Sunday, December 13, 2009

Part 2--Home in the US

I had a wonderful time being home from Nov 4-Dec 13! I have been to almost every store here and anywhere i traveled, have 3 full suitcases to go with and am glad to be going home to warmer temperatures. They had a record breaking 3 day cold of 24 (-5 C) F while I was here--that was one record I didn't care to be part of!

I have had lunch and dinner with so many friends and family--I am sure i gained weight! Thanks you for all I got to see and catch up with and sorry I missed some of you.
Kim, Dennis and Kathy--2 of my 4 siblings!

Keep in touch by email

I celebrated Christmas with my family all day yesterday. We started the day with 3 of us girls having manicure and pedicures and ate crab sandwiches and crab Louies! We ended by playing Triominos and Attach Uno--what fun!

I am carrying back money to buy 75 matresses so far--thank you for all who helped!

I'll be in touch after I am back!

Merry Christmas to all and may 2010 be a better year for you and the Lord!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Better Year

Well it has been 6 weeks since I wrote something because I was in the U.S. After dealing with chronic Urinary Infections and then bleeding from my bladder I decided to hope on a plane and see a uroligist in the US after my family doc in Harare said "I don't really know what to do for you anymore!" So on Nov 2 I left Harare with a foley in and smartly thinking--I can sleep for hours since I don't have to get up to go....then....

Between Joburg and Harare about 3 hours into a 10 1/2 hour flight my foley got blocked, I was in agonizing pain and tried to figure out a way to irrigate the foley that had got blocked with blood clots! In the small airplane toilet i tried everything--we nurses are always inventive--but having no syringe I finally gave up and went to the steward and asked for scissors or a knife! He looked at me funny and asked "what for?" (like I would tell him I wanted to hijack a plane or something) and when I explained he gave me some blunt pointed scissors and when I said I would return them right away he said "keep them!"

I was able to remove the foley and then started praying I could go before the 7 1/2 hour flight ended! God answered and I was able to pass urine fine the rest of the way home!

Since I have been in the US I was able to see a urologist, have a cystoscopy, biopsy and caterization and the conclusion was I have radiation cystitis caused from radiation I had 20 years ago for cancer! So I am on a nightly antibiotic for the rest of my life. I have no infection and I feel better--so PTL for all the good care here!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Medical Problems

Sorry to have been off for a couple of weeks but have been having some medical issues. After months of chronic UTIs I went for an IVP which was normal, no stones and within 12 hours started pain and passed a stone! So much for tests! I had Major drive me to Harare to see my doctor because of the excruciating pain and about at the end of our dirt road felt a lot of pain and then relief! I knew that bumpy road was worth something!
All the way on the road I was curled up in fetal position not talking and Major was sure I died and kept asking if I was OK! I couldn't talk because it would hurt more and so he talked more! Funny now that I look back at it, not when I was using my Lamaze breathing techniques! That pain was something else and the drugs didn't touch it--and let me tell you I tried quite a few!
Now I am feeling better and only missed 1 day of work so that was good timing! My doctor in Harare gave me more drugs which helped a bit but seemed to make me more sick so didn't take them for long!
This week we have been dealing with so many patients who have been mistreated by other local hospitals. We finally decided that they might as well close the other hospitals and refer all people here because no one is going to them. As one of my patients said "I would rather die than go there," which is almost what happened!
Lori is helping me a lot in the work and this week she is being our computer expert as 2 of our computers started to crash! I am glad someone knows something besides how to turn it on and off like me!
We are always amazed that training of nurses and doctors has deteriorated so much due to the brain drain and those who could teach leaving for greener (even just a little less brown) pastures! This week one of my nurses wrote "dislocated diagram (meaning diaphragm)" as a diagnosis for a kid who got knocked out of scotch cart. That was a new one for me! I gave her a short anatomy lesson to tell her how that was an impossibility! The patient recovered so didn't need to google how to treat that dislocation!
We keep having hot weather and expect the rains to start any day--but nothing so far. People are wanting to buy seed and fertilizer but it is costing more than most people can afford!
We were blessed by a local farmer in Karoi who sent word he has 2 tons of maize for us and we can come and get it. After all the farmers have gone through in getting kicked off their land, it is truly a blessing for us to have him share so generously with us!
Today I was thinking I would be nominated and win the Nobel Prize for medicine--and you can say you knew me when! I was counting on how to spend that 1 million dollar prize too! I was counselling a patient and his wife for ART (drugs to treat AIDS) and asked the patient if he had been sick at all. he told me he had cancer. Immediately I began looking for K/S lesions (cancer in AIDS patients) and I asked where and he showed me in his armpit and he had a fungal infection. I told him I could certainly cure that "cancer" and prescribed some Diflucan! Maybe they will still consider me for the prize or at least the million dollars!
Take care and have a good week! Love, Kathy

