Nov 21, 2009


There's just something about rainy days....

         The dark sky, and the sound of drops hitting 

                              your roof...

             That makes you want to curl up with a

                                  good book...

 Maybe drink some hot chocolate or coffee...

Days that seem to say "quiet time"...


These are days that make me smile.

Nov 18, 2009

A couple things

After much deliberation (Or not so much deliberation), I've decided to switch over to this blog!  There's pros and cons to each one, but the biggest pro to this one that outweighed the cons is that I can do alot more to make it look nice.  :)

As you can see, I've brought my posts from my other blog over to this one.  So even though it says that all posts so far are from November, they're really can probably especially tell that by the blog that has the title "It's October!". 

That's all for now!


I've been meaning to do a new post for a long time now, but I never did get around to it.  Here's some things that have been happening.

~* Julia's been home for...quite a while now.  We all missed her!

~* I finished school, hooray!!!  I've been helping here at home.  It's nice to be able to have time to help with and do other things.

I am going to try to study Swahili more.  I get by with speaking to people, but if I actually take the time to study, I'll do better.  The main thing that will help me is learning more vocabulary.

I'm still teaching Aubrie and Ayden on Friday mornings.  They're such a joy.  :)  Little Ryan is growing like a weed!  He's such a happy baby.

~* I've still been helping at the clinic twice a week, usually Mondays and Tuesdays.  I love helping there as much as ever!  Danny and Nancy are truly special people.  They're going to visit the States in a few weeks, so Stephanie and I will try to help out there as much as we can.  There's going to be a christmas party there with the staff.  We're going to have a white elephant gift exchange, so it should be fun!

~* We're getting ready to have company here from December through January, so we've been trying to cook things ahead that we can pull out easily.

~* The short rainy season has begun, so we've had the blessing of rain.  Plants are starting to perk up and become green, the dust has settled, and people seem refreshed.

~* We have a new addition to our family!  Her name is Axe, and she's a German Shepherd.  Jacob is her favorite, she follows him pretty much everywhere he goes.  She's still warming up to the rest of us,though, and is still trying to get used to Don.

That's about all I can think at the moment!  I hope everyone has a great day!
hrt~*LoVe Is PaTiEnT*~
~*aNd kInD,*~
~*LoVe DoEs NoT eNvY oR bOaSt;*~
~*It Is NoT aRrOgAnT oR rUde...*~
~*LoVe BeArS aLl ThInGs,*~
~* BeLiEvEs AlL tHiNgS,*~
~*HoPeS aLl ThInGs,*~
~*EnDuReS aLl ThInGs.*~

It's October!

Can you believe it's October already?  Where has this year (yes, I just accidentally typed "ear") gone?  Summer is finally on its way.  It's nice not to have to bundle up in a wrap and have numb feet every Sunday morning.

Friday morning I had Aubrie here for Bible class, and we were learning about David and Goliath.  As I came to the part about David going to meet Goliath, Aubrie gave a huge smile and said, "Then David got his thing, and his rock hit Goliath in the head, and then Goliath was dead all the time!"  Hmm, well yes he was dead all the time from then on.  Also, a few weeks ago, Dad happened to ask her what her Mom's name was.  After frowning and thinking hard for a minute, she brightened and said, "I's Baby!"   :)

Tomorrow's the day - Julia comes home!  It seems like almost forever since I've seen her.  It'll be great to have her home!

I went to the clinic today...Danny and Nancy went on a little one day vacation today, so Stephanie and I worked in the pharmacy dispensing medicine.  There were no catastrophes or emergencies, which was very good since Mr. Danny wasn't there.  There is one other young doctor working there now, though, so that's good that they have someone.  I can tell you all one thing, when we work over there it's like a comedy routine.  It's nice to work with cheerful people!
Have a great week everyone!
"A joyful heart is good medicine..."
~*Proverbs 17:22a*~

I'm alive!

As you can see, I've been working on fixing up my blog!  I had been meaning to do it sooner, but it wasn't at the top of my priorities list.  I knew it wouldn't take too much time to spruce up, so I finally decided to just go ahead and make it looked more loved!  :)  Here are some things that have happened\been happening lately.

