On this trip to several places in Kenya, I came first to Tenwek Hospital. I don’t know how many times I have been here in the past 17½ years but it is easily 20 times. It feels like old home week although with the new construction and constantly changing personnel, things keep changing. Renewing my Kenyan license and getting my work permit was expensive but it has been a great pleasure to be back in the operating room. One of the things I have done was to scrub with the residents on cases they are familiar with and trying to do a fair appraisal of their surgical skills. There are also three new career general surgeons here and so I have enjoying getting to know them and to offer some suggestions to them about things that are not common in the United States anymore. I have participated on rounds, given some mock oral exams, reviewed the recent written exams and had long talks with the program directors of both the general surgery and orthopedic programs.
The weather at this time of year at 4920 feet above sea level is the opposite season from N. America. It has been cool (low 50s) at night and overcast and rather drizzly at times during the day. However, July 4th dawned bright and sunny and the high of 71o felt a bit warmer than that. We celebrated our American freedom with a hotdog picnic at the Manchesters’ and a movie later in Carol Spear’s backyard. Patriotism always burns brighter outside of the country.
I plan five more days here at Tenwek and then will visit four mission hospitals in Kenya before returning to Kijabe Hospital. I will be visiting two of our graduates at two of those hospitals. I will be in Kenya until the morning of the 23rd.
Micky and Sean did not come to Africa because of her jury duty – but a few days after I left, she was called and told that she was released for at least another few years. It was sad that she and Sean couldn’t travel with me because of it – and now, too late, we find that she could have.
As we have mentioned before, my mother has been diagnosed with myelofibrosis (myelodysplastic syndrome), a condition where her bone marrow is not functioning. It is associated with the development of various types of bone marrow cancers and this week, they confirmed that she has developed multiple myeloma (a malignancy of the plasma cells). There is a specific drug that will, in combination with steroids, treat both conditions at once. It is a highly restricted and expensive drug and so she was thrilled to hear that her insurance will pay for it with only a relatively modest deductible on her part – at least for a while. She continues on the previous very expensive drug that she is also getting through a special mechanism at a low cost. God is very good. Please pray for her while she starts the chemotherapy – for her tolerance of the side-effects and that it may be effective.
Prayers and Praise:
- Please pray for continued traveling safety, wisdom and discernment for Bruce as he continues to travel in Kenya and for God’s hand upon Micky and Sean at home.
- Please pray for Bruce’s mother as she begins her therapy for multiple myeloma and myelodysplasia.
- Please pray for one of the missionaries who is struggling with family and personal issues. Also, for a variety of reasons, the family medicine and pediatric services have lost almost all their physicians for a while (furloughs, family issues, health issues including recently diagnosed cancer and so on). The hospital is slated to lose over 60 trained nurses and other paramedical personnel as the local governments try to hire away the best from the mission hospitals. Please pray for all involved and for the survival of the hospital.
So glad to be back!