Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Long Haul

A few days ago I was working in the ER, when one of the student nurses came in leading a little girl by the hand. Even while he was saying, "Dr. Andy--do you remember Elsie?" I recognized her. She had been a long-term patient on the pediatrics ward back in the old hospital. She had a mysterious neurologica deterioration, had been in a coma for several days, but had slowly "come back". She apparently had a stroke, and was left with one side of her body and a facial droop.

When she finally learned to walk again, she became very intrusive on the ward, going from bed to bed, touching the babies. We had moved her to the TB ward (we had suspected TB of the brain, and treated her with the full course of meds).

She had been discharged, and I had not seen her for any follow-up. I had often wondered how she was doing. But she was back. She saw Susan for the follow-up visit, and Susan said that she was doing very well. It's good to know.

Then last week, I was seeing a 9 year old girl named Anna. I can't even remember what she was in for--something minor. Whatever it was, I wanted to ask Susan's opinion about something, so asked her to step in. Susan immediately recognized her, and remembered her story in detail. She'd been Susan's patient when Susan first came to Kudjip. She (Anna, not Susan) had heart problems, and it didn't seem likely that she would live to be more than a few years old, or at least that she'd be seriously disabled. But Susan had followed her over the years, and was eventually able to wean her off the meds, and had watched her grow into an active, normal little girl.

What a blessing to see what God has done through Nazarene Hospital, and what we've gotten to be a part of.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Katie Is OK

Although her injuries are more serious than originally thought, Katie Zook is alive and well. Her injuries are not life-threatening. We are praising God for this!

Here is a link to a video of a story that one of the Seattle TV stations did about her.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friend Injured in Haiti Earthquake

I suppose that by now you are aware of the earthquake which has git Haiti. We are thankful that all Nazarene personnel are safe.

A young friend of ours has been serving there with an organization that is related to Free Methodist World Mission. She is Kattie Zook, the granddaughter of the founder of Whitehorse Family Medicine, in Arlington, Washington, where I practiced for 11 years prior to coming to PNG.

The building where she works collapsed. Katie was trapped in the basement for several hours before being rescued. She was treated for a pulmonary contusion and a hematoma in her leg at the UN hospital, then evacuated to the US Navy hospital at Guantanamo Bay, where she was at first said to be stable, then later deteriorated. There is now a plan to transfer her to Miami urgently.

One national member of their staff there is confirmed dead, and three people (I'm not sure if nationals or missionaries) are still unaccounted for.

She was in school with our kids in Arlington, and then attended NNU. She's between Amy and Sam in age. She has had a love for Haiti, and made many (6 or 8) short-term mission trips there through high school and college, and has been very excited to serve there on a more prolonged basis.

Please be in prayer for Katie, for her mom and dad Greg and Dawn, and her grandma Renie.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dumb Expressions

Alright, it's time for a really stupid expression picture. I don't know if I've ever put up a worse photo of myself. Of course, it's not Noah's best, either, but he hasn't had very many months to accumulate photos with dumb expressions.

Well, he and I get a long well. Maybe this is why.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I don't think I ever really blogged about him. Maybe I should read back through my old blogs to find out for sure, but I find them so boring (I already know the ends of all the stories) that I can't bear to.

Anyway, Jonathan was a kid who was admitted on about October 13 for a big bunch of enlarged lymph nodes. He was treated with antibiotics, but in the first few days in the hospital, began a neurologic deterioration that we couldn't explain. It wasn't sudden, but a relentless slide with weakness, loss of speech, then loss of movement and unconsciousness. We had no test that could shed any light on the situation. We tried a lot of medicines, but we were just shooting in the dark. I expected him to die at any moment. In fact, I was once summoned to the ward for a child who had a cardiac arrest, and when I got to the ward I was heading straight to Jonathan's bed when I realized that it wasn't him.

After several days of deep coma, he started to slowly improve; first opening eyes, then a bit of movement, finally a weak word once in a while. When we moved into the new hospital, he was one of the critically ill kids that I moved personally. He was just getting off oxygen, and was able to make the 10-minute trip without supplemental oxygen.

One of the hardest things was getting nutrition into him. We did tube feedings for a while, but he hated the tube, and promised to eat if I took it out. He tried, but didn't do too well in the eating department. His clinic book shows a weight of 36 kg (about 80 lb.) a few weeks before his admission. His lowest weight in the hospital was 20 kg (45 lb.)!

We did various bed exercises to keep his limbs limber, and eventually to try to strengthen them. Finally, we started trying to get him to sit up, and then to stand. It was a slow process, but it was progress. His speech was slurred, but he eventually talked enough to start bargaining with me, or making demands ("a toy car and a toy gun!"--I gave him 2 toy cars). By mid-December I began saying that I wanted to get him home for Christmas. As the day approached I began to fear that it was an unrealistic goal, and even announced that it was no longer the goal. I was afraid that I was pushing him out before he was ready. However, by Christmas eve he was trying hard to eat, was walking without support, and really wanted to go. I figured he'd do better at home.

Today, I was working in the orthopedics room. At one point I looked up, and there was a little kid standing at the foot of the table watching me. I almost didn't recognize him, but it was Jonathan, looking much healthier than when he left the hospital! He still walks with a bit of a limp, and his speech is still a little slurred, but he's much better than he was. Really fun to see him!

Typos, Typos, Typos

Well, the i and the o are right there next to each other!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home Again, Hime Again

We've back from our trip to Madang. We got in about 6:00 this evening after 9 hours driving 445 km. That's 282 miles. If you'd add the total distance bumping up and down, it would be a lot further! Yes, that's just a little over 30 miles/hour on average. And only two brief stops. You just can't make much time when you have to crawl through potholes, and climb up and down the edge of ground-slips!

When we got in, the Radcliffes had a nice supper for us of corn bread and soup.

I've posted some photos and captions on Facebook. Just use this link. You don't have to be a member of Facebook (but you could join and keep track of us there) to see the photos. Click on the little photos to see big versions and captions.