One of the questions folks asked me when I was home was "What was my favorite part about being a missionary physician?" Or phrased another way, "If I ever came back to the US to practice medicine, what part of what I do now, would I really want to do in the US?" The best answer I could give them was that I liked the variety of what I got to see and do everyday. I enjoy seeing patients in the hospital, in the clinic, in the Emergency Room, delivering babies, doing procedures, doing C-sections, etc. I love that no two days are the same because each patient has it's unique set of problems that I get to be a part of helping, whether they are physical or spiritual problems. I have been back for 2 weeks and I have appreciated the variety and the vast scope of medicine that I get to practice.
I have been back on the Medical ward and my patients have HIV, TB, terminal cancer, strokes, COPD and more. Some of them we are helping to get better and get home, others we are scratching our heads trying to figure out medically what is happening, but praising God as they continue to improve clinically. Maggie is one of the patients that I am not sure what is wrong with her, but she is getting better and as she does, her smile is getting bigger and bigger. Hopefully, she will be able to go home soon.
As one patient leaves my room and the next one walks toward my room, I never know what/who is walking in. Yesterday I saw pts who had liver cancer, fractures, infection of the bone and muscle, diarrhea, cervical cancer, back pain, arthritis, leukemia, HIV, pneumonia, seizures, high blood pressure, tuberculosis and more. The variety makes it interesting, makes it fun, keeps me on my toes as far as my clinical skills and knowledge.
The Emergency Room also offers lots of variety from procedures like suturing and draining of fluid from lungs or abdomens, to seeing kids hit by a car, adults with a seizure or stroke, or getting to drain an abscess. Yesterday, while seeing a kid, Jim walks in and asks if he can help. I took him up on his offer, but stopped and quietly thanked God that Jim is here, that he is back in PNG, back serving and working at Kudjip after going home last summer and having heart surgery. When he got on that plane last summer, I wasn't sure I would see him back in PNG again, but I am so thankful that I have the chance to work and serve with him again. He got his heart repaired, but having a big heart for the people of PNG sure hasn't changed.