HOME SWEET HOME….

I arrived home to Portland, (note I said “home”) last Sunday around 3pm, to my car in the long term parking lot with a key waiting for me. It was weird greeting “myself” at the airport and coming home to an empty house.  It wasn’t completely empty though, there was a beautiful bouquet of roses with a lovely valentine from Jeff and a special valentine from Liam (more on that later). Jeff had left for Cambodia the same day I left Uganda.  So we were both flying out of international airports on opposite sides of the globe but it’s where God has intended us to be without a doubt.  It’s a weird transition we are in, and we’ve decided planning back to back trips like this where we are apart for 6 weeks is not the best plan. I was supposed to be with him for his trips to Guatemala and Cambodia but Uganda was “calling me” and I just had to go… 6 weeks is a long time, but thank God for FaceTime, texting and Skype, for we got to talk almost daily via one of these wonderful gifts of technology.  With Jeff’s new role at MTI, I’m in a new light and trying to figure out how I can be just an ordinary volunteer and not “Jeff’s wife”.  Fortunately, few people in Uganda knew who I was, and we wanted it that way.  Plus there would be added security risks, which I wasn’t looking forward to. I’ve waited to type about this until I was at home. All went well though and I just got to be “Nurse Janey”, which is what I do best.  I’m not much for formalities and am a bit dense about them actually.

My first 24 hrs home I basically stayed in my PJ’s for 2 nights and a day.  This is a luxury I don’t normally do because I’m more motivated to unpack and be settled at home when Jeff is there.  But who would know?  (besides all of you now?)  I decided being organized is for the birds and just “being” is what I needed to do. I spent a ton of time on the phone connecting with loved ones, and absorbing being home… I read… At one time I walked into my ridiculously large walk-in closet and just stared at it.  This closet (which we didn’t design, but obviously came with the house) is larger than the room I lived in for a month, AND larger than the square footage the Congolese families lived in.  I tear up typing this…  how do I reconcile this?  What does this mean?  I actually like this closet now, but should I?  It certainly is NOT a need but it is open and is easy to organize.  I remember Nurse Deana on my last Uganda mission, teaching me that in her wisdom of 20 or so missions, her home in Idaho was not going to fix all the problems in Africa. She counseled me numerous times on this, that it was ok to have what you have here but it needs to be kept in perspective.  Perspective.  Something I’m still working on…

Ants.  I have ants in my new house. I hate ants and the pain they are trying to figure out where they come from and how to stop them.  Plus my counter tops are like camouflage to a little black ant. But the bright side is that when I opened my coffee cupboard and discovered them in my old fashioned clear sugar jar, I giggled.  They made me feel “at home” because I had constant trails of them on one of my walls in my hotel room.  The ants were my greeters.  I do still hate them though, despite the giggles.

My coffee pot.  I love my drip coffee pot and so looked forward to my first pot the morning after arriving home…  The pot failed to stay on and I giggled once again. I found out later it’d been being temperamental for Jeff while I was gone. Fortunately I had some more VIA packets to make a cup of coffee for the morning. “Fortunate”, what a stupid word here, like I who had been with refugees for a month would be “unfortunate” to NOT have brewed coffee one morning.  How silly.  Jim and I savored these VIA’s most of the mornings at the hotel, as I’d brought a great stash to share with him.  It was better than the instant that is typical for Uganda.  My cup of VIA once again took me back to the hotel mornings…   my re-entry is going well so far.

Piano…  Chelsea and Casey’s beautiful black piano is being babysat in our great-room until they have space for it again, soon.  This piano has been being played more than ours was the past 5 yrs in our old Issaquah basement.  It was therapeutic to sit and play worship songs to my Lord in the quiet of our home.  This was peace for my soul having been where I was.  My world is so different than the one I served in for a month, yet I was born into my zip code not by any doing of my own.  In the end we will all be together in Heaven, those who follow Jesus, and it won’t matter what zip code we came from, but what we did with that life we were given in that zip code.  This music was a salve to my soul.  I could play and sing (with much error) and it mattered not…

Pound cake, more like kilo cake…  Our last clinic day Jim and I had ordered 2 custom cakes, one for the MTI staff at the end of clinic, and one for the sweet hotel staff that lovingly cared for us each day at the tiny hotel.  Every African cake we have ever ordered for a party tends to be on the dry side (baked in a hot propane oven?), very heavy (thus “kilo” and not pound cake) and the frosting is full of dye and chips when you cut into it.  BUT the staff feel so special to have a cake decorated just for them and this is the take away… feeling special.  A case of soda pops, a cake and you have a party!

I’m randomly going backwards toward the end of our trip, my minds a bit scattered with being home and being there, plus I waited too long to write this…  The last day’s clinic was a bit stressful. Translators were hard to nail down and there were some other frustrations… and lots of malaria.  We’ve tried to make things go a bit smoother and to set in motion a more active role in the camp by walking through the 3 tent “villages” in the morning to round up sick refugees, but in reality we don’t have any idea if the next team will do the same. Jim has said a few times to me “The new team is gonna come here and wonder what the hell we did for a month!”  I agreed!  Creating change is hard, and for this staff who gets 2 new volunteers a month with their bright new (and not always realistic) ideas, how do you implement something that will stick?  The camp size changes…  acuity changes… patient load at the nationals clinic is more & more demanding… the government doesn’t replace staff so that the burden falls on MTI…  we hope that somehow our time here has not only helped those patients we’ve cared for, but has served as an encouragement to the staff who are on the front line day in and day out…

A delightful find last clinic day… I think I wrote about the 2 yr old who was in a coma at age 1 for 2 weeks due to meningitis.  I had given her physical therapy instructions for her toddler to strengthen his legs since he stopped walking with the meningitis and momma had basically had him strapped to her back for 14 months.  On my morning walk through the camp I finally found the mom again and asked her to come back to the clinic.  She was to come weekly but obviously needed a reminder.  Her son was actually able to take steps now with some minor assistance from mom’s fingers to hold on to.  His feet still rolled in some, but were improved.  He was such an encouragement to see and both Jim and I were pretty confident he was destined to walk! Thank you Lord for that glimpse of hope.

Siffa… as we pulled out of the clinic drive anxious to start our 4-5 hour journey to Mbarrara, I said to Jim that I hadn’t said goodbye to Siffa.  I felt horrible about this.  I think I told her the day before that we would be leaving, and that another team was going to take good care of her, but I feel like we just disappeared. Period. My concern is that she’ll feel abandoned by our love and attention.  Jim was very encouraging and positive (as usual) and told me we’d given her good attention throughout the whole month and that she felt loved by us every day we saw her. Thank you Jim…  I have no idea what goes through a refugee’s mind on something like this.  Maybe it’s an American thing to feel slided or abandoned by your expectations.  All I know is that I would do that departure differently, had I the chance.  All I can do now is pray for her and hope that the replacement team falls in love with her too.

