Catching up!

This is Scott, it has been awhile since I last posted so I thought I would give a quick update on some of the things that we have been up to over the several days.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to join a few other visiting missionaries for a morning hike up to Motigo Mountain.  The hike passes over a nearby waterfall, and through the countryside of a mountain.  On the way up we passed by small family homes, and were joined by close to a dozen Kenyan children who hiked all the way up the mountain.  Ed, a visiting gastroenterologist, brought peppermint candy to give to the kids, but even after it was gone, they continued to follow us, ask questions, press on our white skin, etc.  It was a bit of a hazy day, but the 360 degree view from the top was beautiful.  The mountains and hillsides are full of tea, corn, and various other vegetable plots, as well as cows, donkeys, etc.  Here are a few pics from the hike:

A view of Tenwek Campus from the top of Motigo.

Another view from Mantigo

Myself, Steve and the group of kids that followed us up the mountain. Steve is also a Duke resident (medicine-pediatrics) so it has been fun having him here to share this experience.

On our way back, we crossed this little stream, and met this nice woman with her kids. She was doing her laundry in the water here.

Pig/Goat Roast

While I was hiking, Whitney was helping proctor the surgery residents’ yearly exam.  Afterwards, they invited us to attend a pig/goat roast celebration on Sunday.  One of the first year residents, Seno, grew up on a pig/goat farm, and had the animals slaughtered on the day of the roast.  He butchered the animals, and spent hours attending to the grill in preparation for the feast.  The food was absolutely amazing!  It reminded me of a Southern style barbecue with the pork and the presence of coleslaw, but with a Kenyan twist as we also had spice-coated potatoes, fresh salsa, beets, and of course, ugali, which is the Kenyan staple dish.  Ugali is made of cornmeal, and is rather bland and flavorless, but it picks up the flavors of whatever it is served with.  Prior to the meal, we played foosball, basketball, volleyball, and even Twister with some of the residents.  Afterwards, we played all kinds of crazy games. The residents were a lot of fun, and they made us feel right at home.  Here are a few pics from the fun night:

Seno working the grill!

Clockwise from top left: Goat legs keeping warm on the small grill, my excited rib smile, Some of the spread with ugali in the top center underneath the pot, Scott playing fooseball with the residents, Whitney and the residents doing a laugh-inducing action mimicking game, Residents playing Twister for their first time ever.

Hmm, are you able to tell whose plate is whose? Hint: the plate on the left has several chunks of goat meat, giant pig ribs, a large heap of BBQ sauce, a multitude of potatoes, (and was the not the first plate consumed by this individual). The plate on the right is neatly organized, colorful and with precise vegetable:meat ratios of each. (The white you see on one of the plates is ugali, it’s sliceable, like store-bought polenta.)

The wards

Regarding, the hospital, I am slowly becoming more comfortable taking care of the diseases commonly seen here.  The heart disease, diabetes, and cancers commonly seen in the states, are replaced here by AIDS, meningitis, and TB among others.  My second call night was yesterday, and was more hectic than the first.  We had one patient who had a severe PCP pneumonia (infection seen in advanced HIV) and her oxygen levels were slowly dropping throughout the night.  By 3am, her O2 levels were at 50% (normal is >90%) despite us giving her 100% oxygen by a face mask.  In this situation, the only way to try to oxygenate her, is to intubate her and place her on a breathing machine.  The only problem is, I had not intubated anyone since my third year medical school anesthesia rotation, since at Duke, intubations are done by pulmonologists and respiratory therapists.  Usually when you intubate someone, you first aggressively use a bag to blow extra oxygen in their lungs until it reaches 100%, since you have to sedate them and they stop breathing while you are placing the tube.  An additional problem was the fact that despite bagging her for 45 minutes, we still couldn’t get her oxygen levels over 80%.  This is a very bad sign.  Finally, we had to go for it.  I asked God to help me place the tube where it needed to go, and was nervous, but trusted he would help!  Fortunately I was able to get the tube in, but she ultimately passed away several hours later as her lungs still would not allow her to receive oxygen.

That night we had a few more cases of meningitis, pneumonia, and an unfortunate young girl who was brought by her mother from another hospital.  She had been at that hospital for 3-4 weeks, and has been having 20-30 seizures per day, and has been more or less comatose since then.  She was actively seizing on arrival, and continued during the night.  I had her on nearly every anti-seizure medication we have, along with multiple antibiotics, and it still was not preventing her seizures.  In the morning, I consulted with a few of the long term physicians to ask their opinion but we were all stumped.  We all went to the bedside, and did the only thing left that we could think of…we asked God for wisdom as well as healing.  I am happy to report, she has not seized for >48 hours.  She is still not responsive, so please keep her in your prayers!


Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Post navigation

2 thoughts on “Catching up!

  1. Robert L. Visser

    OK Scott, Those kids with you and Steve look like they could have some real skill…So if you see a 7′-0″ fifth grader or perhaps a super fast wideout or high jumper I will hook you up with a real good university in central Iowa and of course, Lincoln High School here in Sioux Falls has a good multi language program and they always need a little help with sports. Just teasing.

    Really though, it is a good update on your adventure…I have never had lamb or goat…I am thinking a little Honey/BBQ would go good.

    Thanks for the update.
    Bob Visser

  2. Helen Williams

    The two plates made me laugh. I think I know who owned which plate.
    What a tough environment professionally. But what a great place not only to mature in your skills as a doctor, but also to see how God answers prayer when you call out. What a faith-building time. Thanks for the new photos. Amazing every time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: