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Day 3–the rest day

May 6, 2010

Well let’s say that it’s supposed to be a rest day. One of the things that I love about Togo is the hospital talks Wednesday’s off (usually the afternoon) to allow the staff to participate in ministries out in town. The challenge with anything medical in Africa in my opinion is the burden of disease. Yes–certainly missionaries that have been here for decades have made a huge impact into to people’s lives. But if you read their biographies (eg Jesus, MD by David Stevens–an FP/surgeon at Tenwek), you see how overwhelming the burden of disease is. You could operate 24/7, and you wouldn’t beat the problem. So I’m grateful when there is deliberate downtime to allow for time to plug-in to other aspect of the ministry.

However, not unsurprisingly, we performed two operations on men who had incarcerated hernias for several days. In the US, a hernia that is trapped in the groin goes to the OR immediately. This time unlike yesterday, the bowel was partially dead in on case. While attempting to put this flimsy inflamed tissue layers back together to repair the hernia, a young woman arrived in extremis. Ginnie had to do an emergency pericardiocentesis and removed about 200 ml of fluid but that didn’t help and the poor woman continued to decline without an identified etiology. Unfortunately her family left her near the end, and she died within hours of arriving at the hospital. Indeed the fragility of life is evident here.

On a brighter note, I did have the chance to talk with a man dieing from HIV about the gospel. Hopefully, he will decide to accept the Lord before he dies in the next few days/weeks.

Off to round…blesings to you all.

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