Jonathan…  I passed on my pulse oximeter I’d purchased for the mission to Jonathan, the nurse that is basically the senior medical person for MTI there now (until our volunteer team arrives).  It was kind of like handing him gold.  I think he was honored to have such a tool that could tell you how much oxygen a person was getting, a gage for how critical they are and whether to transfer them.  He promised to share it with the new  team but I asked that he be in charge of it so that it stays with the MTI mission wherever they may move.  Jonathan is a wonderful staff person and I believe the star of the clinic.

After 2 days of car travel we were finally at the airport the evening of the 10th.  Jim’s flight was at midnight, ours 11:30p.  We were waiting for Jim to come through security but when he did his face reflected MUCH disappointment.  His flight was delayed until early am, but very indefinite on the timing.  His wife was home alone on Cape Cod in the snow storm and without power. Needless to say he was SO frustrated with the delay and only wanted to be home with his wife.  We later found out that a small private plane with a mom and her 3 kids crashed adjacent to the Brussels runway and this is why Jim’s flight was delayed.  The airport had been shut down for the investigation.  I was feeling guilty that maybe my flight should have been the delayed one since I was going home to no-one and Jim’s wife needed him. I never told Jim this, kind of a stupid thought since it’s not like I could twinkle my nose and switch places.  The news of the crash brought it all into perspective and patience grew…

Mike and I stood at the glass window dangling our MTI ID lanyards in hopes of the new team seeing us through the glass.  Dr. Jeannie did and she eagerly motioned me over to the open glass door that should not have been open.  We were able to carry on a conversation about 10 ft away from each other (until I almost got in trouble) and exchange information on Matanda.  She was wonderful, energetic and seemed like loads of fun.  But best of all she had read our email about our key patients, especially Siffa, and she was going to follow up…  It’s been 10 days now and no news yet, but I hope to hear something soon.

Luke has kind of told me I needed to post some sort of a re-entry blog for coming home, I kind of just dropped off.  For some reason I’m so late in doing this for this trip. Not sure why…  I’ve been picking away at finishing this blog entry but after I’d been home for 3 days I hopped on yet another plane to see Chelsea, Casey and Liam.  What a treat it was to be with family and to be entertained by Liam who is so animated now.  And what a contrast in the opportunities he’s already been afforded and the loving attention he’s able to receive because his parents don’t have to struggle to just survive.  I found myself SOOOO thankful and energized by this gift of time with them.  Jeff arrives home in 2 days now, YAHOO! And after 6 weeks apart we get to just enjoy each other this weekend and debrief. I’m so excited!

In closing this mission blog, tonight I went to part 2 of a lecture on spiritual warfare at our church.  I’d listened to part one on the podcast so I’d be caught up for tonight.  His talk was wonderful, very articulate and scripturally sound.  (if interested check out River West Church, February 13th and 20th)  He was explaining something that had referenced slaves and the history of slavery in different cultures.  Then he read from Galatians 3:28 which says:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

My flitting mind went right to my little people in Uganda, the Congolese refugees who are in such a different situation than I… and yet, we “are all one in Christ Jesus”.  My Jesus crosses the boundaries of this globe and binds us all together as one…

beautiful.

