Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A new doctor is joining us!

Dr. Kellert on far right with Sylvia, Major and friend in Seattle in July

Well summer has finally come and with a vengeance. It has been not less than 118 for the past 4 days! Last night it was 92 when I went to bed at 10 p.m. and no electricity, so no fan until finally at 11:30 p.m. the electricity came on and was off by 5:15 a.m. We all feel very lethargic and can’t wait to jump in the pool after work. With no electricity during the day this week it makes it hard to work in our offices without air from a fan. I run and do as much paperwork outside my office on the veranda in between patients to get some air—even if it is hot—it feels cool! Somehow we have to figure out how to work outside, but most patients might object to be examined in the open!
We have some exciting news to share! I was contacted in June by Dr. Cheryl Kellert from Washington State. She is an OB/GYN that I worked with in 1989-1991 in Santa Rosa, CA. For years I have been trying to get an OB/GYN to come on a working vacation to teach our doctors how to do more surgery. She contacted me out of the blue and said she wanted to come to Chidamoyo and work fulltime with us. She was selling her practice, her home and belongings and wanted to come—sight unseen to work with us! We started to work on the paperwork needed to get her licensed. She met with Major and Lori when they were in the US in July. She sold her home in 12 days and by August quit her practice and travelled around getting ready to move here. She has spent the last 6 weeks in Connecticut with her mom and yesterday we received word her license to practice has been issued! She booked her ticket and will arrive this next Tuesday—November 1st! We have all felt from the beginning that God was working hard to put all the pieces into place for her to be here and now we are all so excited!
To now have 3 doctors and one an OB/GYN specialist is something we would have never imagined! We know that the hospital will benefit so much from her services and we all will be very busy. This will be an exciting time for our doctors who will have someone to mentor them and teach them a lot. Thank you to all who prayed with us. Keep praying us she packs up and travels here for her safety and travel mercies! Pray for her adjustment (especially to the heat) and her work with us.
We received word this week that Rotary International from Sebastopol, CA has again helped us so much. They have received a grant to buy a new truck for us to be used as an ambulance! They are also helping to provide new beds and furnishing for the new Pediatric ward. We are to roof level!
We are working on the new X-ray room and plan to turn the old one into Dr. Kellert’s office/exam room. God worked it all out for us to have an extra room just when we needed it! The new X-ray room is being wired and is almost done with the building—so they can start painting it next week and then we can contact the company to come and install the new X-ray machine and developer!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another busy week!

The Jacarandas in bloom in Harare!

