Friday, July 30, 2010


I was in the clinic this morning as the thunder was coming at me horizontally.  Njinikom is at 5000 foot elevation and sits on top of a mountain ridge or spine.  God has placed us in a beautiful location with the surrounding ridges and valleys being deep 
green in color.  
I saw a man with HIV today who came to refill his anti-retrovirals.  He started his 6 hour walk to the clinic in the middle of the night so he could make it back home before sunset.  He was happy and without complaints.  

I had to wonder..... what if St Martin De Porres Hospital was not here.  While I have had 3 new HIV cases this week it amazes me to see the number of HIV patients on medications doing well. 

Terry will be teaching at St Maria Goretti's Comprehensive High School run by the Franciscan Sisters.  She will be teaching Math to forms 1,2 and 3.  She has begun going over the material as school will be starting in a month.  It should be interesting as she has been informed there are 45-60 students in a class.  Reminds me of my old Catholic Grade School days!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Orientation is over...

After 8 days of orientation with Dr Pius I started rounding independently on patients in the hospital. I have been assigned the Women's Ward. There are presently about 25 women on my service. Each ward has 12-15 beds, depends on how beds are placed down the central aisle! There are some very sick people including one with Cerebral Toxoplasmosis/HIV, one with Cryptococcal Meiningitis/HIV and two with bacterial meningitis. While Tropical Medicine problems abound there are people with the usual things one might see back at home like kidney infections, heart failure and ulcer disease.

I looked at my "OPD Book" today and tallied that 29 of my first 60 patients had HIV. Only 1 was a new diagnosis and the vast majority were here for their medication refills and doing well. One man I saw today has been on his ARVs(Anti-RetroVirals) since 2004 as is leading a normal healthy life. It is gratifying to see this group of patients doing well and enjoying life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tomorrow the Sun will Rise

I started seeing patients on my own the last 3 days in the OPD(clinic) and it has gone very well.  You just have to start seeing the medical problems first hand and reorient yourself to the tropics.  I also did rounds by myself alone today and was feeling good.  The nurse did not seem to expect that I would ask her opinion on assessment and treatment.  She remarked it is was very enjoyable.  

As I was finishing this afternoon a 6 month old twin was admitted in respiratory distress and pneumonia with a oxygen saturation of 72%.  IV steroids, antibiotics and oxygen started.  I returned this afternoon to check on the child, and sadly learned that she died an hour after I left.  I do not think anyone ever gets used to the death, especially in children.  

Tomorrow the sun will rise and we will try to help those we can.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010


After working a couple of days at the hospital a couple things have been obvious to me. There appears to be more HIV patients here than in 2004 but I think that is because of the good job they are doing with it here. The stigma of diagnosis has dramatically lessened and therefore more people are being tested including all pregnant women. Project HOPE has increased in size and scope with education and dealing with all the issues around HIV. There have large numbers of patients seen daily for their routine follow-ups and most are looking and doing well. Unfortunately Malaria still has a large presence and Project Hope is now including Malaria prevention in their work.

We were welcomed at our first Sunday Mass, a seemingly short 2 1/2 hour celebration, with 5 priests concelebrating. They were there for a local Njinikom girl who had received her final vows in Rome. We are off to meet the Bishop in Bamenda tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Safe and Tired

We arrived here to an escort of young men and native instrument band escort for the last half mile.  The house we are living in is right in front of the one being built for us.  This one has 3 bedrooms/2 baths--hot shower, and 2 housekeepers/cooks/laundresses!!!

We love all of you so much. 

Signing off for now, God Bless All of you!