Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Life on A Ward

Dear Family and Friends,

Warmest greetings from sunny PNG. I'd like to say the "rainy season" has ended, which leaves us with more sunny hours to enjoy every day. We still have plenty of rain - an afternoon thunderstorm most days, and the drone of tropical rain on our tin roof most nights (which we love falling asleep to). The gardens (flowers, veggies, and MANY weeds) are happily overgrowing their designed boundaries, but I don't mind - it's an excuse to spend more time with my hands in the dirt.

I've been back on A Ward for the last couple weeks, and really enjoyed seeing the admitted kiddos every day. Their parents are always so grateful, and if I'm not getting smiles on the first go round, usually the kids are also excited to say hi by the second or third day I see them. The stickers, tickles, selfies, and goofy faces probably help. Actually, I think I've made a name for myself here just with stickers alone... “Kid with a sticker? Yup - he's seen Dr Ted.” :-)

I've also loved working with the A Ward staff again. They're a wonderful group of nurses, and I've really enjoyed getting to know them. Every day after I complete rounds, we circle up in the center of A Ward, grab hands, and pray for God's leading in our work and healing for the kids. Everyone gets a turn to pray, and the shy nursing students are quickly learning that avoiding my gaze is the fastest way to be "volunteered" to pray.

Since coming back on the Peds Ward, I've felt The Lord leading me to do more with the time I have left. At first, it meant reading the Lord's Prayer (in Pidgin) with all the patients/parents before or after rounds, but this last Sunday, being on call, the vision expanded to giving a short message. I decided Jesus’ words would be more powerful if read than paraphrased, so reading from the Pidgin Bible, I strung together a number of verses – His promises for those who believe…

“Come to me, all you who are weary…
take my yoke upon you…and you will find rest…” 
(Matthew 11:28-30)

The two greatest commandments are 
“Love the Lord…and Love your neighbor…” 
(Matthew 22:37-39)

“When Jesus comes in His Glory…
He will separate the sheep from the goats…
Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me”. 
(Matthew 25:31-40)

“Where two or three come together in my Name, 
there I am with them.”
(Matthew 18:19-20)

“Is anyone of you in trouble?...Is any one of you sick?
...the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; 
the Lord will raise Him up. 
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” 
(James 5:13-16)

The Lord’s Prayer
"...Your will be done...Deliver us..."
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Delivering the Word of God to those suffering is my calling, of that I am sure. Perhaps every Sunday morning will find me with a new message for the Peds Ward. 

New Sign at the front of Kudjip Hospital
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of my A Ward patients these last two weeks is named McKayla, and her story is worth sharing. About 4 months ago, McKayla entered the world with a complicated delivery at a Southern Highlands hospital. She was stuck in her mother’s pelvis for a long time but with a number of vacuum attempts the OB staff finally brought her into the world. Her parents relay this story with sadness, remembering the limpness of her body, not breathing despite stimulation and oxygen from the staff. McKayla was in fact declared dead after resuscitation efforts were stopped. Her father thinks that about 15-20 minutes after delivery, McKayla began breathing on her own – a miracle of God. She remained in the hospital for some time, weak, unable to coordinate breastfeeding or swallow properly, getting formula through a nasal tube.

Having seen McKayla a few times in the clinic, not only was I very concerned for her obvious malnutrition, but I was also very concerned for aspiration (inhaling spit and formula) – all consistent with her early anoxic brain injury. Her parents were distraught without any way to help her feed, and at her last clinic visit, she had developed an obvious pneumonia from the aspiration. Without oxygen, antibiotics, and nasal feedings, McKayla would surely have died. In fact, after her admission, another doctor covering the Peds ward was so convinced of her terminal state and poor prognosis that they discussed “DNR” (Do Not Resuscitate) with the parents.

More times than I would like to remember, I have had the same conversation with many desperate parents – taking the time to explain how the child’s condition is worsening despite our best efforts and medicines. Without a ventilator on Station, severe infections many times shut down a small child’s ability to breath, leaving us pumping a bag to breathe for them. Even then, after many hours of CPR, these very sick children usually die. For the sickest of them, it seems reasonable to discuss DNR with the parents before their heart and lungs shut down completely – to avoid prolonging the inevitable.

For McKayla, however, it seems God has other plans. Within 48 hours after admission, she turned the corner, responding well to our interventions. In further discussions with her parents, we all agreed to rescind the DNR, willing to prayerfully seek God’s healing and fullness of life for her. After all, only He knows how McKayla’s life will impact others for good.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Little "Teddy" came again for a visit...Love him! :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment