imageWhat a day it has been! We were welcomed by the Hospice Team and my dearest friend Paulina, who has been a Hospice nurse since they started. They have 6 nurses, who are responsible for over 300 patients. Most of these patients are end stage cancer or HIV or have improved from HIV treatments and are now under palliative care. A big thanks goes to Kevin and Barb Wurtz for donating the Ibuprofen that was given to the Hospice nurses, because they have not had access to it for over 2 months and this is a common drug needed by these Hospice patients. Just think how common this med is at home and how easily we can get it.

I am so impressed with the spiritual support that they provide for these patients. A pastor is part of the hospice team. I find spiritual care so comforting to these patients and their love for God is unbelievable. At the end of our visits we prayed with all our patients and families and then sang a song of praise. The main words are ” I love you Jesus with all my heart”. One women whose husband died was asked if she had a boyfriend and her reply was that widows are married to Jesus. She had pictures of God and Jesus all over her home. I really enjoyed seeing all my friends at Selian.

The first patient that we saw, was such a sad case. He had end stage cancer, which started with a sore on his lip. He had surgery to remove it and then presented with an ulcer on his chin. It is a picture that I can’t even describe. The man was so skinny and could not even swallow. We discussed comfort measures that the patients family could assist with. Such a sad situation, that we circled around the patient and they asked me to pray for him. I decided I would not do well as a Hospice nurse, because I get too emotional.

Thanks to all the Hope donors, because your gifts of food to all they patients that we visited was greatly appreciated. One mom just cried and said “God bless you”. So thanks everyone for touching the lives of these beautiful people. They are suffering at home with such a horrible disease and then hardly have money to put food on their table. Also getting good nutrition during the treatment of HIV is so important.

I think the team really had their eyes opened to how these people really live and saw a different level of health care.

Please pray for these people. As Julius, my assistant said, “we need to be thankful for each day that God has given us”. Amen to that.

Love you all! Gayle

It was an emotional day for the team in Tanzania. We went out with a hospice team to visit four patients and give them a donation of food from Hope Ministries. We started the day at Selian Hospital, where the team met with a male patient who had late stage oral cancer. He was having a lot of difficulty swallowing and he had a large infected wound. The patient agreed to get an NG tube in order to make him more comfortable and to help with feeding. It was interesting to find out the differences in how the case would have been taken care of in the United States. At the first sign of an abscess, a biopsy would have been done and radiation would have been started. For this patient, he got the initial abscess removed and they thought the problem was fixed. It came back later and was much worse. By that point, it was too late to really do anything. Before we left, we gave the family the food, got into a large circle, and prayed for the gentleman.

The next three patients the team went to see were women who are under palliative care for their HIV. The nurse checked the CD-4 counts, how they are doing on their retrovirals, and how their health was doing. We got a lot of opportunities to ask questions about hospice and HIV. We also got to see how lives of patients and the dynamics of their families change when there is HIV present within the family. It was a very good learning experience. I think one thing that touched us all was to see how the women reacted to the food we brought and the prayers we did for them. The first woman was so touched by the gift that she began to cry. Most of us found it hard to keep the tears at bay. The people of Tanzania are so gracious for the littlest of things and experiencing that makes all of us so much more thankful for what we have. We are preparing for another emotional day tomorrow where we will visit for more hospice patients.
Olivia Tuelimage