Love, Nurse Janey

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I THINK I’M DONE…

This is how I felt when I returned home tonight, but I’ll explain further in a bit…
     The clinic day for me was steady and productive in the refugee camp.  But for Jim it was the worst.  The volume of Nationals patients was just too great so he headed there to help out and in a few short hours he felt he’d seen about 50 patients, approx 80% of them having Malaria.  At the end of the day he came bursting into the refugee clinic saying, “Janey, I need your help with a kid.  She’s got a 106’ fever and I need help getting it down”.  I was actually packing up so I picked up the pace and we headed to the inpatient unit.  Jim was so frustrated on the speed walk there, he was so angry that this little one had been sitting for who knows how long with such a high fever, for there is no triage system in place and people just patiently wait… for hours.  He said, “I’m so angry right now but I need to keep it together and take care of her.  She could lose brain cells with this high of a fever”.  In the ward the nurse was bathing the near 2 yr old with water, after having given tylenol and was now trying to get an IV in.  The lab tech came to test for malaria and of course it was positive.  Shockingly, the parasite count wasn’t that high but her fever reaction needed to be treated as severe.  Holding her arms firmly for the IV, I found myself inwardly saying “I hate this malaria, I hate this malaria”… when we left she was getting the IV quinine that she needed.  What would have happened if the clinic wasn’t here???
     One of our hotel staff, Dan (28), has a cousin that has been missing since 1994, from the genocide in Rwanda.  His cousin was born in 1985, my Lukey’s year, and has been missing ever since.  I think I wrote about Dan before, but I need to write more.  He humbly cleans our rooms and washes our clothing, is soft spoken and kind.  I have a hand written sheet with all the facts about his cousin Patrick, for he asked me a couple weeks ago if I might help him find his cousin in one of the refugee camps and I promised I would do what I could.  He needed help and was so sober in his request.  Today I brought the sheet to the UNHCR tent to ask if they had a way to put his name in the computer to track a refugee from 1994.  The man said he could help me, but when I left the tent there was a new sign up, or at least one I’d never noticed before.  It was a poster from UN Red Cross for location of lost persons service, and it had a list of missing refugees they need help in locating.  The list was for loved ones who had gotten separated in this recent crisis.  Just imagine for a minute…  pause…  and wonder what it would be like to run for safety and be separated from your loved ones.  It’s just too much too imagine.  And when I read Luke’s birth year on Dan’s paper… it brings it all too close to home for me…
     After seeing this sign I sought out the Red Cross guy Benjamin, and transferred the paper to him for helping locate the missing refugee.  He promised to call Dan himself after he’d started the search process.  When we arrived “home” the staff, as always, say cheerfully “welcome back”,  with huge smiles.  I was so excited to share the news of this  Red Cross service to Dan and handed him the brochure explaining the conversation and that he would soon be getting a call.  He beamed and said sweetly “thank you”.  He was still on my doorstep when I opened my room and saw a photo of a man on my desk next to a small hand carved lion. I said “Where did this come from?”  He responded, “It is from me, to thank you for helping me in locating my cousin. I have written on the back to explain everything.”  So I turned over the photo and read these words, I can barely type them…
     “Mother Jane, In appreciation of your kindness and tender mercy to accept to help me in finding my cousin brother Munezero Patrick, I give you this gift.  Blessed be you and your descendants for prosperity.  For the gift small, I pray that God bless you abundantly as Matthew 5:5-8 says.  For my cousin’s recovery you can call my uncle direct…  (tel. numbers and emails)
In memory of me, I give you this photo.  Thanks alot.
I request you to a friend forever or even a family friend if possible.  From your African son    Namara Dan. Uganda.”
     I hug him and am too teary to barely speak and say “thank you”.  When I close my door this is when I quietly say aloud to myself “I think I’m done, I can’t take any more.”
So I get out my bible and read from Matthew 5:5-8, which says:
“Blessed are the meek,
For they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they will see God.”
Time to take a cool off shower and cry, it is just too much to receive…
     Typing this now I think, surely YOU Dan, will inherit the earth… and will be filled… and shown mercy… and you will see God.  This I am sure of.
     After cooling off, Jim and I enjoyed a cold beer on our patio (the usual) and debrief from the day, and then I have to fulfill a promise I made…
     Agabe, our sweet waiter, is a single dad of a 2 yr old boy who mother just decided to go away ???  The son is currently being raised by grandma while Agabe works hard at the restaurant.  Everything is such a blur now, I can’t remember what I’ve written but I’m too lazy to go back to old blogs.  One day a couple of weeks ago, Agabe presented me with a business plan.  He’d written out all he needed to purchase to start a “snack store, like fried feesh, some cheeps, some meat on stick, you know… snacks”  he said.  Of course.  His little proposal was so good and he was petitioning investors in his little business.  He needed 800,000 sh. ($320) to get started.  I praised him for his business plan and asked lots of questions before letting him know I just couldn’t invest in this because we are using our funds for medical issues here.  (how could we choose who to help here and who not, there is no end and we have to keep focused on our MTI work…) Agabe received my answer well and I then prepped Jim that he would be getting the same request, so he could prepare his praises and also his response.  I have since been consulting to this little entrepreneur, (too funny because I am not one).  I challenged him to think of what would distinguish his little snack store from others, why would people purchase from him before the competition?  His wheels were turning.
     Last week Agabe proudly walked me across the street to show me what he had started, even before all the funds had been raised. He’d hired a young girl to fry the meats and deep fry potatoes. The little hut was darling and had LOTS of potential, but for SURE would have been closed down by our health dept. at home. The location was perfect as he could keep a good eye on it across the street from the hotel.  I praised and praised him for all he had accomplished, and then gave feedback of how he could clean up the little hut and prep it for painting, painting with high gloss so he could continue to keep it clean.  He was so very proud.  So I’d promised him I’d go to the paint store one day after clinic, and help him shop for what paint to buy.
     Today was the day we could do it so we walked a few blocks to various hardware shops (tiny cubicle stores) to look for just the right paint.  For some reason I had a lime green in mind (but didn’t tell him) and he bright blue.  I was excited to see the paint chips or brochure choices.  First store, there were 4 jugs of paint on the floor and that was it.  No color mixing, no chip/brochure choices, no gloss to choose that would clean up well.  What was I thinking? That we were going to Sherwin Williams, or Benjamin Moore, or Home Depot?  I didn’t show my disappointment but said cheerfully, “Is there another store to look at?”  “Oh yes!”  So the next store has about 4 gallons of high gloss enamel in different colors and many pint sized cans… too expensive.  So we go to 2 more stores but I’m catching on that he may be getting the “muzungo” price with a white lady next to him.  So I ditch him in a shoe/skirt store nearby so he can get a “real” price.  Better, the price is getting better.  So we walk home and talk paint, talk how to get good prices by bargaining (now this I AM good at) and we talk design and color choices that would make and appealing “snack” restaurant (Candy, I need you here).  I create a scenario of him being new to this town and looking down this street along both sides. We pretend they are all tiny restaurants.  If you knew NOTHING about them, which would you choose to buy food at?  He doesn’t get it.  So I create the scenario another way and it takes about 3 more times.  FINALLY he looks up and points to a bright blue building, that to me has been popping out of the street scene since we turned the corner. All the other store fronts were dirt neutral colors and drab. NOW he gets it.  He sees it looks bright… and clean… and inviting… and like the cook & owner care about cleanliness.  YEAH, a break through and he’s smiling big.  So I’m NOT buying Agabe’s paint like I’d thought I would, and hopefully he wasn’t expecting it.  I realize that yet again, how do we decide who to help out in this way.  He has been given the gift of advice, counsel and encouragement.  He is happy.  For now I told him to take lots of soap and a scrub brush and scrub the walls clean.  Plus the paint will stick better when he can afford to buy it :0)

     On route home he asked “Do you want to see where I live?”  Sure.  As we walked between broken buildings I thought “this could be stupid”  If I didn’t trust him and know that he cared about me.  In the courtyard of broken building were 3 men dismantling a motorcycle.  At first my heart stopped a bit, then I watched Agabe and he was unmoved. He proudly unlocked the door to his humble abode.  It was about the size of 2 twin beds, was tidy (he was not expecting me), but dreary and dark.  The walls were being wallpapered with leftover newspaper.  He had me sit in the plastic stacking chair so he could take my photo.  So sweet.  It felt hot and claustrophobic but needed to do it.  The pride on his face of what he was doing, his job, his new business, his “home”, was so humbling.  And all with the focus to give a good life to his two yr old son “Alpha”.  I was humbled to be there…

 

