Since coming to PNG, I have learned many procedures that I never performed previously: plating broken bones, repairing severed tendons, removing a uterus and ovaries, etc. But for each of those “first times” I had a seasoned surgeon walking me through the procedure. For the past 3 weeks, I‘ve been the solo surgeon here at Kudjip, following Dr. Jim’s departure home and awaiting Dr. Ben’s return. Enter a new "first time". Dr. Erin asked me to see a little boy, about 4 years old, from Sangapi, the rural village we both visited when I was doing my language and culture orientation. In fact, the watchman who accompanied this boy and his father on their 2 day walk across the mountains to Kudjip was one of the very men who we spent time with in Sangapi. The boy complained of recurrent urinary infections and an X-ray quickly diagnosed the problem: a bladder stone.
From my reading, I knew bladder stones are a fairly routine complaint at many missionary hospitals, but this was my first time seeing one. The surgery was very straightforward (with the help of textbooks and some prior experiences working on the bladder in residency). Our patient is doing well post-operatively and now has a new treasure to take home with him. Praise God for enabling us to take on new challenges!