Jeep Wrangler--Sahara

Handing over of the keys of the Jeep from the salesman Mr. Blantyre

Major starting the Jeep

Back of Jeep

Major and the New Jeep

This has been one of those weeks (I have been saying that a lot lately!) Our new doctor—Dr. Kabanzi has been all by himself as Dr. Kajese went off to pick up his new car from the Zambia/ Zimbabwe boarder over the weekend and planned to be back here by Monday. On Monday he received word that his father-in-law had a stroke and was in the hospital and so he and his wife left for Bulawayo to assess the situation. While they were taking care of the father-in-law in the hospital, his own father visiting his sister in Bulawayo got sick. He recently had one kidney removed in February and now was anemic with cardiac failure and his only kidney left seemed to be in renal failure. So the whole week they have been trying to get proper medical care for the fathers, which is always a challenge in Zimbabwe.
I got back on Friday night from my conference in Harare and got to work with the doctor for the first time on Saturday and by Sunday I had to ask him to put a urethral catheter in me as my constrictures were blocking off the way for me to urinate! Nice way to meet your colleague! I kept the Foley in for almost 2 days and then took it out—it usually does the trick. But this time I was in a lot of pain and no better, so Wednesday when we went to get the new Jeep we had ordered 2 months ago, I decided to see an urologist in Harare. So while Major went running around I went to the doctor who said lets do a dilatation under anesthesia in 3 hours. I said first I need to go and pick up a new car. So we ran to do that and then I drove to the hospital and checked in while Major ran other errands. By 3 p.m. I was in surgery and by 5:30 awake and ready to go home. He had picked up the kids from school for their exit weekend (mid term break Thursday-Tuesday) and they traveled home with us. He had to call one of our drivers who is on leave in Karoi to take a combi and meet us in Harare to drive my car home since I couldn’t drive after anesthesia.
This procedure I have had lots of time and with little pain but I started severe pain all the way home! Major wanted to take me back to the hospital and I kept saying no, we need to get home! I took about 2000mg of Ibuprofen on the way home and every 15 minutes had him stop to let me try and pee to try and relieve the pain but it didn’t. So much for my first ride in the new Jeep—couldn’t really enjoy it much when I was doubled over in pain, moaning in the back seat! We finally got home at 1:30 a.m. and I slept on and off all night, but couldn’t even think about getting up to go to work.
During that day we had a non-profit group show up to distribute food to some of our AIDS/TB patients—over 1000 people showed up hoping to get something, and one of our staff members wives took poison to commit suicide and they ended up intubating her and bagging her all night by hand until she recovered! A human respirator! And she made it! And our new doctor didn’t pack up his bags to leave yet! Does this sound like a good medical drama or what?
We got a Skype call through to the doctor who said I could put a catheter in again, and so Dr. Kabanzi put it one in again—2 times in one week! Gave me some oral morphine and I slept almost continually until 5 p.m. Major and 10 men left for the men’s conference in Bulawayo finally about 11:30 a.m. he kept hanging around to see if I needed to be rushed back to Harare. By 5 I got up to shower and sat up for the first time in a day and then visitors started arriving—because they know if I don’t go to work I am dying—so they wanted to check! Then they told me exciting news—our cell phone tower had been turned on that afternoon and we could make calls from anywhere on the mission! I picked up my phone and called Major right away who was still on his way to Bulawayo! I called to say “Major, this is sister, I am in heaven and it is a good place!” He didn’t think it was very funny, but was glad I was a bit better. Then he proceeded to tell me how wonderful it was to drive the Jeep and so comfortable and how many times he stepped on the brake thinking he had to clutch—it is an automatic! He just went on and on about the truck and how people stared at it everywhere because they had never seen one before! He told me had at least 50 calls from people that day telling him that we now had network coverage!! Of course where they were headed had no coverage so he can’t call all weekend!
Friday I got up to go to work and felt better. I went with my catheter in and my patients and staff just stared at me! I stayed until about noon and then came home and slept for 2 hours and then went back at 2 until 4 and then came home to sleep again! I was just so wiped out but the pain was so much better!
Friday night is Pizza night at Chidamoyo, so I invited the doctor and the 3 female medical students over for pizza. Then after prayers we turned on the generator to watch a movie with Monica, Mereki’s and the students and doctor—I went to bed and slept until 7 a.m. this morning.
I made the decision to take at the catheter because it was so irritating and now am doing much better. Major had gone into Bulawayo to get diesel for the car and so he called to say hi and make sure I was still living! He kept saying the Jeep was the big attraction and everyone wanted their picture taken with it! Then got up and was able to go to work until 11, finished up discharges and came home to sleep—now I am feeling better. No electricity since 6 a.m. this morning so wish it would come on for the fans to cool us off a bit!
A big Thank you to all “Friends of Chidamoyo” and “The Benefit of Hope” in Seattle in July that raised the money for the new Jeep! We are so happy to have it and it is a true blessing to us! Come and visit us so you can ride in it!
We were told to come on Tuesday next week to get a letter to tell us if Dr. Cheryl Kellert has been approved for her medical license here. We are praying for the best and hope she will be here soon to add to the excitement of our work here.
Major will take the kids back for school on Monday afternoon and stay to get the letter for Dr. Kellert. We are all praying for the best! Major is so happy to go to Harare with the new car—he doesn’t mind going 2-3 times a week! He finally is learning to drive an automatic! I asked him how fast it can go and he said “Unlimited! But I keep to the speed limit!” Yeah, right! Thank you, thank you to all our donors!
We do hope to have a non-exciting week next week—is it possible?
Phone numbers for you from US:
Kathy: 011263772416270
Major: 011263882348309
We will get a hospital number soon and let you know! We have noticed that the coverage comes and go depending on electricity or not--so don't give up if you are trying to get us. Email is the best way to contact us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Pediatric extension going up

Putting in the window frames

Attaching the extension

Remodeling for the new X-ray room

Unloading X-ray machine

X-ray machine and developer arriving

Walt Chamberlin and Major teaching at seminar

Church leaders and ministers at seminar

Working in theater with my new hat!