     Siffa, sweet siffa.  Not such great news here, as last weekend her dad was resisting her being removed from his refugee registration form and insisted she be put back on his.  He was under the misconception that we’d given her money, and he was missing out.  And also missing out on the extra supplies when you have more family members.  Love, what about love?  So Saturday I was disappointed to discover this but couldn’t handle an angry dad who was requesting her meds and forms be returned to him.  We were afraid he might take her back to the Congo so I sucked up and tole him we love her to come daily and are happy to keep all her records for him. He smiled and left. We felt the politics needed to wait for the commander who was gone for the weekend.  So today he was back and I discovered that the UNHCR cannot enforce families to give up their children.  I get that.  But Siffa?  He said the couple still agreed to help as long as they were relocated near them when the convoy moved the next 600 or so refugees.  So we have to rest in this and continue to work with the dad as is.  Jim prepared an extensive email to the incoming team in hopes that they may have new insight to her care and also hoping things don’t fall through the cracks for her.  She’s complicated…
     Tomorrow is our last full day and then Thursday we work until 1 or so before starting the 4+ hour drive to Mbarara.  Tonight we had a lengthy but necessary debriefing with David Alula and the new administrator for the program in Matanda.  We are hopeful that our feedback was helpful in bettering the program, but I’m now pooped.  It’s been a long day from a clinic that was too busy, to a 106‘ temp toddler… to Dan making me cry… to paint choices/counseling… to debriefing.  Journaling helps me keep the memories of what I am learning and experiencing here, and I hope it blesses those who read it. It’s been a great and challenging month, but I’m smelling the barn…   Jim told me the other night that he’d go on any mission with me, that he felt we worked well together and he would certainly do it again.  Cool, that was so cool of him to say that. I told him I certainly feel the same .   As they say in Africa,
God is good… all the time.  All the time… God is good.
Good night,
Love Nurse Janey
IMG_0763
Proud Agabe’s new “Snack Store”
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 IMG_0799
The nursing staff model their new “smart” lab coats…. quite proud!
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6 week “Failure to Thrive” infant who I was able to do 3 breast feeding sessions with mom in order to increase her milk supply, he’s gaining weight now

P.S. This was taken from our friends ministry website in South Africa, where they work with the townships empowering the church to come along side the people in need.  I simply love this!

Martin Luther King, Jr on the Role of Religion in Society

“A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man’s social conditions….Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.

SIFFA HAS A NEW MOMMA AND DADDY!

     Today was too good to be true…  This morning Jim and I discussed Siffa’s situation and how we need to arrange something better for her.  When she relocates to the permanent settlement, possibly next week, she will need to be handed over to whoever runs the medical clinic there (if they have one) and also really needs a foster mom or family to watch after her.  Her father has regressed in his care of her and she seems to be on auto pilot again… but stable.
     This morning before we started clinic in the camp, I walked over to the UNHCR camp commander, a man who is kind of like a gentle “Great Santini”, a tall poised man who commands respect just by his presence…  kind of how I felt about my dad 🙂   I  approached him saying “Commander, I’d like to talk to you about Siffa.  We talked last week about her needing a foster family and nothing has been done.”  He had compassion in his face and we talked about her needs and her father’s lack of care or capacity to take good care of her.  He was amazing and agreed and said “we shall find a loving family for her, someone who can attend her at the hospital and take good care of her.”  We have learned that good intentions are just that, usually good intentions, but that you have to be a squeaky wheel here and at least try (and in America too for that matter).
     About ½ hour later I was summoned to his tend, kind of like going to the grand “poo-bah” (sp?).  I sat in the dark tent and saw a stoic couple sitting across the dirt floor with a Red Cross woman between them.  No smiles.  He informed me that these people have agreed to be Siffa’s parents, that they will welcome her into their family and take good care of her. They already know her well and live only a few tents away. He said that when they relocate to the settlement camp, they will move as a large family and all be placed together, the 2 yr old too. I was very excited to hear this but the faces I was looking at didn’t look too happy (concern… ).  I said, “The mom isn’t smiling, is she happy about this?”  He boldly said “Oh yes” and spoke to the woman who giggled a bit, more words exchanged and he then said, “She is very happy”.  Phew!  They have 4 children of their own, looked very clean at 9am, kind of a lean daddy and chubby momma. Perfect. I asked how Siffa’s dad will take this, thinking Jeff would want to kill someone if they told him his kids were going to be fostered by someone else.  The commander said, “He will be very happy, he knows it is too much for him to care for them.”  Inside I have a tinge of wonder, thinking the dad might come after me/us and be angry…  The Red Cross person went to summon the dad and they had a meeting with the commander and the couple.  While waiting I told the parents that because Siffa has HIV, if she is bleeding they should use gloves but that the risk is mostly if they themselves have a cut or open sore for them to get contaminated.  I explained more, they understood and seemed unconcerned. I returned to the clinic because I did NOT want to be there for the news.  When dad and Siffa arrived and the commander spoke to them, all of them came smiling out of the tent and came over to me at the clinic.  They were smiling and I was told the father was so very happy…  and Siffa was smiling too!  I had Jim take a photo of all of us and as they walked away toward registration to formally change the tent situation, Siffa straggling behind as kids do.  I smiled and watched her as she tossed her plastic bag of stuff up in the air as if to celebrate.  I called “Siffa!”  She turned and had a big toothy smile!  I waved and when she turned I called her again “Siffa”… smile,  and then again…same big smile. I couldn’t get enough of her happy face.  She now has a loving family… and it was simply the BEST day.  Jim and I feel so good about this outcome and the protection of her precious life. It was a worry for us. We have talked over and over about her case. We’ve had been planning how to pass her off to the incoming team…  done.
     A bit later I walked up to the commander in a field and hugged him saying, “Thank you for finding her a home.  So many people in the States have been praying for her and I’m so excited to write them tonight and tell them the news.”  He boldly said, “Thank you for being so appreciative, it is wonderful!”  He promised to call the commander in the new camp where they will move next week, so that he will check on her regularly. He also said he would personally check on her when he goes there.  He will get the number of the Doctor who would follow her so that Jim can “pass the baton” to him.  We are so thankful God has heard out prayers.  Simply the BEST day yet!
     Starfish… MB reminded me of the Starfish story in her blog “comment” after my sad day, “it is good to remember Royal Family Kid’s Camp’s motto…you know it, “it makes a difference for that starfish….if even one” Sleep well and my prayer is that God will continue to give you some evidence of hope amidst the huge amount of pain and injustice.  Thank you for that sweet reminder MB, Siffa is evidence of that hope amidst this pain, and also evidence that as Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of that which is not yet seen.”  Amen.
     Yesterday, more starfish moments…  Jim and I were confident yesterday was going to be a good day for both of us.  Monday was a downer for me, Tuesday a downer for Jim, Wednesday had to be looking up, right?  We worked together in the refugee clinic all day because the Nationals clinic had 2 clinicians and they were handling the work load fine.  We had a lower volume day but meaningful patients… some “starfish” moments.  If you haven’t read the starfish story before, here it is:

“While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “I don’t know about you, but I think it’ll make a difference for this one.”

