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Life in an operating room... ten saved lives, out of eleven today.

More adventures!

Entry 5:

We had a major surgery day today, with Dr McAdams bringing two physician assistant students to Chavuma. We had an eye cyst, a brain cyst, and 6 inguinal hernia operations, with a few bilaterals, a tubal ligation, and a circumcision today, tallying up to ten procedures in one day. I was pooped, and all I did was moniter the vitals. I didn't even record them. Oh, and I held down the patient when they started to flail around. We kept them drugged, but of course each of them was awake, and one of the babies just kept screaming and flailing around the entire procedure. That was the brain cyst one.

I won't get into too many details this time. I did take some pictures, but mostly just the hernias before I ran out of storage... I'll have to get more next time. Thankfully all of the surgeries were successful, but there was a little kid who was rushed up from the village who had choked on something at lunch. We rushed the poor kid into the minor procedures room, and started CPR. We kept the heart beating for a good six minutes, tried to give epi or something, but there was no response. We paused to record the vitals twice, and both times it flatlined. Then the doctor said what everyone knew but nobody wanted to admit, that it was too late. We could theoretically have kept someone pumping the child full of oxygen round the clock, but there was nothing else we could do could get it beating again.

I'd seen death before, but for a child on a table surrounded by nurses and clinical officers and a surgeon, it's, well, it's something else. It feels like your in a movie - ya keep thinking those terrible lines... "What if we had gotten there earlier..." or "What if we had given epi first thing..." or "What if we had tapped it hard, first..." or "What if the mother had been able to get a ride up from the village without having to run uphill hysterically the entire way." Poor girl too, she couldn't have been older than me, and he was HIV Positive, like much of the village.

Just breaks you up inside, thinking of the chances he'll never have. But God knows best. And despite our second guessing, there's nothing we could've done to thwart God's plan. We just didn't know it until after the fact.

I've been helping with a lot of things recently - Mr Young came back from his translation meetings last week, and Mrs. young is leaving wednesday, so I am struggling to learn everything I need to know before she leaves. I'm gonna be cooking and buying all the produce and making tea and baking bread for the workers, and feeding the dogs and cleaning the rooms and organizing the workers, in addition to my private luvale tutoring and hospital work, so I'll be productive, even if I don't get everything done... I'll have a lot less study time than I've had til this point, but, well, I can just take time from sleep. It's worked thus far!

I went chopping dead trees for firewood last week. It was fun! one of the dead trees fell and sheared a large branch off of a strait sapling, so I dutifully grabbed some grasses and bound the branch back on tightly, in several places so it would grow back. I felt environmentally aware, you know, keeping the smaller trees up so we won't run out of firewood in 40 years.

Of course, then I turned around and one of the workers chopped it down to move a log over it, instead of around. Sigh. Oh well. By the way, if any of you want to be traumatized for life by logging, then watch some loggers cut down a live bloodwood tree. Or better yet, cut it down yourself. Nothing beats the sensation of blood red sap running down your chainsaw and axe and arms and face and clothing, it's just spine tingling. And then you ride back in the tractor through the village holding the chainsaw and you look like you've survived a zombie massacre. You kind of feel like it too. I'm gonna let the workers handle it on their own after this.

I also helped extend the water pump out into the lake. It's drying, so we have to put the pipe out deeper. Which meant I had to go wading in the girhardia and schistomiasis, bacteria and parasite infested waters of the Zambezi to haul a pipe out. But not to worry, the missionary Jeff yelled that the water was perfectly safe in the dry season, when it's this fast moving. He yelled that there was nothing to worry about, as he stood himself high above the water line (curiously, I asked if he'd ever gone in, and he said of course not! But he needed me too). Oh well, it was kinda fun. And the minnows that nibble your toes in the states are nothing like the baby tiger fish that bite your heels here. They're like mini piranha! Oh well, I got to bring some younger boys bathing nearby some joy, as they watched this hilarious big white boy dance and yell "The fish are eating my foot!"

But not to worry. No diarrhea, no broken skin, no infections - and I do have my Antibiotics in case.

Well, that's the update. It stormed a little here, but we're all safe. I found out that my newly aquired accent isn't irish after all, its just a zambyish accent. And I'm loosing my habit of saying "Oh boy" and "You know?" I'm replacing it with "Jolly good show." And I like it. Cause with "Oh boy," you can only accent it two ways, "OH boy," and "oh BOY!" But with "Jolly good show," you can accent it, "JOLLY good show!" or Jolly GOOD show!" or my personal favorite, "Jolly good SHOW!" So I'm liking the changes.

Also, we're praying there aren't croc attacks. In such an event we'd break out the boats with the police and comb the river chasing away and hunting the crocks. The police do it because every once in awhile there's an attack, and after the blood's in the water, the attacks escalate. We only do it cause of the youth camps we have up here, and we have soo many kids there's like 250 boys bathing in the river every day. And we can't afford to have any crocs in that stretch of river. That's why we and the police do our thing (and it's fun for us, because actually hunting and poaching crocs is illegal... but we get to hunt them with the police). But we're hoping the crocs are moving on and not hungering for flesh.

That's all for now folks. Keep prayin and readin! And I'll keep livin and writin. Have a wonderful afternoon! Love y'all!

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This is a lot of blood, death

This is a lot of blood, death and gory stuff maybe not all in one day but the moment!?  How interesting that you are able to spread your time between your career and your passion.  With all the daily stuff you live, makes for interesting writing just like reading an action packed novel.  I felt the pulse reading this blog.  Thank you!