New scrub top and hat

Opening birthday gifts

We started a week ago Sunday with my 57th Birthday. I don’t mind saying how old I am because God has blessed me with the years to live and I have done and seen so much, I feel blessed! As one of my refrigerator magnet say “Lord I can’t die yet, I have so much to do and am so far behind, I have no time to die now!”
I had a great birthday—a quiet day of church services and after Sunday night church at the hospital I celebrated with dinner and a movie with Major, his wife Patience, Dr. Kajese and 2 visiting medical students we had visiting from Harare. They were here for 3 ½ weeks with us doing their 3rd year rural rotation. After the movie they sang Happy Birthday to me and I opened my gifts. Since I don’t eat cake I had a wonderful bowl of fresh strawberries and everyone else had strawberry shortcake! Thanks to everyone who sent BD wishes on FB, emails and cards! I received one special gift from Ma and Pa Minnis in CA which was a Happy Birthday Scrub Top and surgery hat to go with it. Our doctor said when I opened it “I hope that doesn’t mean we will have a C/Section tomorrow so you can wear your new hat this year!” I decided to wear the scrub top on Monday and continue my birthday another day!
Monday after devotions in the morning at the hospital the staff all sang Happy Birthday to me. Ben Pennington a friend from Masvingo arrived for lunch with Walt Chamberlin, a minister in Madras, Oregon. Walt came to present a 1 ½ day seminar for our ministers and church leaders, starting that evening in my outdoor dining room. We continued the Birthday celebration with wonderful Sugar Free Belgian chocolates that Ben brought me to celebrate!
When I got back to the hospital about 2:30 p.m. the doctor called me to see a patient. We both agreed she had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and needed surgery. We were jinxed by the new BD hat! I quickly helped him to see the rest of his queue of patients while the nurses got IV’s going and the patient ready for surgery. Her Hemoglobin was 3 gms (normal is 12 and above) and she was bleeding into her abdomen—so we were lucky to have 4 units of blood in the fridge that I had just brought from Harare the week before. I got the blood ready to pump in as soon as the Dr. opened her up and clamped off the ruptured tube.
Dr. Kajese was very nervous as he had never done this surgery by himself before, but I told him let’s go I will help you. Sure enough it turned out to be a difficult one with adhesions to the bowel. I kept her asleep and kept running to see what they were cutting and tying and voting “is that bowel—don’t cut there or that isn’t bowel—cut and tie!” It was a relief to all when we finished and we had pumped in 3 units of blood and saved one for the next day if she needed. We all held our breath as she recovered and when she said she was passing gas—we celebrated! Amazing little things that amuse us! She was discharged home well on the 5th day—PTL for his help!
The ministers’ conference and seminar went well. The food was well cooked for all and we had 30 leaders and ministers who attended. They finished on Tuesday evening and we showed a movie for them at the end. Walt and Ben left Wednesday morning for Harare and Walt returned to the US on Thursday after 8 weeks here doing this seminar all over the country.
Thursday was our usual busy CD4 count day. The medical students got lots of experience drawing blood during their 3 ½ weeks with us. We average 85-100 extra people who come for CD4 each Thursday. We are so thankful for this machine and we are able to start about 15-20 people on Thursday and Fridays who need to be started.
Thursday night we were happy to receive our new X-ray machine and developer that has been donated to us by a medical group in the US. It arrived on our lorry. We are now renovating our Rehab room as a new X-ray room and darkroom and hope to have the machines set up within 2 weeks.
Friday was also a busy day and I invited the doctor and med students and Mereki’s over for Pizza before our prayers and Friday night movie for the community—then I fell into bed exhausted.
The building of the Pediatric extension continues well and they put in window frames this week. They continue to work hard on the additions and they have been pulled off to get the X-ray room renovated this week.
The whole week was a bad week for ZESA (our electricity). Saturday it went off at 4 a.m. and we had none the whole day until 9:30 p.m. Sunday was better but by Monday it was on and off and then a fault developed and since Monday at 11:15 p.m. there is no electricity to present (Wed. afternoon). They “say” they are working on it!
This week I am in Harare to attend a seminary for 4 days on health care in the future in Zimbabwe. Most of it is very theoretical. Talking about paperless hospitals (when we have no electricity for up to 12 days at a time!) and spending millions for people to plan our hospitals—when they are already built and we are trying to keep them working! The reality of this work in Zimbabwe is applicable to the private sector only! Oh well I am in Harare enjoying electricity and phone services and I left Chidamoyo with no electricity due to a fault for the last 3 days!
We are excited that on Friday last week a new X-ray machine and developer arrived donated by a medical missions group in the US. We are renovating our Rehabilitation Room to be our new X-ray room and they started on Saturday knocking out windows and doors to make the dark room and room. As soon as the room is ready they will come and set up the machine! How exciting is that!
We also have received word that the new Jeep Wrangler we bought with proceeds from the Benefit of Hope in July, has arrived in Harare and they are doing the paper work to get it licensed and cleared for us—so we hope maybe this week or early next week! We are excited! God is good!