     Our Starfish Wednesday…  I had a man who was very sick on Tuesday, no malaria and I was puzzled.  I sent him off with some sort of treatment, I can’t remember what now and it doesn’t really matter, because as he started to walk away he looked more weak now walking out of the tent, like he might actually fall.  I summoned him back and asked Jim to review him. Something bigger was happening. He ended up getting admitted overnight and treated for Typhoid Fever.  Wednesday afternoon he was  upright, smiling and ready to walk out of the inpatient ward at the end of our day.  YEAH!  Good job Jim!  (and phew, thanks for covering for me…)
     4 days earlier, we’d seen a 5 week old baby who was septic (fever) and was malnourished. I blogged about this mom who claimed “I don’t have much milk.” The ribs were lean and he looked less than his birth weight of 3 kg.  I put the baby to the breast and watched the baby eat. He was hungry, but face a bit vacant. Then mom stopped after about 2 minutes as if she was done. No, you are not done, I thought.  Her affect was as if she could have postpartum depression.  First baby and she seemed a bit clueless.  These people grow up with babies nursing everywhere, it’s like living in a La Leche League village!  We took her to Jonathan to start an IV for medicine to cover the fever. But first I made her breast feed 10 minutes on each side. She was supposed to come back daily but did not.  So for two days I’d been watching for her and asking around about a one month old baby who’d been sick. Wednesday afternoon I wandered out to the immunization tree in the camp after seeing patients.  Sweet Nurse Sharon was doing immunizations and guess who was there with the baby?  I had her follow me to the clinic.  He was more lethargic, mom still complained of not having enough milk and she was supplementing with boiled water.  Yes, boiled water.  We discovered he still had a bit of a fever too.  This was the coolest and Jim and I were still talking about how amazing it was at dinner tonight.  I made her breast feed 10 minutes on each side again, and she needed coaxing to continue and to tickle feet, etc to keep the baby awake.  He had a great suck and I could see him swallowing.  She still claimed her milk was not much but I was able to squirt it out and it hit my arm.  “See, you have milk!”  I said. Then I mixed some F-75 formula in one of my water bottles and I started giving small amounts to the baby via a tiny medicine cup.  He was practically gulping the formula and would almost smack his tiny little lips.  As he drank, about 50 ml or so, his eyes brightened and he looked around more alert.  It was like watching him bloom. 🙂 The mom again, was unfortunately not too impressed… a bit flat still, even though I praised her and told her he was getting stronger.  Again, what’s going on?  Postpartum depression?  Or did her thought of the bad deed her husband had done kicking the dog when she was pregnant, haunt her so that she believed the baby would die anyway?  We just couldn’t figure her out.  Despite, this little “starfish” was another breakthrough that Jim and I felt could have died otherwise if she hadn’t been sought out.  After feeding I brought her to the inpatient ward to get more antibiotics for her infection.  Unfortunately, today we discovered she hadn’t waited for the medicine and took off again…  uggh.  SOOOO, I hunted her down again today and repeated breast feeding lesson number 3!  Only this time I asked the translator who she lived with.  Turns out she lives with her aunt who has 5 kids.  So I had the translator bring the aunt to the clinic and taught her the same information and had her actually feed the baby with a bottle lid.  Now the momma has accountability and is supposed to come back daily to be evaluated. Again we saw his eyes come to life.  He simply wants to eat.  Tonight Jim was talking about how cool it was to see that baby gulp down the formula practically saying ‘feed me, feed me”.  So simple… and yet soooo complicated.
     My last little starfish…  walking through the camp in the morning our hope was that I’d be able to see what kids were sick and round them up to come to the clinic.  A Red Cross volunteer found us and told me about a 2 yr + 2 mo. old whose momma claimed her son hadn’t walked yet.  He’d gotten sick at age 1, was in a coma for 2 weeks and hadn’t walked since.  She was told to take the toddler to the hospital in Congo if he wasn’t walking by age 2.  Then the war broke out and they ended up in a refugee camp.  The story was getting so complicated I cut off the intake and asked them to come to the clinic.  By the time I returned to the clinic Jim was seeing the child and was told he couldn’t walk.  He said whoooo, let start with what’s happening today… a fever, headache and diarrhea, all malaria symptoms and all nothing I’d been told.  He sent the kid off for a malaria test and when I saw this I said “Wait a minute, he came here because he’s not walking.”  I was so glad jim had started in on current symptoms before I got there because the mom wasn’t offering them to me.  Her concern to me was NO walking at all.  So they returned with a positive test and was started on malaria treatment.  Then I began a physical assessment.  Mom had carried the toddler on her back for the past 14 months.  He’d had meningitis at age 1 and after the 2 weeks in a coma she carried him everywhere.  When I had him stand in front of her, hanging on, he showed some, not much, but some leg strength.  He could lift one leg and lower a bit but his feet pronated (turned in) because he’d been wrapped around his momma’s tummy.  I taught her PT exercises both working on standing plus other little movements and when lying on his back.  Her assignment was to do “PT” 4-5 times a day for 15 minutes and to NOT carry him all day.  She is to tease/bribe him with something in front of him on a mat to make him learn to crawl toward it. Haven’t seen one toy in the camp, 😦   but she’ll come up with something.  Currently he can only scoot on his butt.  She’s to return weekly and we are confident he will progress.  Maybe not perfectly but he showed potential.  Another starfish!  And to think I could have missed malaria because I’d only been told about the walking problem.  Again, teamwork is essential!
     So tonight we were very thankful.  More good stuff today too but I’ve written enough and am tired.  Jim and I are transitioning to thinking of how we can leave the clinic better than when we found it, as we only have 5-1/2 more days of work here. We want to be positive and not critical (hard at times). We have so many thoughts about how things are done here but this is not our culture and we need to work within the system, which again is challenging.  Servants hearts… we have witnessed that in the staff we work with and so we have allot to learn.  These staff have left their families to serve these refugees.  One of the nurses husband’s works 4 hrs away as an accountant in a bank, her 6 yr old lives with grandma somewhere else and she lives in the tiny town of Kihihi so she can work in a refugee camp.  We have no idea of how hard this would be day in and day out.  Thank you Lord for the life lessons you are teaching us here, may we be better for it…
Love,
Nurse Janey
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Just a cuddly cutie pie
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lone wee one along the road
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Our beautiful drive thru Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
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My baby in Kisoro who was severely dehydrated and loved the salty ORS
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“Siffa!” I called, she turned and beamed!
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Siffa’s new mom and dad on my left
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still drinking basically salt water
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Dueling cameras with Jim, a great get away weekend in beautiful Uganda

THE STEADFAST LOVE OF THE LORD NEVER CEASES…

As the song says…

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases

His mercies never come to an end

They are new every morning, new every morning

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh Lord.