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pictures to share

Some pictures from a recent trip to Kariba

Hi from Kathy

Top 10 Reasons for Missing Chidamoyo

Top 10 Reasons to be Missing Chidamoyo

10. You ask someone’s name to write in the Lab test book and he says “I’m Innocent” and you reply “I don’t care if you are innocent or guilty, I just want your name” and then you figure out that is his name—Innocent!
9. Your order an X-ray and when the patient asks how much it is you reply “8 chickens or 1 goat, if it big or 2 if it is small, or 10 Obama dollars, 100 Zuma Rands, 1 blanket or 6 litres of cooking oil.
8. You ask for warm water for a surgical procedure and they call the driver and car and when you ask why they said you asked for “wamotor” (Shona for car).
7. You ask a nurse why this order was not done in the last 24 hours and the answer is “I did not admit the patient” so if the order was not followed it is the fault of the nurse who admitted the patient!
6. As a visitor you are at Chidamoyo the last week of the month and Sister McCarty greets you with “lucky you—you can do the end of the month reports for the next 4 days and you are leaving in 2 days—so work fast”!
5. You go to tea and everyone tells you “don’t touch Sister McCarty’s butt or she will be very upset!” Only after a few days do you learn that the butt is the heel of the bread and that Sister likes that piece best and so you can’t touch it because it is her’s!
4. During tea you talk about patients, their stories, their diarrhea, vaginal discharge, sore and sex life, until one of your visitors says “I think we need to call the chaplain to pray for all of you!”
3. You ask an ART patient why they are late for their meds and they said the river was full. When you point out they live where there is no river to cross to get to the hospital—they repeat “but, there was a full river at Badze”—the opposite direction of where they live!
2. You treat a patient for dysentery and while doing a health education lesson to prevent them from getting this disease again, in the future, you mention that maybe they shouldn’t get their drinking water from the river where cows, goats and people void and poop into it. They then look at you and say “that’s why it tastes so good!” End of health education!
1. As you are catheterizing a 88 year old man who has BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) he tells you he can’t void because he used a condom last week and so now it is blocking the urine from coming out!

Non-medical Reasons:
10. The electricity (ZESA) is on for 24 hours straight and you feel guilty you don’t have a phone to call and tell them they forgot to turn us off!
9. You eat a cake with chocolate sprinkles on top and wonder if it is really chocolate or dead ants on the cake.
8. You bake a cake and the gas runs out before it is done and so it is still uncooked in the middle. Instead of throwing it out you frost it and bring it to tea the next day at the hospital, where it is demolished and proves your theory once again “they will eat anything at tea”—even a raw cake!
7. You stop alongside the road where someone is holding up a box of washing powder—you ask how much it is and as you negotiate people come out of the bushes with bars of soap, oil, flour and sugar—the first drive through shop in Zimbabwe!
6. You ask the price for anything in shops and they ask “Obama dollars, Zuma Rands or Brown pounds?”
5. You cross the border by road from Zimbabwe to South Africa and in the toilet on the SA side is a big sign behind each toilet that reads “Do not flush Zimbabwean dollars as they plug up our septic system!” Which proves once again the Zim dollar is worth sh--!
4. Eating sadza and vegetables is now called eating sadza and grass because it is all you have to graze on each day!
3. You are visiting in the US and a stranger asks where you come from and you say Zimbabwe and they want to take you to dinner because they know you must be hungry!
2. You have 100 trillion dollars in your wallet and no one wants to take that useless money—including the Zimbabwe government who has outlawed its own currency as useless and illegal in their own country!
1. You are served communion at church by a youth group young man wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a chipmunk holding 2 acorns and the writing beneath in big letters says “wanna play with my nuts?”

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hospital prices

This week we reviewed our barter prices and thought you might enjoy this. Maybe I can be an advisor for Obama on his health care agenda?



Chicken 3 30

Cow 100 1000

Goat 15 150

Groundnuts (per bucket) 4 40

Hanga (guinea fowl) 3 30

Maize (per bucket) 2 20

Pig 40 400

Sheep 15 150

Sugar Beans (per bucket) 10 100

Sunflower Seeds (per bucket) 2 20

Turkey 6 60

Soy Beans (per bucket) 4 40

Nyemba (Cow peas) (per bucket) 5 50

Nyimo (Round Nuts) (per bucket) 5 50

We are no longer accepting Manure (mufudze) or Thatch (uswa)!!
Out of Area without referral—Rural x 2 Urban x 5
No prior cards you will be charged out of area!
Urban areas—money only—no bartering.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's hot in the bush--19-September-2009

