Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Day in the life

Many people ask me what daily life is like at Kudjip, so here is a summary from the past week:

Morning tea with Kira

Sunrise – Recently I’ve been waking up in the pre-dawn twilight. Once my mind starts going, sleep is an impossibility, so I read my devotional, check email, news, etc until my alarm goes off.

Breakfast – Currently I’m in a strawberry-banana smoothie and banana bread phase. I get a handful of strawberries from my garden each week and there are ample supplies of ripe bananas. 

Chapel on far left and Hospital
Administration building

Most days, work at the hospital starts at 8am, but on Mondays and Fridays we start early for Chapel and Doctor’s Meeting (continuing education), respectively.

Road to the Hospital

The walk to the hospital only takes about 5 minutes along a gravel road lined with staff houses.

Surgical ward rounds

Ward Rounds – Rounds on the surgical ward are usually fairly concise. We grab our rolling stools, start at bed 1 and roll our way around the large open ward all the way to bed 29. Charts and medication sheets are placed out on each bed for our review, new orders, and discharges.

Dr. Jim on surgical ward rounds

After Surgical Ward, we make quick rounds through the medical and pediatric wards to see any surgical consults.

Surgery clinic waiting room

Clinic, OT and Minor Procedures – Monday and Wednesday are surgery clinic days. Tuesday and Thursday are Operating Theatre days. Wednesday and Friday are Minor Procedure days. But, urgent or emergent surgeries can happen any day of the week.

Surgery clinic

As a team, we typically see 30-40 patients on an average clinic day—mostly referrals from the medical doctors, post-operative follow-ups or pre-operative admissions.  During the day, the medical doctors will find us if they have urgent surgical consults in the Emergency Room or a mother on Labor and Delivery who needs a C-section.

Operating Theatre staff

Operative days usually average 6-8 cases split between 2 operating rooms. Frequently, we have a Rural Registrar training in surgery who assists or performs portions of the procedure as appropriate for their skill level. We also have nursing students who learn to first assist.

 Lunch – Usually, I walk home for lunch, but the surgery schedule can be unpredictable. For some reason the lunch hour seems to be a popular time for emergent C-sections.  

Dr. Jim and Dr. Rebecca, rural
registrar, reviewing a chapter
in Primary Surgery text.
Dr. Cindy, rural registrar in
minor procedure 

Afternoons – Most afternoons, we continue the morning schedule wherever we left off – in clinic or OT. When we finish work early, we try to help with minor procedures or casting in the ER. Once or twice a week, we will review educational topics with our Rural Registrar. 

Balance beam day in gymnastics
Friday Afternoon Elementary School PE – Since September, I have been teaching PE to the MK elementary school students every Friday afternoon. At first, Ben and I thought we would switch off depending on who had Friday afternoon off, but now that Ben is on Home Assignment, I’m teaching every week. I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know the kids. So far we have finished the jump roping unit and gymnastics unit. Now, we are starting soccer.

Evenings - Each week varies, but typically one or two nights a week I will invite someone over for dinner or be invited to dinner, which is always a nice time to visit with the other families or volunteers on station. Occasionally, we'll plan a game night or movie night. Thursday nights are prayer meeting. The rest of the evenings I enjoy time to read, catch up on correspondence, or work on craft projects.

Immanuel Church

Weekends are a mix of work, rest and play. This past Saturday was a busy day on-call with 3 surgeries, an early morning chest tube after a stabbing, and a post-op patient needing some attention. 
All dressed up for church
in our meri blouses
This week, Sunday was my day of rest which included calling my parents, going to church, and relaxing. I often work in the garden, go for a walk or enjoy a meal with friends. Even though the weeks have a nice routine, each day is new and different, and I see God working through the hospital and staff each and every day. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Harvest Party

      Despite the distance, we still celebrate many “American” traditions as a missionary community here.  This year the theme for the harvest party was Superheroes (for those who didn’t already have a family costume theme).

Catwoman searching for Robin. 
Batman and Catwoman

Batman and Catwoman were in attendance as well as several supermen/women, Wonderwoman, Flash, and several Avengers. 

We all had fun bobbing for lemons (PNG substitute for apples), trying to eat flour balls off of strings (PNG version of a donut...tastes nothing like a donut), and eating ice cream sundaes. 

     A visiting speaker then gave a very good talk about heroes of the faith and the ordinary everyday heroes around and among us. He mentioned that most people who we consider to be heroes don’t even realize it or consider themselves to be heroes: the fireman who runs into a burning building to save someone, the co-workers who selflessly give of themselves to help the team succeed, the teachers and mentors who have led us to where we are today. Many times, those people aren’t trying to be heroes; they are just passionate about their work and passionate about following Jesus example to love others.  May God show us how to love more deeply and live more passionately for Him; then we truly will be superheroes.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Getting Crafty

Many people ask if I have free time and what I like to do in my spare time. Although it varies week to week, I do find plenty of time to rest, hang out with friends, and play sports. Even though I have traveled half way around the world, my love of all things crafts has not changed. I was quite excited to find an ample supply of yarn in myriad colors available here. 

The local ladies are quite adept at making “bilums” (bags) that are hand-woven in various sizes, shapes and colors.

I prefer to use the yarn in knitting and crochet projects.  Since color-work is my forte, it works out perfectly. 

I have made several hats to thank some of my national friends for helping me with language learning, gardening, etc.

Kira is also enjoying a few homemade toys.

It is fun to be able to give back to my PNG friends who have given so much to me.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Faces of Surgical Ward

Here are a few of the faces and stories of patients on surgical ward:

Rose, age 7, presented with intermittent bouts of screaming pain and a tender mass in her abdomen. Surgery revealed that her intestine had telescoped inside itself; a condition we call intussusception. After a successful surgical reduction, she is now making a full recovery. Please pray for her as she heads home.

Justin, age 16, came to the hospital in excruciating abdominal pain after a pig meal. In the highlands of PNG, there is a severe infection of the intestine called pigbel that can follow pig feasts. However, at surgery we found an all too familiar culprit: ruptured appendicitis. Previously rarely seen in the developing world, appendicitis is now becoming more common as the western diet becomes more prevalent. For the first several days after surgery, Justin lay still as a board, hardly moving, his face in a perpetual grimace. The day I saw him sitting up with this smile, I knew he had turned the corner to recovery. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

Paru is a young man in his twenties. While chopping down a tree, the tree trunk fell on him and broke his back. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. Permanent disabilities are very difficult to manage in a place where most people walk a dirt mountain path to get to their homes, where gardening is the main source of income, and where very few services exist. Thankfully, he was able to get a wheelchair sized for him at the local catholic health center. Please pray for him and his family during this very difficult lifestyle transition. Pray that they might find hope and strength in God in this time of struggle and doubt.

Jack is a walking miracle. During a tribal dispute, he stepped up to protect a female relative from a bush knife attack and was nearly decapitated. With God’s help, Dr. Jim (veteran surgeon), Dr. Rebecca (rural registrar trainee) and Dr. Erin (medial doctor) did an amazing job resuscitating and repairing the injuries to Jack’s neck. “I was staring at his spine,” Jim later recalled. By God’s grace, Jack survived and his family continues to praise God for this miracle. Please pray for Jack as he continues to recover and for his family as they try to resolve the on-going tribal conflict.

      I wish I could share the stories of each of the 28 patients currently admitted to the surgical ward with abdominal illnesses, fractured bones, bone infections, healing wounds, etc. Please continue to pray for our patients’ physical healing and spiritual restoration as they hear the word of God daily on the wards. Thank you for your faithful prayers.

Jack and family with Dr. Jim

(All names and pictures shared with permission)