Great is Thy faithfulness

 

Yes, it was a better day today.  Won’t blog about it now but just better and smiling more.  Jim, on the other hand had a bad one.  Guess that’s why they call it “teamwork”, where we can lift each other up and be one another’s encouragement. God is good.

Love,

Nurse Janey

 

ps can’t figure out why my typing is double spacing… oh well, the words are what is important

TIGGER LOST HER BOUNCE TONIGHT…

Today was a hard day.  Not sure what was the real problem…  I’m not proud to say that I found myself at one time figuring out how many more days I had to do this. (cry)  That doesn’t feel good to admit, but tonight when I confessed to Jim after dinner that I was in a bit of a funk, and told him the above thought, he was wonderful.  He encouraged me that “It’s normal and not to feel bad.  We have days where we miss our family, and there are just too many sad things we are facing.  It seems to not end… In a day or two you’ll wake up and will be anxious to get back to the clinic” then he said “If we didn’t get to feeling this way we’d be sick ourselves”… Thank you Jim.  Malaria, tropical ulcers, babies with fevers, more malaria, and then a momma with a 9 month old who I discovered was a victim of domestic violence AND the kids too (five).  That took the cake…

After dinner while taking a shower I was praying and the Lord told me

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

Period. Ok.

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

I need to rest in that, I am too small to understand all this pain.

When the world seems so sad, I usually have a favorite praise song (of the month) that comes to my heart to sing.  Tonight it was Brooke Fraser’s song from Hillsong United called “Soon”.  Sometimes it feels that “Soon” isn’t soon enough…

It goes like this:

Soon and very soon
My King is coming
Robed in righteousness
And crowned with love
When I see Him
I shall be made like Him
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
I’ll be going
 

To the place He has 

prepared for me
There my sin erased
My shame forgotten
Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon
See the procession
The angels and the elders
‘Round the throne
At His feet I’ll lay
My crowns my worship
Soon and very soon

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb
The Lord of heaven

I will be with the One I love
With unveiled face I’ll see Him
There my soul will be satisfied
Soon and very soon

 

So I was playing the song “Soon” tonight after reading Psalm 139 where God’s word tells me in verse 23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Amen.

Then this song came on next…  I especially appreciated the words “quiet my soul”…

LEAD ME TO THE CROSS      By Brooke Fraser

Savior I come 

Quiet my soul 

Remember

Redemptions hill

Where Your blood was spilled

My ransom

Everything I once held dear 

I count it all as loss

 

Lead me to the cross

Where Your love poured out

Bring me to my knees

Lord I lay me down

Rid me of myself

I belong to You

Oh lead me… lead me to the cross

 

You were as I

Tempted and tried

You won

The word became flesh

Bore my sin in death

Now you’re risen

Everything I once held dear

I count it all as loss

 

Lead me to the cross

Where Your love poured out

Bring me to my knees

Lord I lay me down

Rid me of myself

I belong to You

Oh lead me… lead me to the cross

 

Lead me to Your heart

To Your heart

To Your heart

Lead me to Your heart

Lead me to Your heart

 

 

THE DAY: This morning started out by Jonathan debriefing us a bit and letting us know a 6 week old died at the clinic on Saturday, about 10 minutes after she arrived.  This baby was treated for malaria early January, before we came, got better then worse last week.  The baby had an abscess that was progressing on her buttock but we hadn’t seen it. She’d had a bad fussy night, next day gave it “herbal” medicine, left her in the tent 2 hrs and went about doing things, came back to a cold baby struggling to breath.  It was too late for her to be saved when she was brought to the clinic.  A death that was so unnecessary and probably preventable.  The refugees know the clinic is there and available long hours, but we are deciding to do more walking through the camp to triage and search for kids that may be sick and not being brought in to us yet.

Today was a long, hot, day, with lots of patients.  I was working up in the nationals clinic and a one month old refugee baby was sent to me from the camp.  The new momma’s baby had a fever and was poorly nourished.  She claimed her milk wasn’t very good and that she believed when she was pregnant her husband had kicked a dog and this is why her baby is sick.  I found myself today asking “what do I do with this?”  and many times shot up little arrow prayers to God saying “help me Lord, this is a sick one and help me to do what is right.”  THe mom had also been giving her infant herbal medicine in a spoon… a one month old with ribs showing.  She just needed more breast milk.  I thought at one time how it would be to be in the momma’s shoes (or no shoes) bringing my precious baby to this white lady I’d never met AND TRUSTING HER.  Oh Lord, help me to do right…  this is huge responsibility and I want to do right.  Jim told me that today he too found himself running through the differential diagnosis (choices of diagnosis) in his mind and contemplating the symptoms.  He thought at some point that his translator must of thought he was nuts.  That was a comfort for me to hear tonight when I was in my “funk”.

The contrast is huge, of skyping before dinner tonight with my darling Liam who is healthy and clean, and full of life, and he brings a green truck to the computer screen to show grandma what he has.  He has no idea his grandma has been with sick/dirty kids all day who won’t have such a promising future, and who’s parents are just trying to feed and keep them well.  The mom’s here don’t show allot of emotion but they DO love their children…

Saturday when we visited the Kisoro refugee camp, a 4-½ hr drive away near the Rwandan and Congo border, we were touring the camp with our colleagues and a man with a woman and baby strapped to her back tried to tell us how sick the baby was. A crowd was gathering as we tried to get their words translated. Clinic was over and they had not brought this baby in.  She was about 9-10 months old, hot feverish face but cool hands and feet.  Her breathing was only 24 and I expected it to be much higher with the fever.  Was she shutting down?  Here eyes were sunken, she was lethargic and we discovered she’d had watery diarrhea for 3 days.  The mom wiped her own tears away with her wrap a few times, something I had never seen.  Marilyn called ahead to the clinic and we arranged transport there to be seen first by the on call person, and then transfer to the hospital only 8 minutes away.  The referral hospital for our camp is 4 hours away so this seemed very convenient.  After touring more, we stopped by the clinic again about an hour later, and found “my baby” plus 2 other sick kids waiting to be transferred.   No fluids had been started.  I grabbled a bottle of water out of our car, mixed it with oral rehydration salts (ORS) and began pouring it into her mouth.  ORS is VERY salty and full of electrolytes.  It frankly tastes awful.  If a patient likes it, you know they are VERY dehydrated. She was practically gulping the liquid life, and drank so much that she burped and vomited on me twice.  Great.  So I started over again, hoping some was getting absorbed and she seemed to be coming back to life a bit. Now she was more ready for the transfer…  After the vehicle left with the 3 kids, we went to the hospital for a tour with a NY doc who is serving there for a month.  The last unit we saw was the pediatric admission ward where guess who was waiting in the lobby still and NOT getting more hydration?  My baby.  So I picked up the second bottle I’d given them and offered her more liquid.  She continued to drink but not as much this time.  An interpreter translated for me for her momma to KEEP offering it to her.  Her eyes were coming back to more life and we left.  I hope she is continuing to get better even today… we have to simply let go after doing what we can.

