go to the toilet without any problems.  

God-willing, this little one will have surgery in August.  

Separate from my time at the hospital I did a little drug shopping.  Drug shopping here is an adventure.  It's actually pretty simple.  Usually, I hop on the back of a motorcycle and head into the heart of Kampala.  I give a list of the meds I want and a short while later I walk out with the medications that I have ordered.  On this particular day, I ordered the drugs one day and they were delivered to me the following day.... in the parking lot of a gas station.  I just happened to bump into a friend just as the drug deal was about to go down.... so she snapped a picture.   The clinic is now well supplied.  

I had a week off halfway between my 8 weeks of time at the hospital.  It was planned before I knew I had to do it.  It was God's sweet grace.  What I didn't know... He did.  That week off was a breath of fresh air and time to just be.  Time to laugh. Time to be.  Time to absorb the beauty of creation.  
 And all I got to say is God is truly an artist.
After a week off, it was back to Kampala.  My next rotation was the Emergency Department.  I witnessed a lot during those two weeks.  There were many hands to hold, people to pray over, and IV's to start. I have decided that I would rather be shot than hit with a panga (Big knife) and I've seen both the fragility of life as well as the strength of the human body.  High blood pressures and low ones... and even a few with no palpable blood pressures.  Bloody wounds and wounds that had stopped bleeding.  I found myself wondering why I had never found my way down to working in an ER before.  I have to say that there was a part of my heart that really loved working in this area.  
You have to be quick on your toes and quick on your mind.  
taken from the internet

One of the significant moments during my time in the ER was when a young woman came into the ER.  She was struggling to breathe.   Really struggling.  We talked back and forth a bit.  Though she was mainly focusing on breathing.  Her vitals told us she was struggling.  Really struggling.  And she was.  The doctor stepped out of the room to talk with someone.  I remained.  And then I saw her head turn and a glazed look come over her face.  Her breathing changed.  And I knew.  She was leaving.  She was dying.  I called her name.  Ever so slowly she turned her head.  Our eyes locked... for just a brief moment.  I told her to stay with me.  But she didn't.  Within seconds, I was pounding her chest.  A rhythmic pounding.  We all worked her.  And yet she was gone.  Here one minute.  And gone the next.  

I've pounded a chest before.  But, somehow in light of my sister's recent passing.  I found my own heart pounding in a different sort of way.  I found myself thinking of  the young man who pounded my sister's chest.  Her dear friends who were by her side.  Did they call her name?  Did she look at them?  I have no doubt they called her name.  I would be even gutsy to say they probably yelled her name.  The family of the patient was there as we pounded their loved one's chest.  They watched on.  They too, weren't expecting this outcome.  But this outcome had come and where a young woman had been alive minutes earlier, she now lay lifeless.  We gave the family the time that they needed.  And then, we prepared the body.  

I don't believe it was an accident that I was on this side of things.  In some crazy way, working on this woman, was somehow healing for my own heart.  I can't explain it but only to say that it was somehow healing.  To stand by the momma and hold her.  To look at the older brother and extend my empathy.  To ever so gently and carefully wrap the body of a woman whose life had so many more miles to walk.  And yet, the harsh reality was that.... she didn't.  

So hard.  And yet somehow special.  Is that the word to use?!?  I have no idea.  

The phrase that comes to mind is beauty from ashes.  

And so, I'll keep holding the hands of patients, calling their name, and looking em in the eye.  

And tomorrow morning, I'll don my blue scrubs, hop on the back of a motorcycle, and begin the last two weeks of my working at a hospital.  

I'll keep trusting Him.  He knows the significance of these days.  And He knows the purpose.  

And I will keep resting in that.  

And I will keep walking where He leads me.  

And leaning into Him more and more.  

He truly is LIFE and for that I am so thankful.


  1. Wow! Found this through FB! Greetings from the Schlamann family! (In the little red cottage beside yours in Michigan. )We have sweet memories of you as a spunky little girl, and are so proud of how you are using that spunk to be God's hands and feet in Africa! God bless you! And please greet your parents for us.

    1. Oh My word... I have so many fun memories of you all. There was always an adventure on that big hill. And lots of sweet memories down at the beach. Greetings right back! YEs, for sure I'll tell my parents hi. Life here IS an adventure... a really rich one! ( :