~Luke graduated from high school

~Julia went to the States for a visit.  One of her best friends had a baby, so she went to help out and see the little punkin!

~I've been working hard on my school so I can graduate.  My "official" graduation should be sometime in December, but I should have my work done by then.  Only a couple more weeks in math!  Other than math, I've been doing some drawing.  I think (or I hope!) it's improving, but I must say that instead of my first drawing being titled something like, "Mother duck at pond", it would've been better to call it "Attack of the mutant duck creature".

~The past few weeks I've been teaching a Bible class to Aubrie and Ayden Samford (The two oldest children of Carey and Bonnie who work here with us, and happen to live right across the road) on Friday mornings.  How precious they are!

There's just a few highlights of what's been going on.  Hopefully I'll keep up with this more!


An apple a day keeps the doctor away!


Monday and Tuesday were certainly interesting days at the clinic!  Monday morning I helped Nancy back in the pharmacy some, and then Stephanie called me to start taking patient histories.  Stephanie stayed around for the first couple patients just to make sure I was asking the right questions, then she went to help Nancy and left me on my own.  Zuleka translated for me most of the time, but Tizo helped a couple times as well.  I think taking histories and vital signs is one of my favorite things to do so far! :)   I ask if their parents are in good health, if there’s any history of cancer, TB, HIV, HTN, diabetes, etc. 

A slightly amusing situation came up when I had to to take the histories of two different Masai ladies.  For ladies, one of the questions I have to ask is about their monthly cycle.  The thing is, the Masai women often look much, much older than they are, so you sometimes have a little problem.  As I was questioning the first lady, I was thinking to myself, “She looks pretty old…I’m sure she’s no longer having those.  But I suppose I should check just in case.”  So, we asked her and she’s talks to herself trying to figure it out, then proceeds to tell us about the most recent occurrence!  Now I’m thinking, “Whoa…okay!…Can’t judge a book by its cover!”.  We finished with that lady, and started to question the next woman.  When we got to that same question I think, “This lady looks reeeaaally old, I’m sure she doesn’t! But then again, the last woman surprised me, so I guess I’ll just ask…”  So once again, we ask her that question, and then the lady replies, “Oh no!! I am an old woman!” Now at this point I’m thinking, “Ooookaaaay….I feel like a complete fool!”

The most interesting thing that happened was that I got to feel an enlarged liver!  Danny came into the pharmacy asking if we wanted to feel one, (of course we did!), then we followed him into the exam room.  It was a middle aged Masai man who’s enlarged liver was caused by drinking beer every single day.  First, Mr. Danny put his hand over the liver, and tapped his fingers with his other hand, then did the same thing on the other side so we could hear the difference in tone.  (As he was doing this, Nancy and I were rubbing our hands together trying to warm them up.  I don’t think it worked for mine, though…the poor man! My hands probably felt like ice!)  Then Danny showed us how to palpate the liver, then let me try.  It was very interesting!  Another lady came in and was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm.  An aneurysm is when an area of the blood vessel widens, forming a spot that is similar to a bubble in a tire.  They’re very dangerous, and sadly the lady very possibly might die from it.  Her blood pressure was very high, and also had a fast pulse.  You could feel the aneurysm pumping very strongly when you put your hand at the top of her abdomen.

Tuesday morning was pretty hectic, because Tizo (he checks people in, collects money, etc. etc.) was gone for most of the morning.  Well, that meant that I had to try to do his job.  Thankfully I know enough Swahili to make up their chart info, tell them how to pay, etc.  The hard part was making change with no coins in the cash box!  Since we didn’t have any coins, Nancy ran up to their house and got a few, but we ran out again quickly.  It was crazy, and I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off!  Thankfully Tizo came back and then we were able to get things in there going more smoothly.  There was alot of work to do in the card room, so we worked in there mostly all day.  I also helped Nancy in the pharmacy a bit, recorded diagnoses into the log book, counted how many patients we’ve had in the last months, and took a few histories when Stephanie was busy doing something else.
Also, promiscuity is a huge problem, and if people could see the affects it can have, they might think twice about what they do.  It seems that almost every other person that comes in has some sort of disease.  It’s very sad.

We’ll see what other interesting things next week holds!  :)

Nov 17, 2009

“Everyone come look at this blood sample!”


