Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Vague Sense of Relief

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Day Ten

The night was quiet and the morning started off cloudy and cool, with a couple of passing showers during the day. Knowing that this was our last day to see patients in the clinic brought with it a vague sense of relief. This probably had something to do with the exhaustion we felt, and the inconveniences and minor discomforts we'd shrugged off for the sake of the mission...but it also coincided with the realization that we would soon be heading home to our loved our own soft toilets that everything that we used to take for granted, but never will again!

Today, Isaya translated for me. We treated a young man who was beaten in a fight the day before (not an uncommon occurence), sustaining multiple facial contusions and abrasions, as well as a large corneal abrasion that required antibiotic ointment and a patch. A two year-old presented with a fever of 103 degrees and MUMPS, something we rarely see in the States anymore.

I saw several men with symptoms of prostatism and gastric reflux, and a child who had fallen and sprained her knee.

As we reviewed the week our CRNP, Diane, reported caring for a child suffering the residual effects of polio,

a young woman with what appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis,

and a baby with a large abscess that had to be opened and drained. Except for parasitic infestations, tuberculosis, and malaria, the patients' needs were similar to what we see in our own practices. The difference is that we had less to offer in Lobosoit. And it broke our hearts to have to turn patients away without treatment.

By the end of the day, we had seen 138 patients. Reluctantly, we turned the few remaining hopefuls away. It was some consolation to know that Dr. Boniface and the three national nurses would carry on after our departure. It wasn't as though the clinic was shut down and boarded up. In fact, on Thursday we plan to spend the day cleaning the clinic, and sorting and organizing the medications and supplies we'll be leaving with them to carry on the work we started.

Back at camp, the staff sacrificed a goat so that we could share its meat in a traditional Maasai rite--a affirmation of our shared friendship. The animal was butchered and the meat was roasted on sticks by the fire.

After several hours, we were offered a bite to share. Traditionally, sharing the meat of the goat involves each person taking a piece and then passing in on to the next person until everyone has a piece, thereby feeding one another, a symbol of friendship.

The warriors returned to dance for us again and then night settled in, cold and quiet.
"The only true happiness
comes from squandering ourselves
for a purpose."
--William Cowper--
Tomorrow is our last day in Lobosoit. I'll give you a brief tour of the village before we leave.
Be still,

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