Feb 11

Mikaela informed me that while my blog is interesting and she likes reading it, it certainly isn’t very happy. I think she’s right, so I’ll tell some happy stories.

One that comes to mind is of this cute little boy, not more than 3. After going to St. Stephen’s clinic/hospital on Monday, we actually made house calls to some patients in the area. I’m unsure who decides which patients are seen when in their homes, but somehow it was decided that some should be seen in their homes rather than asked to come to the clinic. The first house we went to was small, but didn’t look unlivable from the outside. From the inside it still was small and though not unlivable, it was very very different from our homes. Rather than having ceilings, there were rafters instead. There were walls and doors between rooms, but no ceilings, so if you really wanted to you could throw something over the wall from one room to the next. I imagine it’s a lack of resources that leads to this type of building, but whatever the reason it was interesting. So, back to the cute little boy. As we drive up (we are again in the ambulance), this little boy comes racing by toward the house screaming at the top of his lungs. You would have thought someone just cut off a finger or something he was screaming so loudly! He ran into the house, and at a much slower pace, we followed. Once we were all inside, we met this demure, very well behaved little boy. Nothing like the child we saw outside! After we were all seated and the local doctor began asking the patient questions, the little cutie came up to each of us, knelt down and greeted us, barely above a whisper, in Luganda. Since we have been taking lessons, we could even respond. He continued to make his way around the circle and then went around again for good measure. We still have no idea why he was screaming, but whatever the reason, it must have been resolved once he reached home!

Another patient we saw later in the day was a man aged 60 who looked at least 85. He likely had a stroke about 10 years ago and had lost his speech for a period of time, but had since regained it. Several years after this, he fell and hurt his hip. Several years after hurting his first hip, he hurt the other. We asked him what he wanted us to do for him and he requested we ‘pop’ his hips back in to place so he could walk again. He had been able to walk after the first fall, but not after the second. At some point he had had xrays taken and they were available for us to review and what we found were two broken hips! The first had somewhat healed, but not well and the second was very clearly broken and displaced. This man had been walking on a broken hip for 4 years! I did his blood pressure and it was elevated (expected since he had a stroke) so we suggested starting a blood pressure medication and the physician from Iowa told him it was possible to get his legs fixed, but this man can not afford it. He said telling him of hip replacement surgery is like telling a man who is hungry that there is lots of food far far away but he has no way of getting it. Although the man laughed when he said this, I found it difficult to think it was funny! Besides controlling his blood pressure, there is little we can do for his legs except keep him comfortable. He most definitely had bone disease as a young person shouldn’t break their hip, let along both of them, just from a fall (I don’t believe he fell from any significant height or had any significant trauma) and him sitting in a very very dark room and never leaving leads me to believe he, at the very least, has a vitamin D deficiency. Not something you’d expect to find in a tropical area!

Well, I had intended to write more, but it appears the lab is soon closing. I will try to tell another happy story next time and will also share about the Nutrition Ward that I’ve been on this week.

Until later,


3 Responses to “Feb 11”

  1. Mom Says:

    You can imagine how excited Jo, Vicki and I are about the info on the Nutrition ward! We already have so many stories to use in class. I couldn’t be more proud of you and Jon and you are making a difference to each person you meet. Always in my prayers!

  2. Arlene Hiatt Says:

    Hi, Katie,

    Aren’t the children just the best!

    Your being there brings light in hopelessness and darkness. Praying for you.


  3. Laura Says:

    I like how your “happy” story is about a guy who broke both legs! I love you, Katie! Hope you are having an amazing time. Wish I was there with you!

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