Monday, 5/21

Monday, May 21st

Hi everyone, it’s Sydney! After being out of commission for a good 36 hours due to a crafty but deadly stomach bug, I am so thankful to be back working with the team again! God is good!

Today was our first day at Selian hospital, which was also our first day spent with Dr. Mark Wheeler. We began our day by making rounds on the orthopedics patients. We discovered many different methods that the Tanzanians use to heal bone fractures, which we found quite interesting. After visiting all of the patients, we set up camp in the clinic where Dr. Wheeler and company spent the next ten hours assessing patients! Jasmine, Carol, and myself observed as hundreds of patients came in to be seen. We learned so much about orthopedics and saw a wide range of severity in the cases. Many of the patients that were seen are going to have surgery later this week, performed by Dr. Wheeler. It was also very difficult to see how impoverished some of the patients are. The majority of the patients could not even afford to pay for x-rays, so the funds were provided by Hope Ministries. It was wonderful to see the gratitude these patients had for the money they received for their medical costs! 

Meanwhile, Shawna spent the afternoon with the social worker employed at the hospital, where she learned about social services in Tanzania. She found it interesting how vastly different their system works compared with the U.S. Going from an infinite amount of resources to none was a stark shock for Shawna, but she said it is good to see a new system being implemented to help the patients.

The other two members of our team, Robert and Courtney, went with the hospice team to visit four hospice patients in Arusha. A bag of rice and beans and a slew of fresh vegetables were delivered to these patients, courtesy of Hope Ministries. They enjoyed observing how the team worked together to provide care for these Tanzanians reaching the end of their lives. Some of the most impactful moments came when the team sang and prayed for the patients. Even though these patients’ conditions are quite dire, Robert and Courtney still experienced a great amount of hope and peace in their time visiting those receiving hospice care.

Tomorrow we begin operating, and four more hospice patients will be visited!

Mark Wheeler is such an awesome teacher and he taught the residents and doctors so much today.  I appreciate his patience and kindness and how he freely shares his vast knowledge with others.  The students had to learn a ton today.

This is an example of the sad cases that we see.  This is 17 year old boy that came to see at outreach clinic.  When he was 6 years old he received an injection and it obviously was given in the wrong area and cause nerve damage.  He first developed foot drop and now walks on the side of his foot.  Can you imagine living that long with this deformity?  These people’s pain thresholds is unbelievable.  As the team reflected on the day, they expressed how it was so difficult to see the people that we could not help.  These are the people that we either don’t have the proper equipment to do the surgery, or possibly the surgery would cause more harm than good.  This is the part of the mission work that is so hard on me.  For many of these patients they have been praying that God would send someone to help them.  Then when we can’t help them, the look of hopelessness just tears at my heart.  That is when we have to turn over our trust to God.  God is always there to help keep us strong amid the sorrow, devastation and awful medical conditions that we see.  Thanks for your continual prayers.