Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back in home in Chad

     We are finally back in Chad after our saga with my kidney stone leaving here Aug 21, spending our wedding anniversary (Aug 22) mostly in the air, partly in Paris (layover in the airport) and arriving in Oklahoma City the evening of Aug 22 and getting a CT the next morning and seeing the urologist.  Apparrently the stone passed about the time we got to Oklahoma but there was still hematuria which cleared after a few days.  Maybe the vibrations and changes in cabin pressure etc helped the stone to pass besides the pain meds.  At least I did not have to have lithotripsy  (special ultrasonic blasting of the stone) or surgery for it.  
     We got to see Ron (Dolores’ brother) while he is still alive but his condition is terminal with throat cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil primary).  He is now on hospice and taking huge amounts of morphine for his pain.  He probably won’t live past 2 months.  He has a tracheostomy and a gastrostomy feeding tube.  He is a knapper (person who makes arrrowheads from rock) and is trying to go to one last knap-in this weekend to see some of his knapper friends (“his other family”).  We were trying to help him make some final arrangements for some of his equipment and materials while we were home and to be sure his wife had some different arrangements.  She does not want to stay where he was.  They were living in our house.  We have made arrangements for and paid for cremation and he wants some of his ashes scattered in a certain place on his folks old place on the hillside.  We plan to have a memorial service for some of his friends and family when we come home again next June.  The service will be probably the last weekend of June 2013.  We hope to get pictures from some of his friends to put together for that.  It was hard to leave him knowing we will not meet again on this earth but as we parted we said that we plan to meet again when Jesus comes again and sounds that trumpet and calls forth the dead to meet in the air to go to heaven where there will be no more pain, suffering, or death.  
     While at home I went to Pasco, Washington for a orthopedic course on SIGN fracture which is a system for internal fixation of long bone fractures even without the C-arm capability esp for use in developing countries but is being introduced in the US now also.  There are some who have put in a few hundred of them in high trauma areas such as Bagdad, Manila, and a few other places.  Dr. Lewis Zirkle developed the system and distribution of it and relies a lot on donations so that it can be available in the poor areas of the world.  Many areas of the world have a per capita income of less than $2/day but yet they have broken bones that need quality care.  It costs a few thousand dollars to sponsor a system someplace.
     Our trip here was a bit different.  We flew OKC, ATL, Paris, N’Djamena ok then took an 8 hour bus ride over very rough highway (the only “paved” road in the country) to Moundou with our baggage.  There was miles of water covered countryside and lots of people camped on the edge of the highway to get out of the water.  Many mud brick grass thatch roof “houses” have literally melted down in the water.  Different organizations are doing relief efforts for food for some of these people.  There are villages near here in Bere that have been staying in Bere to get out of the water.  They say it is the most rain of rainy season in at least 50 years.  Thurs we left our baggage in Moundou with Dr. Appel. We had 6 checked bags and each had 2 carry ons.  We had weighed our bags carefully and each weighed 51 lbs which the check in person said was ok then when I began to give my credit card to pay for the extra bags, only allowed 2 each or one on Air France, she said there was no charge and “have a good day”.  Normally would have been a few hundred dollars for extra baggage. 

     We got a ride to Kelo then we got on motorcycle taxis to come to Bere.  Dolores got her leg burned on the exhaust pipe of the cycle.  Along the way we had to cross some open water over the road in a canoe for perhaps a half mile.  There were many other areas where the water was only a foot deep or less so the motorcycle could get through.  Also several small detours through fields.  The road from Kelo to Bere has not seen a grader or any type of repair for many years so the water holes get deeper and deeper.  It is possible to get stuck in the mud even in 4 wheel drive.  Anyway we finally made it back to Bere.  It is supposed to be about the end of rainy season now but it has rained hard Fri and Sat nights which will prolong and make it more difficult for people to get in and out.  The water level has gone down some from its high point.
     It was good to see Lyol and Zane and hear “nana” and “papa”
     Friday I did some surgeries including a mastectomy, some hernias, bladder stone removal and helped Danae with a C section (another partial ruptured uterus).  They said these all just came in and that surgery and the whole hospital has been quite slow because people have not been able to get here.
     The construction project is coming along in spite of much rain.  Part of the slabs have been poured after the dirt work was done.  We are certainly looking forward to when all the buildings will be completed including our house which is not started yet.  Lack of roads have been hampering the project.  Apparrently there is a back way that sometimes can be navigated to Moundou without having to take the canoes.

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Pray for us.
Love, Rollin and Dolores

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