Liberia 2017

Kwendin #22 | March 8, 2017

Bob is working on supper so i have a few minutes to write.  

I did indeed have a nap before supper yesterday and it was a good thing. And I went to bed before 9 and slept very well indeed, thank you very much. No longer sleep deprived.  

Some of us sang a bit last night and that was a blessing as always.  

Today the clinic was very busy. I do not know how many people we saw, but I do know that when we stopped for lunch there were still about a dozen charts in each of the 3 rooms that were working. So we kept on working till about 3:30 before we finally cleared them all.  

I did not take out a lump this morning because the patient we had booked did not show up. But we were not bored. Lots of dressing changes for various wounds, some stitches to take out of hernia patients, lots of patients who had been told to come back to see me after visiting the clinic while I was in Tappita.  

Pretty soon we settled into a routine of Kate, Kristie and Spencer each in a room with a translator, and me rotating between them confirming diagnoses and helping to decide how the patients should be treated with our limited drug supply. It is getting even more limited--we are out of some of the drugs we bought already.  

Quite a few interesting patients actually. Kristie just reminded me of a little girl who did not speak. It turns out she is completely deaf since birth. Her ears looked just fine. We have no treatment for her. But what is her future in this country? is there a deaf school that will teach her to lip read, to vocalize, to read and write? Maybe. But maybe not.  

One 35 year old who looked about 15, with a terrible deformity of his back. He should have had major spinal surgery 20 years ago. Sorry. I do not have any treatment for you. What is his future?  

Lots of people with various stages of malaria, mostly chronic with big spleens. Somehow they need to protect themselves against ongoing malaria but how do you do that in a village with no resources? There are mosquito nets in the clinic, provided by the government, but they are allocated to pregnant women and newborn babies. What about everybody else?  

One fellow came in who had been clearing bush in the forest and got hit on the cheek with a big stick--I did not find out if someone else was swinging the stick or if it fell. He had been knocked out. We simply put him to bed for a couple of hours and watched him. He seemed to settle down OK and the staff were going to let him go home at the end of the day.  

In the morning I saw a lady with six toes on one foot. She really wanted the sixth toe off. There is no more room on my Friday list of lumps and bumps, so I asked her to come back this afternoon. While Kristie and Spencer finished off the last of the patients, Kate and I worked on her toe. It went very nicely and she was very happy indeed--much easier to fit shoes when there are 5 toes on each foot.  

My fellow with the finger amputation came for a dressing change today. it is healing well.  

We have only two more days in the clinic. Then the weekend here, and we drive on Monday. We will need to confirm our flight on Tuesday, and then we fly on Wednesday. That's one week away.  

When we started for home, someone on the main road came out of a house and gave me a huge pineapple. Huge. But just then our driver came by with the car so I gave it to him to carry home. And in fact, once he had turned around I chose to ride home in the car with him and the pineapple. The other 3 chose to walk home. But it is blistering hot and a long hot walk in the sun does not always appeal to me.

I have cut up 2 pineapples (not the one from today) and they are already mostly eaten. It's a hard life.

Dr. John Potts