Well it got to 105 today! We were in the pool after lunch to cool off! the water temp was only 80 and so it felt cold to me!
this week has been very busy. I have added 104 new patients on ART this month and it is not over yet! We could add a 1000 more a month if we had the staff and time! People say AIDS is improving and there are less new cases, but we haven't seen that!
Lori arrived last night and she is happy to be back and I put her to work today! The doctors are away today for their continuation education day so it was the nurses in charge day!
Last night Dr. Murenje called me to deliver a footling breech. I was able get both feet down and then the hands and finally the head--the baby and mom did well. My heart always races until that head is out! It weighed almost 8 pounds. It was her second baby!
Do you know we have become a bubble gum nation? Here they do not use coins so when you need change when buying groceries they give you bubble gum! I pass mine on to my kids I treat. If they owe you more then 20 cents you get a pen (which usually skips when you write). If it is a good day and they owe you 50 cents or more you get a chocolate bar!
This has not been a good week for electricity. No dinnertime electricity and last night it went off at 4 p.m. and didn't come on until 1 a.m. now it is off again at 5 p.m.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life in the African bush

Well this is the end of a busy week. Major and Dr. Zimudzi went off to South Africa to pick up Lori, a nurse who is joining our work for at least the next 2 years! She arrives in Joberg on Tuesday morning. My visitor, Charolette is being dropped off in Bulawayo this evening to spend a few days with friends while the guys go on to SA. she was born and grew up in Bulawayo so she is going home!

This has been a busy week with Wednesday having a staff inservice with our nurses and talking about a patient who got mismanaged in labor. This patient was complete for 5 hours and no one notified the doctor or myself until the baby came out flat and needed to be revived and eventually died within 24 hours. We used this as a "learning experience" to talk about what to do and what is normal when a woman gets to complete. Everyone said the understood! That evening just as I went to do some Lumbar Punctures on the wards, I noticed an OB chart at the nurses desk showing a patient had been complete at 930 a.m. and no further charting. When I asked why the chart was there someone said "oh actually she is not delivered!" I screamed what and went running off to the labor ward. It was now almost 4:30 p.m. and I quickly pulled the baby out with a vacumn extractor and laid into every nurse on that shift and sent for the ones that went home. Luckily the baby was strong and came out screaming! Now both of us were screaming--I am not sure who was louder! So much for understanding the in-service! The answer I got when I asked why they didn't notify someone, was that at 930 they notified the doctor who checked her, ruptured her membranes and told them "she will deliver, don't worry!" So they didn't worry and they were waiting for her to deliver! No charting from 930 a.m. on, no fetal heart, no descent of the head, no contrations because the doctor said she would deliver! I went home with a strong headache that night!
To top it off that afternoon Major got back from 2 days in Harare where he went to get the car serviced in preparation for the trip to SA. when he got on the dirt road he noticed something like diesel flicking up on the back window. When he stopped to check it he couldn't see anything dripping so he came the rest of the way. He got home and had the guys put the car over the pit and surprise--the found they had not put in one of the plugs in where they had drained out the diff oil in and didn't refill it! Amazing that he got here without the engine seizing--a true miracle to drive 350 kms without oil in the diff! He called the garage the next morning ( the main Toyota delaership in Harare) and had them shaking in their boots before he finished with our service rep! They kept asking if the engine was ok! He had them drive out immediately with a plug and diff oil to our doctor who was in Chinhoyi, since we couldn't move the car! We got it all cleaned up and ready to go to SA! Amazing! I think we can get a free service for our next visit, don't you?

Last night was movie night and we showed Madagascar 2--they loved it. We now have about 200+ people coming each Friday night for our community movie night. As they walked home I could hear a group of kids singing near the township "you've got to move it, move it!" the song from the movie! It was so fun to hear that drifting through the African bush!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Winter seems to be over

This week it is getting up to the 90's during the days and high 60's at night--so it seems winter is almost over.
It has been a busy week at the hospital. We had 3 outreach clinics in the last week and over 800 patients now on ART! One area that we go to the people are very disappointed if we test them for HIV and they are negative. Their is a foo organization giving food to those with HIV--so they want the food! This leads us to believe some people are seeking HIV in order to get food! Maybe food should be given to all the people who need it.
My visitors bag finally arrive 5 ays after she did! She was very happy to have new clothes to wear!
Lori will be here in 1 week an we look forward to that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

News update from Chidamoyo

Still have 4 visitors here with me this week: Jimmy, Tej, Mark and Bre. Keeping them busy with lots of work at the hospital. Seems like electricity is a big problem these days. Writing this by candlelight--wildfires around us (common this time of year) continue to burn electricity poles down.

Major is in Swaziland this week with Rick and Sue Hahn and Jordan Smetzer who have been visiting us. They went to investigate an orphanage their church supports there.

Stay tuned for more exciting news from Chidamoyo, Zimbabwe.