• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
Day 6

Day 6

Arianna’s thoughts on this week: 

The medicine side of life here is painfully beautiful and full of paradoxes and balances and joy and frustration.  Yesterday made me laugh at how much I have settled in, however.  One of the long term doctors asked me if I had taken pictures of my patients. .  .”Of what?” I replied. . . thinking things were quite normal and that pictures were unnecessary.  Then I thought through the patients I have been covering. . .

The countless patients with severe hydrocephalus we are working with to gain weight. . .with heads the size of volleyballs that smile and coo and laugh with me every morning.
The child with epiglottitis, rarely seen in the states,  and profuse drool pouring from her mouth in near-kidney failure from dehydration, who we watched carefully and cautiously off a monitor and on IV fluids who slowly got better and will go home today.
The micro preemie who was born to a teen mom on my call night with fused eyes that was breathing beautifully on a wisp of a nasal cannula.
The tiny 1 year old with liver failure and a beautiful smile.
The combative one year old baby who came in today with kidney failure, trouble breathing, and seizures and fever. I have no idea what is wrong with him, but the ICU nurses are graciously guiding me through his care.
And then the countless children with pneumonia and bronchiolitis who remind me so much of my patients in the states with worried mothers and bright eyes struggling  a bit  for each small breath. . .
I am spent and exhausted and exhilarated. I love being able to teach my residents who work 100-120 hours a week with a smile and no complaint. I love praying with my patients and my parents and knowing it is the most important and powerful thing I have to offer. I love knowing that what I am doing is good, but feeling so tangibly, that in the end, what I have to offer is so little compared to His healing.

I have managed patients in the last 5 days that I would have thought impossible in the States, and the patients are improving. And some are getting sicker when they should be fine. It is the art of medicine at its very core.

Prayer request for today – Arianna is on call again tonight, so pray for her ability to do her job well and fight through the exhaustion.

I (David) started out early today (finally slept through the night last night – yay!) walking Arianna to the hospital and then I took a stroll through the cemetery on the way home.  The graves are mostly missionaries and hospital workers – people who spent their lives serving the people around Kijabe. . .some lived full lives, and one lived two days.  My favorite by far was one that read.

What a great statement. . .he lived Christ. . .he went to remote places and to borrow a Young Life term, he was Jesus with skin on.  Well played John, well played.
Then we went to the market and hardware store. . .it’s amazing how much comfortable I am knowing that I can get a few tools and things if I need them. . .and cheap too!  We picked up wood glue, paint to fix up the house, and a light bulb!  There are a few shops that expressly cater to Wazungu (foreigners) close to the hospital, into which were as far as we had ventured before. It was fun to walk past that into the Kenyan part of the village – tailors, cobblers, hair salons, etc.
 the tailor’s sewing machine
 the hardware store
The monkey tree in the front yard (I can see 4
but there is a 5th somewhere in the tree)
baboons under the monkey tree
Then we came home and played and played and played and played, climbing trees, swinging, making flower soup and mud cakes, hunting and tackling each other. . .  We haven’t seen many Kenyan kids until today because they are at school most of the days, but today they were out in full-force and a few wanted to play with the girls (maybe out of curiosity, but I think because they have to have adult supervision to get access to most of the playgrounds nearby).  Whatever the case, by the end of the day, they were all great friends.  I really want the girls to get to know Kenyans, but at the same time it has to happen at a pace they are comfortable with and in settings where they feel safe – walking through the market and playing this afternoon were perfect.  Keeping up with 9 kids is tough, but it is fun to see them so happy!
Another great sunset!  I went to take a few pictures from our neighbor’s yard and ran into a group of teenagers from Raleigh.  They were attempting to start a fire, so I grabbed my new “masai” knife (goodness knows who actually made it) and chopped some kindling Bear Grylls style by hitting the knife through the wood with a rock.  Good times, and fun to hang out with some teenage boys for a bit, it’s good for my immature side!

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