Monday and Tuesday

Monday & Tuesday,  June 6th and 7th

Hi everyone! It’s Foster here. Apologies for not updating over the past few days, but we’ve all had quite the start to our week! We all started Monday in the chapel at Selian for a short service. It was an incredibly unique experience that I can’t say I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying back home, and even though the entire service was in Swahili, I was still able to follow along a little bit and I especially enjoyed the song we heard from the choir. At the end of the service, they brought up 2 different cakes to celebrate the birthdays and continued service of several different staff members at the hospital. After the service, we listened to the patient reports for the day from one of the residents and then went to the main hospital to do ward rounds.

The first patient we saw was a young girl Gayle saw in an outreach clinic in January. She had large wounds on her legs that were infected and needed skin grafting, which resulted in her having many major surgeries over the course of several months. She’s been at Selian since her initial admittance in January, and we were all very pleased to see that she’s doing well and her legs are healing!

After seeing some of the orthopedic patients currently recovering from surgery, we headed into a full day of clinic. We worked with the attending physicians, residents, and nurses all day to see everyone in the crowded clinic waiting room. I spent my day observing and asking questions whenever I was able. Thanks to Dr. Wheeler, I learned how to identify osteoporosis on an X-ray as well as the difference between a rod and a plate as far as mending bone fractures is concerned. It was super cool to see how well everyone worked together and how many patients we were able to help, especially with the language barrier. Also, I was happy to see so many of the patients we had seen at outreach clinic that were able to make it to the hospital to get tests, and many were able to get the surgeries they needed. By the end of the day, all the beds in the hospital were full and we headed back to the hotel to get a well-deserved nights sleep.

Today, I split up from the Hope Ministries group at Selian and went to visit palliative care and hospice patients with a team of volunteers, nurses, social workers, and clergy from the hospital. Thanks to donors at Hope Ministries, we were able to give families helped by the Selian program nutritious food that would likely last them months. I only saw 4 families today, but in total we have given food to 8 families so far and will help 4 families tomorrow for a total of 12 families.

I had no idea what to expect today, but what I saw is something I will never forget. Two of the families we saw lived in one room houses, and the other two only had a few rooms to share amongst many family members. Most of these patients could not afford even the most basic medical care they needed, and were forced to live with their condition with assistance from the Selian program. One particular case that stuck with me was a woman who has been living with HIV/AIDS almost 20 years. She had lost most of the people close to her, was unable to walk, and could not afford the blood pressure medication she needed to keep her hypertension in check. That was the moment that I truly realized the impact the hospice program had amongst the people they served. The people with me were kind and compassionate with their words, and they prayed with her, sang with her, and held her hands. There was never a moment of doubt that she was loved. Although it was an incredibly difficult moment to sit through as Mama Kweka, the group leader, explained her situation to us, I could see how eager everyone was to try and brighten her day and help any way they could.

I spoke with Mama Kweka after the visit and we talked about the Selian hospice program’s standard of care. She said that everyone needs to have access to psychological, community, and spiritual care along with the physical care. It’s not enough to just fix someone’s body, she believes that you need to care for the mind, family, and soul too, and only after that can someone truly begging healing. I resonated with this a lot, and I really appreciated her attention to the patient as a person first always. I know that today is an experience that will always stick with me, and I’m grateful that I’ll have this to bring with me wherever I go in the future.

Hi it is Mama Gayle.  Today we started our day praying in the chapel. What a great way to start the day.  Then Mark did a CME with the medical staff. What a great teacher. He is so patient, kind and goes the extra mile to teach.  We then headed to our first day of surgery. The general surgeon started at 6 am and was still doing surgery when we left at 6 pm. They were doing surgeries in three rooms.  They were all the patients that I brought in from Outreach clinics. They could not believe the difficult and unbelievable cases we brought in. We filled the beds in the hospital. It warmed my heart to see the patients have successful surgeries and know their lives will be free of pain and suffering. Mark Wheeler then assisted with some very difficult orthopedic surgeries.  We don’t see many of these type of cases in the US and many are in advanced stages because they had no money to get help. Please pray for all these sugerical patients.  Also what I love is that we pray before we start surgery.

We saw some children with bad deformities in between  our surgical cases. So sad to see this because the good news is that we will be doing surgeries to fix most of the deformities.