Shutdown (20/2/17)
Feb20

Shutdown (20/2/17)

Last night at midnight, for the first time in its 101 year history, Kijabe Hospital closed its doors to all but emergency and critical/ICU patients.  Profoundly frustrated over many issues, including a multiple-year failure of the hospital executive leadership and board to address their very low salaries and long hours, our nurses walked out mid-shift.  Patients abandoned – doctors, clinical officers and a handful of...

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Farewell (8/2/17)
Feb08

Farewell (8/2/17)

Since we started working in Kenya 6 years ago, I’ve learned is that a crucial (and often-overlooked or postponed) part of working through grief and loss is honest processing of difficult situations.  Part of acknowledging the pain of the overwhelming number of sick and dying kids we are seeing during the doctors’ strike is being emotionally honest about the impact.  I find that writing helps me deal with the death and...

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Hope, Part 2 (5/2/17)
Feb05

Hope, Part 2 (5/2/17)

This is Joseph.  Born with his intestines outside of his body (gastroschisis) 2 days after the national doctors’ strike started, but born at Kijabe where doctors and clinical officers and nurses were on standby for his birth.  Babies with this condition simply don’t survive in Kenya – but this week, on day 55 of his life and day 57 of the ongoing strike, he went home.  Mum and I could not stop smiling. Isaac was...

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What medieval monks can teach us about despair (3/2/17)
Feb03

What medieval monks can teach us about despair (3/2/17)

We sent out a letter to our partnership team a couple of days ago to update them on the current health crisis in Kenya and its impact on us.  If you are a partner and didn’t receive this, please let us know. The outpouring of encouragement we received back was heartening, reminding us again how much of a team sport our lives are here.   A few of our friends said something along the lines of ‘we just don’t know how...

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Hope (25/1/17)
Jan25

Hope (25/1/17)

Today, Brandon was born. 11 weeks too soon, 3 days after his mum’s waters broke.  550 grams (1 pound) in weight, urgently delivered by c-section.  As I stand near the operating theatre, the obstetric team hands me a bundle that is much smaller than we expect.  The clinical officer and I have agreed in advance – if he’s not breathing because he’s too small, we’ll try to help him breathe and see what...

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A letter to my wife, on the occasion of our 36th anniversary (16/1/17)
Jan16

A letter to my wife, on the occasion of our 36th anniversary (16/1/17)

I wrote this letter to Mardi for our anniversary today.  Because we live so far from most friends and family, I am unable to present this letter as a toast at a group celebration, and decided to publish it instead.  Will you please be upstanding and raise a glass with me?  To Mardi! Today is the 18th anniversary of our American wedding.  Despite being the second time to marry you in as many weeks, it didn’t feel strange at the...

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Strike Impact (6/1/17)
Jan06

Strike Impact (6/1/17)

As I arrive at the bedside I am struck By how cold this kid is. Something’s gone wrong and her skin hangs as her eyes stay closed and her breath rattles This skeletal little girl Was already starved And now her bowels Let loose remaining liquids Needle crushes bone Fluids fly in And we’re chasing, running Trying to catch up Because hearts only pump when there’s something to pump. Maybe she’ll live – Our...

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Caught in the crossfire (30/12/16)
Dec30

Caught in the crossfire (30/12/16)

[Note: As a volunteer doctor, I am in Kenya to care for the sick and vulnerable. Our family is here at the invitation of the Africa Inland Church and several non-profit/relief organisations, with the approval of the government. This post is not intended to criticise any involved stakeholders (government or medical) or to take sides.  It aims not stray into criticism of any of the parties, and reflects only my personal thoughts.]...

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Ghostbusters (guest post by Mary Adam) (20/12/16)
Dec20

Ghostbusters (guest post by Mary Adam) (20/12/16)

In 1984, I was a medical resident in pediatrics, living in Arizona.  Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd starred in the hit movie Ghostbusters and Rod (my husband) and I went to see it in the movie theater. If there’s something strange in your neighborhood? Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! If there’s something weird and it don’t look good. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Little could I imagine that 30 years into the future the song would...

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Prayer Log:  December 2016
Dec06

Prayer Log: December 2016

Thank you for praying for us, and/or just being concerned with what is important to us! This month we’re feeling festive, so here’s some pictures describing our “grateful for” and “request prayer for” this month. Andy visited the planned site for a new mission hospital in West Africa this month for a final engineering assessment to develop a master plan for this important project.  We’re...

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