This weekend I have been on call for the surgery service with a wonderful team of residents, including chief resident, Dr. Agneta Odera, who finishes her five year surgical residency here at Tenwek in December. Dr. Odera has done an incredible array of cases during her tenure at Tenwek with a breadth of procedures that far surpasses any general surgery training in the western world. Last night she independently performed a craniotomy on a young man who had developed a brain abscess after a head injury two weeks ago. The Tenwek CT scanner made the diagnosis quite clear and as as result this young man (who was in a coma with his right side paralyzed yesterday) is now moving the right side of his body and is more awake and off the ventilator.
While passing through our emergency room on Saturday, I was surprised that the place was amazingly serene with only one patient being treated there. The quiet was short-lived as a young girl was brought rapidly through the front door on a stretcher crying and screaming for her mother. The nurse with her, from another small local hospital, reported that she had been hit by a bus not even two hours before and needed her leg amputated. I am usually quite skeptical of such pronouncements but a quick examination of her left leg helped me understand why they felt we should be so aggressive. Her left lower leg just below the knee was mangled and without life and her right leg was also broken though with no wounds. We rushed the seven year old girl named Scholar Chepkemoi to the operating room after briefly explaining the gravity of the injury to her grandfather. Dr. Odera and I closed a wound on her scalp that was bleeding and then amputated her left leg at the level of the knee. It is a sickening procedure and Dr. Odera's prayer at the onset focused on God providing supernatural grace to the family and little Scholar whose life would never be the same. She came through the surgery stable and in not too much pain all things considered. Her Aunt then showed up and was in shock with the news that her little niece had become an amputee that day. In her denial and confusion she asked me when I planned on putting the leg I had removed back! I really don't like these conversations with families as there seems to be no way to soften the blow such terrible news delivers to the family . Overnight Scholar rested fairly well and we trust will make an uneventful recovery from here physically. Her Mom and Dad came today and were quite brave as I explained why we did the amputation and how God had protected her life as she could have easily died after colliding with a bus. In Kipsigis the mother commented that Jehovah was good to save her life and the father agreed. With her right leg broken, she won't be walking for two to three months at the very least. I think you would agree that Scholar and her parents are greatly in need of God's loving embrace and care at this time. Would you pray for her and her parents that we can meet their physical and emotional needs in the coming days and weeks? I have attached a picture below of Scholar this morning in the ICU postop.
A second 7 year old, a boy named Amos, has been in the peds ward at Tenwek for several weeks after two operations to remove bowel that had died or was leaking. So much of his intestine has been removed that he is left with only 110 cm of small bowel. This is only barely enough to survive and his nutritional status has been poor for the last couple of weeks. We are working hard with his father, who faithfully remains at Amos' bedside day and night, to feed him through a tube in his nose to his stomach. Still, even with aggressive feedings through the tube, his weight keeps dropping. Our surgery team stopped at his bedside yesterday and asked God to intervene and allow Amos to live even with so little small intestine remaining. One of our second year residents, Dr. Philip Blasto, gave a wonderful and sincere intercessory prayer for Amos. I have included a picture of Amos and his father below. He certainly is malnourished, having lost nearly half his body weight since he first came to Tenwek. Would you pray with our surgery team that God will heal this little guy and allow him to gain weight and survive to His glory?
Pam and I are so grateful for praying brothers and sisters in Christ who have held us up over the last 17 years that we have been WGM missionaries. We face a family transition in three months with our son, Steven, graduating from high school here in Kenya and planning on joining the US Army in August. We plan on being home in the US for five months total with a return to Kenya just after Christmas. We will be needing wheels for those five months so if any of you know of a vehicle that we could use or rent from July to December please let us know.
During our recent WGM annual retreat on the coast of Kenya, our second daughter, Kayla, was baptized in the Indian Ocean by our WGM Regional Director and our former Kenya field director, Rev. Terry Duncan (see pics below). We were also able to spend a couple of extra days on vacation with two other Tenwek families. All three families invested some meal time memorizing the 121st Psalm that starts off "I lift up my eyes to the hills.....where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth." Adults and children alike in all three families quoted the eight verses of this chapter together and we have been saying those verses to each other even since returning to Tenwek. The Psalm ends in verse 8 with "The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more." What a super promise for our family as we look ahead this summer to saying goodbye to Steven as he enters a career in the military with many comings and goings to and from places that won't be safe from a human perspective.
Enough blogging for now.... God bless you and watch over you this week!
Mike and Pam Chupp