Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A week in Harare


This past week I took some days off and went in to my townhouse in Harare.  I had planned to be gone for 10 days of rest and relaxation in Harare as soon as all of my visitors left at the end of September.  I hadn't really been away since the visitors started in April and had lots of errands to do and also sort out some things at the townhouse.  I put in for 10 days of leave a month ago and as soon as I did the surgeons from Harare scheduled to come and month end reports had to be done, so I postponed for a couple of days and on the 11th of October took off for Harare.

My first stop in Harare was my doctor because I hadn't been feeling well for about 3 weeks.  She couldn't figure out what was wrong either and so ordered a bunch of blood and urine tests and the only thing that came back positive was a  bad Urinary Tract Infection going on.  She switched me to some new medication as the ones I had started on didn't seem to be working and we waited the 3 days for the Culture to come back.

Since I wasn't feeling very well I spent a lot of time sleeping, watching videos and reading.  I didn't really have the energy to go out and get my errands done.  I would go out and do a few errands early in the morning and then come home and recover!

By Thursday we found out the infection was resistant to all the meds I had been taking and only one medication that we had in the country was suppose to work, so had to go on a treasure hunt to find it.  It has to be given IV push over 5 minutes, twice a day, so had a cannula put in and have been mixing up the medicine and giving it to myself each time.  I have quite a bruised arm from all the times it took to get a cannula in (6!).  The first time I tried to give the injection it infiltrated, so luckily Dr. Kajese and wife came to visit and check on me and he was able to start another cannula that has worked ever since--only 2 more doses and I'll be done--yeah!

I spent the rest of my time in Harare doing a few errands and enjoying the Jacaranda trees which are in full bloom on the streets of Harare this time of the year!  Many streets are lined with the beautiful purple trees. 

On Saturday Major came in by bus to Harare to drive me home and brought Tongi, my gardener at Chidamoyo and so we went and bought some flowers and plants to put in my yard at the townhouse.  We left by 6 p.m. Saturday evening and arrived home by 11 p.m.  This gave me Sunday to rest before starting work on Monday.

While in Harare I did enjoy getting a manicure and pedicure one day and then went back on Friday for a full body massage and facial!  It sure felt good to pamper myself.  I guess I really needed to rest and recover and not run around so much as we usually do when we are in Harare.

Saturday morning, Lynn Johnson from Indiana came by for a short visit.  He is in the country for a couple of weeks to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dewure Mission in Gutu, where he grew up as a missionary kid.  It was good to be able to see him for a few minutes.

I have been back to work for 3 days and it has been pleasantly busy--not too bad.  It is really our hot season now--it was up to 110 F at lunch time--I definitely have been enjoying getting in the pool after work to swim and cool off!  Harare was warm but cooled off at night so I had to use a blanket there--here I rarely use a sheet and keep the fan on all night.  Last night it was 88F when I went to bed!


 Jacaranda trees in full bloom in Harare

 Planting scrubs and flowers at townhouse

Tongi busy working in the yard

My bruised arm and cannula!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Visitors to end the week

We had a busy week of work and on Thursday we were joined by Megan and Matt.  Megan is a Pathology resident from Stanford and is working with us on a Research project over the next year.  She had been home to California and just came back and wanted to come out to get some information for her project.  She brought her boyfriend Matt with her.

We put Megan to work in the Lab reading some samples for us and Matt helped Major put some paperwork in the computer.  They were a big help for us and we enjoyed having them around.

Yesterday, Friday, was Matt's birthday so we celebrated with a cake!  We were giving him a bad time that Hurricane Matthew was named for him since it was hitting FL on his birthday.

Friday evening we were joined by our surgery team of 4 people from Harare.  They arrived shortly after 9 p.m. and after they arrived I fed them dinner and then they went to work.  They worked all night after working all day in Harare!  They did 11 cases and finished at 0815 this morning after working all through the night.  They came for breakfast and then left for Harare and hopefully some sleep!  They were all exhausted!

Megan helped look at some of the samples they took during surgery and then she and Matt left for home in Harare about 12:30 p.m.  

I went into the pool cool down as it went up to 110 today and is 91 this evening at 9 p.m.!  Trying to keep cool and relax!

 Matt celebrating his birthday with Megan

 Our doctor working with Harare team

 Mai Kajese and her friend who came as the scrub nurses

Final cases for the night!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Happy Birthday--It's a HOT summer!

This has been a pleasantly busy week with lots of new patients visiting the hospital.  One of our doctors was away for a 2 week workshop and the other was gone 4 days last week and 4 days this week for workshops, so I have been in charge.  One doctor came back last night so this morning we split the rounds.

I managed to keep everyone alive and well and did several deliveries, removed retained placentas, and augmented slow moving labors without having to send any patients to Karoi District Hospital this week.  Major was saying yesterday "we didn't have to send any ambulance to Karoi this week," and I said "don't say that too loud or you will break the record!"

Last Sunday was my birthday.  It started at 2:30 a.m. when I got called to help with a delivery problem.  Got back to sleep at 3 a.m. and then was called by 0700 for an induction patient who started bleeding.  We sat on her for a couple of hours to stabilize her and she continued to bleed so we ended up sending her to Karoi Hospital for a C/Section since there was no doctor here.

I went to church at 11 a.m. and when I walked in there was 1 woman and 6 kids and then Edwell Mereki, one of the elders walked in.  He said the church had gone to a Big Sunday at Njengoma and also there was a funeral locally.  So he did communion, read a scripture and prayed and service was over in 15 minutes!!  Wow--the fastest African church ever!  I was able to go home and sit in the pool and cool off from the heat for the afternoon!  Even managed to get a nap in.

At 5 p.m. I went to church at the hospital.  We have over 60 pregnant women waiting in our Mothers Shelter and so it was a crowded service.  They sing every Sunday evening and many were dancing hard--hoping it would put them into labor!

After church I went home and Major came over to braai steak and pork chops for my birthday dinner.  I went to their house for my birthday dinner.  We had meat, sadza, and peanut butter veggies--all my favorites.  We ate until we were very stuffed!  Major's Aunt from Batanai was here and she had never seen so much meat in her life!  We even had leftovers.

Major's daughter, Carolyn, made a birthday cake and I blew out the candles and opened gifts.  It was so nice.  I am happy to have reached 62 years and 36 of them here in Zimbabwe for God has blessed me with 2 home countries and lots of friends in relatives in each!

Summer is here and everyday it is 100+ degrees and at night in the 80's when I got to bed.  It was a cool 78 when I went to work at 7 a.m. yesterday.  I wake up looking forward to a cold shower in the morning to start the day!  I get off work and jump in the pool and cool off and get in some exercise in before dinner!

Patients are still bringing in a lot of barter to the hospital as money is very short in the country.  We are one of the few hospitals in the country that barter has worked all for.  I thought I would show you some of chickens people have brought in this week.  When they bring them into my office I quickly ask them to bring them to the clerk so I don't have to talk over squawking chickens when I am counseling!  Patients bring in maize and peanuts and other crops.  We take anything and they have brought everything--sometimes soap, blankets, cows, goats, pigs, turkeys and even a brake light and a solar panel!

Looking forward to a quiet afternoon and Sunday to sit in my pool and cool off and read!  No visitors now so no time schedules after work and I cook when I am hungry and eat when I want--what a life!

It's my birthday--September 25th!

Pregnant women singing and dancing at Sunday evening church

The meat on the braai!

Dinner with Major's family

Carolyn bringing the Birthday cake

Lucky I didn't have to blow out 62!

 Summer is here!

Chickens coming for payment at the hospital

 Maize and peanuts come in each day

More chickens!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

People leaving!

The last two weeks have been very busy with all of my visitors leaving.  We had three medical students here from UZ in Harare for the past 3 weeks and we had them over for dinner and a game of spoons before they left last Wednesday.  They are in their final year and will write exams early next year so we wish them well in their future medical careers.

While here we had the PT students and our Rehab Tech do an inservice for staff and patients on low back pain and exercises and correct body positions.  We practiced with some of the patients what we learned.

 On Friday the 16th Kennedy Stoa left after a month here.  She enjoyed her stay and enjoyed helping deliver babies and catch babies in the C/Sections we had.  she goes back for her finally year at University of Washington in Seattle.

The same day Kennedy left, 5 of us went to Rhino Camp in Kariba for 2 nights.  Kendra, Kaeli, Anne and Kristen and I enjoyed spending 3 days looking at animals and even found some lions!  God has created wonderful animals for us to enjoy and see in the wild and we did enjoy our time!

On the way back on Sunday we met Major and Makayla in Karoi and they continued on to Harare with Kendra, Anne and Kaeli to see everyone off.  Kendra's team left on Monday evening and Makayla on Tuesday evening.  Kristen and I returned to Chidamoyo and work.  Major came back late Tuesday night.

Kendra returns to her job at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma in PT. Kale and Anne return to their year of PT training through the University of Washington.  Makayla returns to Seattle Pacific University and her senior year.  We wish them all good luck in their studies and future.

On Wednesday morning Kristen left for Harare to leave on Thursday afternoon.    she returns to Florida and finishing up her MPH from Liberty University.  So suddenly I found myself with no visitors--something new here! I have had visitors almost every day since I got back from the US in December last year! I have enjoyed a few days of taking care of myself only.  What a change!

This week God blessed us mightly with a gift of $8,000 to pay off a bill we had with the blood bank here.  We were overwhelmed with this bill and it is such a relief to not have it hanging over our heads!  We are so thankful for the family that helped us and helped so many people live because of this gift.  God is great!

Summer is here and most days it is up into the 100's.  We've had two times of power outages for over 24 hours in the last week--right now we are in one and hope it comes back soon so we don't lose all the meat in our freezers!  This is the time for the blooming of Jacaranda trees.  The purple trees are in full bloom and their flowers make a beautiful purple carpet under the trees.

Kennedy catching a C/Section baby

Four UZ medical students with Major, Dr. Isala, Dr. Munodawafa and myself

Visitors and Medical students playing spoons--watch out!

PT students giving in an inservice to staff and patients on low back pain

PT students and our Rehab Tech, Mr. Kamhuka giving an inservice

Saying goodbye to Kendra, Kaeli, Anne and Kennedy

Kathy with Kaeli, Kendra, Anne and Kristen on way to Rhino Camp

 Sights and scenes from Rhino Camp

 Road traffic on way from Rhino

 Kristen saying goodbye at the hospital

Jacarandas beginning to bloom

Saturday, September 10, 2016

New visitors and a New vehicle!

On Sunday afternoon this past week a team from University of Washington, School of Physical Therapy arrived for 2 1/2 weeks with us.  Anne and Kaeli, PT students came with their teacher Kendra and arrived Saturday evening in Harare and travelled out to us Sunday afternoon.  They are working with our PT person, Brighton Kamhuka.  They are going out to schools and some of our Outreach points to see Disabled children and adults, as well as working at the hospital. We are keeping them very busy and they are enjoying it.

Kendra came in December 2014 with a group of 4 students and another teacher then, so we are happy to have her back.   We are happy to have this association and it is a big encouragement to our staff and a great learning time for the students.

Kaeli brought her ukulele with her and we spent one night singing some folk songs.  We had a great time recalling all the words!

Two of our visitors left on Wednesday for 2 nights at Rhino Camp in Kariba.  Kennedy and Makayla had a wonderful time and saw a lot--including 6 lions on three different times.  The other visitors are going next week on Friday to Rhino Camp.

We were so excited to finally hear on Thursday that our new Jeep we had ordered and paid for in October 2015--finally arrived and was ready to pick up. I think the company was so glad to finally get rid of us calling them everyday.  Major and I went in on Friday to pick it up.   We left at 5 a.m. and drove straight through to the company! It was parked in the showroom and very beautiful!  They gave me a dozen long stem purple roses and a bottle of champagne and 2 Jeep ball caps!  I really think they were so happy to be done with us!

Major surprised me by having personalized license plates made and put on the car that say "SR KM".  Wow--I was so surprised!  I was able to drive home from Harare and pick up the 2 girls in Karoi who had come from Rhino Camp and get home by 5 p.m.  They were happy to ride in the new car!  We stopped at the hospital and people were so excited by it!

The bright blue color is loved by everyone.  They thought we had painted our silver car blue as Major came long after me--so no one has seen the 2 cars together to know we have a new car!  It is so exciting and we are so thankful to our "Friends of Chidamoyo" group in Seattle that raised the money for this vehicle.  It is very needed and something we will use for many years to come.  Come over to visit and you can ride in it!

Tonight we sent Kendra and the 2 PT students and Kristen (visitor from FL) went to Major's and my village at Batanai to spend a night in the bush.  They will attend church there and come back tomorrow afternoon.  I stayed to take care of Kendra and Makayla who are not feeling so well.  I am sure they are having an "African Adventure."

Major introducing Kendra, Anne and Kaeli to hospital staff

Meeting with disabled patients 

Another school where the group meet with patients

Kendra and Brighton working with a mom and her disabled baby

 Kendra, Kaeli and Anne sining folk songs

The new Jeep--notice the license plates!

Major receiving the keys

Kathy receiving roses and champagne from the manager!