Saturday, August 19, 2017

Making a difference

As I was walking towards the hospital, a little girl with a huge smile on her face is looking up at me along the road. She looks familiar so I stop as mom seems to have a question.  Mom was headed to the lab to get her daugther’s blood work done and had a question for me.  When I looked at the daughter’s book, my eyes changed from confused to recollection as I realized I knew this little one.    

I met Joice a year ago, when she was 3.5 years old. She wasn’t talking much and was kind of short for her age. We made the diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism and started her on thyroid replacement therapy.  In just a few months, we started to see some changes, she started talking more and thankfully hasn’t stopped.  Despite living far away, mom has been faithful in returning for her meds every few months and Joice has benefited from it. 

Joice is almost 4.5 years old now and is quite talkative and happy, and I am thankful for that.  We don’t always catch conditions early in PNG, but with Joice, I think we got it in time and she should continue to growth and develop in line with her peers.  Without this diagnosis, Joice wouldn't have grown, wouldn't have talked, and would have been mentally challenged her whole life.  Instead her life should be pretty normal, because Nazarene Hospital exists and has the blood test available to make this diagnosis and thus make a difference in lives like Joice's. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Back in PNG

I have been back in PNG for 5 days now and have quickly gotten back into the swing of things.    With all the violence that happened during elections, many patients were unable to get to the hospital, so we are now seeing a lot of patients finally come back for their reviews, many off of their medicines for a few weeks, which is less than ideal.  I get to care for some cute kids on the Pediatric ward the past few days, which is a lot of fun.  They don't all smile at me when I see them each day, but the goal is to get them smiling and home as soon as we can.

Getting off the airplane, there are many things that are very different than I had been seeing in the past 4 months in the US, but as I got off the airplane and started the drive home to Kudjip, all those differences (potholed filled roads, simple houses made from bush material, everyone and their pets walking along the side of the highway, the roads lined with gardens and more), seem normal and no longer phase me.  Those differences go beyond the things I see as I drive home, but also include what I see in the hospital.  One of the things I love about working in PNG is the variety of diseases that I see and the different kinds of procedures that I get to do.  In just a few days, I have cared for patients with HIV, TB, Pneumonia, fractured arms, high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, Hirschsprung's disease, acute abdomen's, lacerations, Guillian Barre Syndrome and have gotten back into doing ultrasounds, I&Ds and even draining fluid from around the heart, and in many ways it feels as if I never was in the US for 4 months.

The welcome I have received from my missionary family and my PNG coworkers has also been amazing and made me feel as if I am at home.  It is good to be home.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Last stop

Before heading back to Papua New Guinea, I made one last National Park Stop to Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio, just 1.5 hours away.  We did the Ledges hike, which the kids enjoyed as we climbed on the rocks and investigating the cracks and crevices around the rocks.  It was a nice last outing together.  In the morning, I head back to Papua New Guinea to start another 2 years of service at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, caring for the sick and hurting in the Highlands of PNG.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Great Smoky Mountains

I got to go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a Gina before heading back to PNG.  Gina had lived in PNG as a MK teacher a few years back and since has gone to PA school and is about to start working in CT for a neurosurgeon.  One of the things I love about National Parks is how different they all are and the beauty that each one has.  We didn't see much wildlife - outside of a bumblebee, inch worm, butterfly and a deer - but the beauty of the mountains (when not covered by clouds) was amazing.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Yellowstone/Grand Teton Adventure

 I got to go to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Park with my sister and family for a week.  We had a great time seeing lots of wildlife and enjoying the beauty of the park.  We went on hikes, went fishing and tried to spot as much wildlife as we could - finding moose, bear, bison, pronghorns, mule deer, elk, sheep and more.  Lots of memories were made for sure.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Happy 4th of July

 I don't know what everyone else does for the 4th of July, but in Harrisville, PA the big thing is going to the parade and watching all the tractors go by.  This year there were 69 tractors - no one has counted in recent years so we aren't sure if this is a record or not, but it sure was a lot of tractors.

Yogi Bear made an appearance, as did the tank tractor.  The candy being thrown by the tractor drivers and others, was definitely a highlight for the kids, as was the snow cones and funnel cake, at the little festival after the parade.  All in all it was a fun 4th of July and thankful that I can call the United States of America my home.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tent Rocks NM

While in New Mexico, to visit and speak with my home church, I got to go to Kasha-Katuwe (meaning = white cliffs) Tent Rocks National Monument.  This is only an hour N of Albuquerque and very well worth it.  The rock formations were quite beautiful, each corner revealing something new.  It wasn't a long hike to get through the canyon, but definitely not a place you want to be in a rain storm.  Thankfully, we had bright blue skies and so we never had to worry.