Saturday, May 23rd

Saturday, May 23rd:

Brandon, Emily and Chad were up early and all excited to head on out on safari with Julius.  They had big smiles and were ready to go and see God's beauty in Africa.  Julius arrived in his official safari vehicle and outfit and looked very professional.  We talked to them throughout the day as they went to visit the Maasai village and dance with the Maasai and then they descended into the Ngorongoro National Park, where they saw alot of beautiful animals.  
Ralph, Julie and I remained at Ahadi Lodge, where we set up a small clinic in which we saw some patients from the Arusha area.  We saw 4 patients, with one being my dear friend Reggie, his son and a neighbor boy.  Ralph patiently examined them and took the time to teach the patients on interventions that would help them.  He spoke with a sincere caring heart, which the patients loved.  
One of the patients we saw was a 26 year old male, who had a mining accident 1 1/2 years ago.  I saw this patient in the Mererani Clinic last January.  He is married with a one year old child.  He was paralyzed from the waist done.  A friend of his, who is a medical doctor and works in the mines called me earlier in the week about our neurosurgeon seeing him.  I told them to go to Arusha and get a CT scan and then come to Ahadi on Saturday morning.  They arrived and we examined him and then Ralph sent him for more X-rays.  It was so sad because Ralph had to inform the patient that there was no surgery that could fix him so he could walk again, but with a loving and caring heart told him he should remain strong and he could live a long life.  You could see the sadness in the patients eyes as he told him how sorry we were.  Ralph then printed off some important interventions and showed the doctor who was with him, so they could do some preventive measures to prevent complications in the future.  
We then went and exchanged money and did a little shopping.  Then we picked up Julius's Aunt Maria and she took us to visit the sweet little girl Lightness, who I blogged about earlier and the one we brought the wheelchair for.  I went to visit them the first week I was here and brought her the wheelchair.  I asked that the mom and dad be prevent so we could talk to them about Lightness prognosis and interventions that would be needed for prevention in the future and that would provide comfort.  After examining Lightness and reviewing all the x-rays we went and sat with the mom, dad and brother.  The dad and brother spoke good English, but mom did not.  Ralph did an awesome job of explaining what was wrong with Lightness and with a gentle and caring way informed the family that she has a malignant tumor in the spine that is ascending into the brain.  This would continue to progress and the level of paralysis would go up and sooner or later would affect her breathing, swallowing and eating.  Our hearts were breaking as we talked to them.  They had some very good questions.  Then I asked them to please tell mom what we had said.  There was so much sadness in her eyes as she listened to the son repeat in swahili what was said.  Then I looked over and the mom was crying.  Maria and I went to comfort her and many tears were shed by all.  Then Ralph gently asked the father if he wanted him to go and talk to Lightness, who was laying in the bed in her bedroom.  The father graciously accepted his offer and you could see the weight that was lifted from his shoulders and we all went into her bedroom.  Ralph sat and talked to her and she stared with wide eyes with no emotions shown.  She is such a beautiful young girl, who is very smart.  She did not have any questions.  Then we examined a very large wound that was a result of a bed sore.  It looked nice and clean and the mother has been taking such good care of her and we kept telling her that.  Ralph wanted to get copies of the x-ray to take home to continue to search and asks other physicians on their opinion of the diagnosis.  Then the family, Freeman, Ralph, Julius and I joined hands and prayed for this lovely little girl and her family.  Our hearts were breaking but we knew that we needed to turn this over to God. 
This is the tough part of the many years of doing medical work in Tanzania.  Many patients who have been given no hope look to the white doctors and nurses from the states as God answer for a cure.  They have been praying for help and they feel God has sent us to help them.  But as you have read, we can't help them all and for these patients it was seen as their last hope so the look of sadness and hopelessness in their eyes is beyond words and our hearts are so saddened.  
Please pray for the team as we leave to go to Mwanza today to start the medical work at Bugando Hospital.  We are all a little nervous with doing brain and spine surgery their, but God is with us and he will be our guide and strength as we travel this journey.