Sunday night I spent the night with the Staffords so I could get up and go to the clinic with Stephanie on Monday.  Pretty much all day long on Monday I was back in the pharmacy moving medicine to a new shelf, labeling them, and stuff like that.  Lindsey Gee came that day and helped out too.

In the pharmacy, they have some small jars of peanut butter to give out for malnourished patients, and it was on the very top shelf.  Lindsey and I had to move it to its new shelf, so she was on one chair, and I had another one.  I would stand on the chair, grab some peanut butter, hop down, run and hand them to Lindsey, then run back to my chair again.  Thankfully Tizo (Tizo is a young guy who works at the clinic who’s almost like the Smelsers adopted son :) ) happened to come in, and stood on the chair, threw the peanut butter across the room for me to catch, then I would hand it to Lindsey to put on the top shelf.  It went alot faster once we did it that way! Monday was a really busy and interesting day, and I even got to look at a stool sample with hookworms, and a blood sample infected with malaria under the microscope!

 Monday afternoon, Stephanie decided that since Tuesdays at the clinic have been really busy lately, that she would come the next day.  Since I was already staying with Stephanie, I just stayed another night, then went with her on Tuesday (Today, that is!). 

Today was a really busy day!  I started out in the pharmacy, moving medicine so there would be more room in between them. They were really crowded together, and we didn’t want to be accidentally grabbing the wrong one!  After I did that, I transferred diagnoses into the log book (that’s one of my regular jobs now).  When I was done transferring diagnoses, Tizo asked me to help him in the card room.  We cut the patient file folders so they’d be the right size, then we filed them into a cardboard box (A box that I won’t mention took us a while to figure out how to put together right!).  Then I helped Nancy work in the pharmacy…getting people’s medicine, figuring up what they owe, writing down medicines, and a bunch of good stuff like that.  Also, sometimes I try to translate the directions on how to take medicine, and whatever else needs to be said.  I think I need to memorize more medical vocabulary!  Sputum? Pus?! I have no idea what that is in Swahili!  So lots of times we need a real translator instead. :)

Sometimes we’ll see some really sad things at the clinic.  Like today there was a young Masai man who came in who had TB of the spine.  He looked incredibly young…we all thought he was maybe around14, but it turned out he was 22.  He’ll most likely die before too long, because he needs extremely aggressive treatment, which he very most likely won’t receive.  It’s very sad.  But working there is so enjoyable, especially when you have a wonderful old woman thank you over and over, and be so grateful, when all you did is tell her how many times a day to take her Erythromycin!

-Next week Stephanie’s going to let me take patient histories! :)

Bronchitis, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, appendicitis…any other ‘itis’s?

I’ve been excited about helping at the clinic for a year now, ever since helping Danny and Nancy Smelser with a few mobile clinics they did in the bush, and now I’m very happy to be able to work at the newly built Tanzania Christian Clinic once or twice a week.

The days are fairly similar…the patients come in, get their histories and vital signs taken by Mrs. Stephanie Stafford, then are seen by Mr. Danny (ER doctor).  Then they’re sent to wait for whatever medicine that’s been prescribed, and Mrs. Nancy (aka, “Queen of the Pharmacy”) gives them their medicine, and instructs them how to take it.  My job usually consists of counting and bagging pills, or doing whatever happens to need doing at that moment.  It’s always interesting to hear Danny, Nancy and Stephanie talk back and forth about different maladies, using technical terms and hoopla; most of which goes straight over my head!  To give you one example, Nancy comes up giving me all the details about that “poor little boy that had Cardioshajfjjfdkdaskdjflslitis.”  Now, my poor little brain is busy trying to sort this out. “Cardio…oh, heart!…um…itis…” when Nancy (undoubtedly seeing my blank face and glassy eyes) kindly explains it to me in normal person language.  “You see, a healthy person’s heart will pump like ‘lub-lub…lub-lub…’, but a person’s heart with that disease will pump like ‘lubLUB-lubLUB’”.

This particular Monday, I sit nearby Stephanie to learn how to do her job of taking histories and vital signs.  I scribble down the questions she asks the patients on a scrap of paper.  “Wow, this lady has had 18 pregnancies?!"  

