Tuesday, January 10th

Tuesday, January 9th
Hello everyone, its Rachael writing the blog today! Our team was split into two groups again – Mikayla, Devin, Hailey, Jake, Dr. K, Gayle, Crystal, and Dr. Mark went to Selian Hospital to do some more clinics so that we could screen what patients needed orthopedic surgeries. Crystal and Devin joined Dr. K in the OR to administer anesthesia on patients who were receiving general surgery today.

Devin said that she got to see two prostate removals, which were the first surgeries that she has been able to observe, as well as an tonsillectomy. She said that since she has never observed any surgeries prior to this, she does not know what is normal and what is not, but it was cool to see them either way. She liked that she was able to get up close to get a good look at what was going on because she doesn’t think that she would be able to do that in the US.
Mikayla, Jake, and Hailey joined Gayle and Dr. Mark in the clinic where they were able to observe the unique cases that came through the clinic.

Mikayla thought that it was cool to be in the orthopedic clinic to see the same patients that we had referred from our first outreach clinic in Mererani. She said that it was really sad to see some patients come in with injuries that were too old or patients who were too young to operate on. For example, there was a little boy who received a penicillin shot in the wrong location 6 years ago that caused sciatic nerve damage. This patients foot has lost all function (except in the big toe). If the patient had not gone 6 years with out getting his foot checked, we would be able to at least help him gain some function back. However, there has been too much time in between. There was also a toddler that came into the clinic with no joints in her left leg except for her ankle. She also had only a femur in this leg, making it significantly shorter than the other. This little girl is too young to operate on, so she will have to wait until she has grown for any procedure.

Jake thought that is was interesting that there was such a big difference in the privacy each patient receives in Tanzania compared to the US. He gave the example of a 16 year old girl who came in and was being examined behind a closed curtain, although it was pushed aside for the medical students and nurses to observe as well. He said that the lack of privacy actually makes for a great learning environment for us as well as the Tanzanian health care workers because it is so open, we can get a good look at each case that comes through.

Hailey thought that it was interesting that she got to see so many cortisone injections today. Many patients came into the clinic with crepitus (bone on bone grinding in the joints) that were not severe enough for total joint replacement, but could find relief another way. She also said that it was sad to see so many patients come into the clinic that cant afford a procedure and need financial help from Hope Ministries.
Derek, Ryan and I went with Julius and a group of hospice and palliative care workers to visit patients in their homes where we brought groceries and our company since many of them miss out on social experiences. We saw 3 families today, each of them with a different story.

Our group saw a mother and daughter who can barely afford the home they are living in and struggle to find work. The daughter can’t attend school because they do not have the funds to buy her uniform, socks, and shoes. This little girl is typically position 1 (top in her class) and loves going to school, its heartbreaking to see that she can no longer attend until the mother can find a job to pay for it.

We saw another woman who has been through so much since the death of her husband and fights to keep the home she is living in with her children. The chaplain lead us in prayer, read some scripture, and sang the most beautiful song with our patient. I had a lot of trouble keeping back the tears today. It is so eye-opening to actually see where our patients are living and to hear their stories. Our group agreed that this was a very humbling experience and got us thinking about the kinds of things that we typically complain about.

The whole team met up tonight back at the Ahadi Lodge where we ate a wonderful meal, reflected about our day, and read devotions. We are so blessed to be here in Tanzania to grow our relationships with God and to serve the people of Tanzania! Please continue to pray for the team as we have many adventures ahead of us! God Bless!