Probably the worst case today that zapped me was a woman and her 9 month old baby.  The baby had fever, cough, etc. And she had vaginal discharge and painful urination. Turns out her husbands took a second wife and the two of them were also being treated for “this problem.”  Great. I asked her if her babies right eye was always smaller than her left, was she born that way?  (thinking it looked like it could be swollen and infected but mom hadn’t complained about this at all).  Yes, it was “normal” since 3 months of age.  Her husband had hit her so she’d fallen on the baby and now the baby’s eye was like this, partially open.  More questions.  How often does your husband hit you?  About 2 times a week.  What does he do?  Hits me with a stick and sometimes throws me against the wall, he “takes alcohol” sometimes.  Does he hit or hurt the children?  Yes.  Have you reported this to the police?  Yes, but they released him and he got mad at me.  I fear for my life sometimes.  Great. …I’m getting sadder and sadder about this and have nothing I can do.  I had my interpreter counsel her that it is NEVER OK FOR A MAN TO HIT A WOMAN, AND ESPECIALLY THE CHILDREN.  That is a weak man.  That she needs to go where she is safe… but she fears he’ll come after her.  Yuk.  More sadness in my heart.  I go to Jonathan, the ugandan clinical officer and he recommends I chart on a separate paper the story she’s told me, and encourage her to take it to the police for help.  I do so, including the damage to the baby in hopes the police might take it more seriously, I treat her medical issues and pray she’ll get the help she needs.  There is no “battered woman’s” shelter or support here… more sadness.

So tomorrow will be another day.  Another hope.  Another opportunity to love on some people and try to make their life better. Many lives have been saved here, I have no doubt. Today I had a not so hopeful a situation, and I had to learn that it’s not up to me, “We do the best we can” as Jim said to me tonight, “and at least we have our faith”.  Yes, at least we have our faith.  Because “Soon and very soon, MY king is coming… and

Though I have not seen Him
My heart knows Him well
Jesus Christ the Lamb
The Lord of heaven

This is my hope.

Love,

Nurse Janey

ZAWADI “SIFFA” IS HOME… AND SMILING!

     The highlight of my week was seeing Siffa today.  My translator Provia and I went to find her in the refugee camp first thing this morning and found her in her tent with her dad, brother and another woman and toddler.  She looked happy to see us and was definitely more comfortable.  A crowd started to gather around the tent and everyone was saying “Siffa, Siffa”.  She is kind of a celebrity now with all this attention.  Fortunately they came back with records from her hospital stay, a few labs (not enough) and an ultrasound report that showed enlarged liver and enlarged speen, no kidding?  But no masses.  Normal bowel loops (no air) and normal kidneys.  We STILL can’t figure out why she is so bloated, as it is not fluid from liver problems :/   When in the exam tent I told her via the intrerpreter that I’d sent mail to America asking for people to pray for her, and that now many people were praying for her!  Her dad smiled big and told her in thier language, then she kind of shrugged shyly and smiled again… yeah!
     Jim is puzzled about her situation and thinking that since she is better we should keep her off the ARV’s she was put on for HIV.  He feels she was put on them early anyway and the side effects could be resolving some now.  Her dad later told me that she did not have HIV anymore and that he isn’t giving her meds anyway since they left.  What? We’d been told they instructed her to go back on them. He said the hospital told him she was normal and didn’t need HIV meds now. ???  Language is just so complicated, with and without translators!  We repeated her HIV test, as well as dad’s and 2 yr old brothers.  Dad and brother are negative but I had to inform him that Siffa is  still positive, as we expected…  Turns out he misunderstood the ultrasound to be saying she was “ok now”.  I asked when her mother died and it was a year ago.  He explained that she was bewitched and died in the hospital with IV’s.  I told him I didn’t believe she was bewitched but that she had AIDS and he and son were fortunate not to get it. I asked if he had a spiritual belief… yes, “protestant”. I showed them my cross and said I was a believer too and believed that her momma was in heaven now and that someday they would be reunited.  I asked if I could pray for them and he nodded yes.  So we held hands in the center and I was able to lift them up in prayer.
Siffa looks so at peace now…
     Now the parenting lecture…  I asked dad if he “takes alcohol” at night. He denied it, but I told him I know otherwise, that the Red Cross and others know he does and have told us and it is NOT good.  I pointed to Siffa and said she and her brother need a daddy to take good care of them, their momma is gone now and he is all they have… and that the bible tells us that “Children are a gift from the Lord”, and when he chose to have children he took on the responsibility to take good care of them.  He seemed to listed to my words (via the interpreter) and I praised him for how he had been taking better care of her the last few days by washing her clothes, etc.  Smile again.  Siffa patiently waited while all this adult conversation was taking place. I promised to find them later and let them know the doctors decision on her medications.
     At the end of our day my interpreter and I found Siffa once again in her tent. She came out in yet another cleaner top!  Lots of children and adults gathered around.  Again, she looked like a celebrity in the camp.  She smiled at the attention and looks SO much more comfortable now, it is simply the best.  We had brought her a bag of 20 “plumpy nut” packets from WFP (World Food Program).  I almost got mauled (just kidding, but close) when I brought them to the camp, as they are in high demand and loved like candy. Each packet is about 500 calories and full of good stuff (kind of a peanut butter squeezie) to give good nutrition. When leaving I hugged Siffa and kissed her on the forehead, and she smiled again and kept longer eye contact. The mom who seems to be helping them out said loudly “Oh Siffa, you have a new mommy, this muzungo loves you!”  I didn’t know what she’d said but Siffa smiled big and the crowd joined in kind of cheering.  Provia translated for me and I was SO VERY HAPPY!  I waved good bye and said we’d see her again on Monday…
     As Provia and I walked home to the upper camp, we discussed Siffa’s reaction.  Provia beamed and said “She is SO happy, she is improving!”.  I told her she feels loved now and is enjoying all the attention, and that when she is known as “the girl with HIV” in the camp, she becomes kind of an outcast or like a leper.  Now everyone seems to be enjoying her and she is getting more attention than anyone!  Her medical situation is still uncertain, and most likely not hopeful, but she feels loved.
Touch, she needed touch…
It was a great ending to the week and I say thank you Jesus, for answered prayer.
Love,
Nurse Janey
P.S. Many of you know that on January 6th a baby girl was born to one of my prior drivers for a Uganda trip.  I received an email from Peter saying his second baby girl was born and her name is “Janey Pineo”!  …not Pinneo, but Pineo.  He was asking for my prayers because she was in the hospital after delivery and still sick. I later got news she and momma went home. Today I received an email photo of my beautiful namesake, more good news!  TGIF
P.S.S. We head out on a weekend driving trip to Kisoro Camp where our 2 colleagues are working at a camp with about 6000 congolese who have fled the M23 rebels.  We look forward to seeing the are and also to cool off a bit as it is in the mountains.  Marilyn has been going to bed in fleece with a hot water bottle, when I have needed 2 showers to cool down.  We hope to travel home Sunday via Bwindi National Park where the gorillas are.  Jim and I are happy to see new scenery and maybe a few monkeys :0)
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Remember I said you put on some cloth and voila!  you are dressed?  Of course they have big smiles until I point the camera at them!
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Sweet Siffa is home…  look how clean she is :0)
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Jim checks Siffa out and then we review her medical records
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 My little visitors at the tent clinic door, they ventured inside to get closer to the mzungo
Janey