After we finished with that lady, Nancy calls me and asks me to transfer diagnoses into their log book.  Since I hadn’t been to the clinic in several days, there were plenty of files built up for me to transfer.  First, I look in the patient’s chart to the “Assessment” section, and then copy the diagnosis to a column in the log book along with the patient’s name.  This sounds like an incredibly easy job, but it can take forever and be quite tedious, because I have to decipher Mr. Danny’s handwriting.  Starting with the first letter seems like a good idea, so I look at it.  I stare harder.  I bend closer.  Finally, I end up with my nose practically touching the paper and my eyes feeling like they’re spinning around in circles.  Is that a “g”, “y”, or an “f?”  Or is it a “b” or a capital “l?”  Thankfully, it’s much easier now than at first and I can recognize “Bronchitis”, “Conjunctivitis”, and “Gastro Esophageal Reflux” at barely even a glance.  

Once I’m finished with transferring the diagnoses, I start recording the medicines and strengths used, and total the cost of the medicine and lab work.  I’ve been working quite a while, and the stack of files are almost gone.  Only one left.  Horrors! It’s the one I put on the bottom of the stack for a reason.  Even with being able to read almost all the writing fairly easily now, I just can’t make this one out.  I pull myself together, and concentrate on making out the scratches of pen marks.  S…I…O…U…X.  Hooray, I’ve done it!  Wait, Sioux?!  That’s an Indian tribe, not a medicine!  I decide to wait until Nancy comes back into the pharmacy, then I ask her, not even daring to mention what I had thought it was at first.  She glances at it for a moment and says “Sioux”.  Suddenly, she looks puzzled and goes back for a second look, while I’m trying to keep my bubbles of mirth under control.  “Oooooh, it’s not Sioux, that’s Lasix…the medicine for high blood pressure…I use it myself!  And here I was thinking it was a name like those Indians!”

 After I’m finished recording all the necessary information into the log books, I go back out to see if I can help Stephanie.  She said I could take a patient’s history and vital signs to practice.  There’s a mother in the nurse’s station holding a little boy, with a man sitting beside both of them.  Stephanie was in a different room at that moment giving an injection, so we were all waiting for her.  I gave the little boy a stuffed bear, and the woman holding him told me he was her son.  “How nice, you both look alike”, I told her.  After making polite conversation about the little boy’s name, age, etc, I held out my arms and asked the boy to come.  He looked very scared, and unsure of what I would do.  But he came, and just sat in my lap, so I started playfully bopping him in the face with his bear.  He started laughing, and started to have too good a time to remember he was scared anymore.  As we played with the bear, his mother looked at her husband next to her and said, “She’s a very good mama!”  I looked up, and laughed a little.  “Do you have any children?” she asked.  “No, I don’t.”  Looking a bit shocked, she replied, “Well why not?!”  Okay, great…. ”I don’t have any husband” I said, “I’m only 16”.  “Ah, yes…not yet then” she answered back to me.  I start playing with the boy on my lap again, while the lady sat back in her chair, with an expression on her face that looked like she was trying to solve a problem.  “Here’s what you do” she suddenly said, “Go get a husband, then you’ll get the children!”  Smiling triumphantly, she repeated “Then you will get!” a few more times.  I just smiled, and agreed with her, and started taking the boy’s temperature.  After finishing that, I put the stethoscope in my ears about to take his pulse and respirations.  I put it on his chest when he started crying.  I told him not to be afraid, and gave him the stethoscope so he could see it was nothing to be scared of.  He calmed down a little bit, and I put it in his ears so he could listen to his own heart.  Unfortunately, I had to go help Nancy again in the pharmacy with more patient files, and so Stephanie had to finish.  When the mother and boy were waiting for their medicine outside the pharmacy door where I was working, she saw me and told the boy he should give me a kiss.  She blew a few kisses to me to show him how, and then when he was too shy, I just leaned in, and he gave me a little peck on the cheek!

Being able to help is a great experience, and I’m really enjoying it!!  :)

Nov 15, 2009


Hello Everybody!

I'm trying out this new blog to see how I like it compared to my Wordpress blog.  I'm not sure yet which one I'll end up using...I guess I'll fiddle around with this one, get it fixed up, etc., then see which one I like better!

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