Three years ago, our team cared for a little girl named Dorcas who swallowed a caustic substance. Due to the damage in her esophagus, she could not eat and was slowly dying. With funds raised from our donors back home, NEA was able to send her to Accra where she received a feeding tube and ultimately the surgery she required. She and her mom stopped in to see us today to thank us for working with NEA to save her life. Our paediatrician Dr. Anne and I were remarking how the entire mission three years ago would have been worth it just to save this one little girl.
The village clinic started with a bang when our doctors and nurses simultaneously cared for a man with a poisonous snake bite, a young child near death due to dehydration from diabetes, and a critically ill young mother. All three of these patients were stabilized and transferred to hospital for ongoing care. Talk about unbelievable teamwork under stressful conditions!
Back on the compound, many children received their operations today. One little boy had an anaphylactic reaction to his antibiotic, but thankfully the team was well prepared and acted fast. This evening he was so happy to find two new football jerseys and a pair of new football cleats on his bed. How thoughtful of the team to bring these items to make such a scary experience a memorable one. Lee-Anne, Becky, Laura and Dr. Karen have a schedule for checking on the kids throughout the night.
The funniest story from today came from Dr. Simon. He had a difficult case that was being done under local anaesthetic which means the patient remains awake during their surgery. When he finished this technically difficult procedure, he simply said to himself “Hallelujah”, to which his patient surprised him by responding with a resounding “AMEN”, to which the translator translated a second resounding “AMEN!”. Apparently, this isn’t something that happens every day in the UK, and Simon is now wondering if he should be referred to as Pastor Simon.
The main health issue on the team today is fondly known as “cankles”. This is a condition where your ankles are so swollen that there is no distinction between them and your calves. There seems to be an epidemic of this today due to the heat and long hours on our feet. Not very attractive, but we will take cankles over diarrhea any day.
We celebrated a birthday tonight and Bex really seemed to love her gifts including the tube of toothpaste she received from the dental team. We were privileged to hear from Dr. Mensah tonight. Today is the 29th anniversary of their arrival back in Ghana as a family. He shared stories like only he can do, and wanted us to know that because of our work, his tribe feels that God cares for them.
At 3:00pm each day, our two students Josh and Elsa hand deliver an inspiration quotation and treat to every team member. I will end with today’s quotation from Florence Nightingale which seems so fitting considering the work of this remarkable organization called NEA began 29 years ago to this day.
So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.
Dr. Jennifer Wilson, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP, DIMPH