Baby Janey Pineo, born January 6, 2013  So fun!

FAMILY… HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I LOVE MY FAMILY???

A huge difference from this mission trip comparing it to my first trip to Uganda in 2005, is that we were allowed about a 15 min phone call once a week, and there was no WiFI.  I had no laptop, computers were archaic, and transmission VERY slow.  I remember typing my journal and being almost done, only to find the email crash and disappear.

This trip and the last one, I’ve had a laptop (as Jeff says, I’m having an affair with MAC, whom I love), and we have access to a WiFi stick connecting us actually to a phone line.  I have no clue how it the “stick” works, all I care is I get to see my families faces and hear their voices almost daily.  Jeff too, is away from home, so seeing each other is awesome. Sometimes he sounds like the chipmunks cartoon, but makes me smile.  I was actually supposed to be with him on his trip, but when the offer came to go on a team to Uganda, it tugged my heart and he knew I was lost and said go…  So now I can be useful here, and he useful there.  All is good :0)  I’m so proud of you honey, of just “YOU” and the great job you are doing.  You are my buddy…

Casey is doing a one month “sub-i” or internship in Denver for this month, and I am so proud of the hard work you are doing Casey.  You are so very dedicated to doing well AND to being a good husband and daddy. Chelsea and Liam joined him in Denver and they have been staying at our WONDERFUL friends, Scott and Diann’s in Golden.  Then the extra bonus and ANOTHER wonderful hospitable thing from Scott and Diann, Luke joined them!  You are amazing Scott and Diann, welcoming them all into your empty nest, and I know they have loved being with you and your grown family that is nearby. Your house will be so quite when they leave :/  or 🙂 … could be both!  Luke is on route back to Buena Vista where he guided white water rafting the last two summers, so he took a detour in plans and lived with them in the basement for about a month to help with Liam and get special “Uncle Lukey” time.  He and Liam are absolutely “tight” right now and I warned Chelsea he may steal him when they try to leave.  If you are a grandma, you can imagine how it warms your heart to see your family living together like this…  Casey had a good month in the NICU, neonatal intensive care unit, but is ready to head back to Loma Linda for the end of his fourth year in medical school.

***A side note: All these details in my blog may not be important to many of you reading, and make them quite long, so sorry… but they are for ME, because it’s all about me, right?  Just teasing…  My journals serve as my memory, and I have a book of them at home that I occasionally go back and read through.  They transport me in time to the place I was in my heart.  It is invaluable, and I actually hope someday my grandkids (note plural… I’m hopeful) will want to read them and learn about God’s hand on their grandma’s life, and Grampy’s too of course, especially when we are gone.  So, you won’t offend me at all in not reading any of my blogs, they are LONG and I’ve never been known for being short winded, right?  I’m a detail kind of gal…

Sweet Liam… how fun it was to see your cute little white body in the bathtub, and cute buns too of course!  You are only 20 months old and talking soooo much, and with such expression too! Then I got to see you playing play-dough on Scott and Diann’s table with their cute granddaughter Raimee… reading on Lukey’s lap and the playing with daddy on his day off.  I got to see you playing in your first snow and trying to climb up a tiny icy hill, so determined… oh how I love you so very much and when I see the toddlers here I think of you ALL THE TIME… and of how clean your mommy is able to keep you :0)  She is an awesome mommy!  I have fun seeing your sweet face in my computer photos.

Chelsea and Luke, I tried to take a photo of the bell of my baby blue stethoscope today, where you both had it monogrammed for me saying “J. Pinneo, RN  Matt. 13:9”. I couldn’t get the lighting right :/  I think of you both whenever I glance at the words, and then chuckle at the scripture you chose Luke, Jesus’ words of “He who has ears, let him hear”  Perfect!

Our fine abode, “Hotel Suba” has been wonderful.  We were warned upon arrival and by an earlier volunteer, that we would NOT have flush toilets and would need to venture out for all meals.  Suba had vacancies and we are so fortunate to be here.  Our rooms are small but adequate, and they have flushing toilets which is simply the best!  The other is good for stronger thighs, but I’d take more flab anyday over no toilet :0)  We have a pretty complete menu of choices but tend to order rice and beans, a small vegie pizza, a WELL done burger, spagetti bolognese and curry chicken.  The french fries are wonderful! AND safe… and we’ve learned to order a “boiled” diced veggie bowl for the side, as we are having NO fresh veggies.  I really so miss a salad, but the risk is too great.  I was rinsing my toothbrush with tap water and THEN bottled water before I had my sick night.  Jim said he NEVER lets tap water touch his toothbrush, so I have changed my technique.  It’s easy to get lax over time…

We are woken with coffee at around 6:30, instant Nescafe which isn’t bad… BUT I brought some VIA’s from starbucks and we’ve been enjoying those.  I’d say I’m the “social” director of our team, with starbucks via’s, dried apricots, trail mix with M&M’s, face wipes, etc.  And Jim is the “medical” director with a bag full of books. It’s a great combo :0)

Off to the clinic and hope to see Zawadi “Siffa” today…

Love, Nurse Janey

 

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My roomate… comes and goes

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Starbucks…..

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Dehydration prevention corner in my room :0)