Thursday, May 31, 2012


39 year old Innocence came into the OPD on Monday complaining of abdominal and leg swelling of a month’s duration.  Examination revealed multiple hard nodules throughout his abdomen, enlarged lymph nodes everywhere and extremely swollen legs.  I explained to Innocence that he likely had widespread cancer but biopsy was needed to confirm this.  I referred him to nearby Mbingo Hospital for the biopsy but he was very hesitant to go because of the anticipated cost.  Still with a smile on his face he told me “this will be my HIV.”  Since he had recently had a negative HIV test I asked him what he meant.  He replied “surely this will kill me the same as HIV would”.  Like many of our patients with cancer or cardiac problems, he will likely not go for further care as he financially is unable to afford it.  Accepting that we can not do everything for every patient here can be difficult at times.  I have to trust that God has me here to help where I can with the resources available.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jim and Rose

Dr Jim Unger and his wife Rose are our first repeat short-term Mission Doctor couple.  Jim is an OB-GYN from Shreveport, Louisiana and he and Rose were here last April.  They made an even bigger commitment this year returning for 3 months.  They spent April at Padre Pio Hospital in Douala covering for the OB-GYN while he took his yearly holiday.  Padre Pio is a very busy hospital serving the people in the poorest area of Douala which is home to 5 million people.  They average 300 deliveries per month at Padre Pio which kept Jim extremely busy.  He did 8 Caesarian sections in a single 24 hour period.

Rose and Jim at work
Jim and Rose were happy to leave a hot and humid Douala in May and return to Njinikon in the mountains of the NW Province.  Their presence has allowed Dr Dabo (OB-GYN) to take his first holiday in 2 years.  Rose is a trained surgical nurse so she has been working as Jim’s Nurse.  She is enjoying her time back in the OR after being away from it for many years, 
 raising their 3 daughters.  Terry and I have enjoyed renewing our friendship with Jim and Rose.  We have had some spirited card games with them many evenings.
Terry left for her holiday last weekend.  She was anxious to meet our new grandson Andrew back in Washington state.  I will be joining her in a month’s time and until then Rose will watching over the 2 remaining Dr Jims.  It will be nice to have them here for the up coming month.  Their daughter Marcia is finishing her 2nd year of medical school at LSU and will be here for 2 weeks in mid June.  We are all looking forward to her arrival.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Christina is an 84 year old lady who was brought to the hospital last week by her daughter.  She reported that her mother had been falling frequently the prior 10 days.  The evening before admission she collapsed and was not arousable.  Christina had suffered a stroke and had already developed large pressure sores on her buttocks.  Her family was informed that her prognosis was poor but we would provide supportive care.  After 2 days Christina began to wake up but was very confused and weak.  The last 2 days she gradually had less confusion.  This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find Christina sitting in a chair while the nurses were changing her bed linens.  She asked her Granddaughter to greet me for her as she did not speak English.  I am sure many prayers had been offered for Christina’s recovery by her family and friends the last week.  I am humbled to have witnessed her Miraculous recovery.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


 Petra is the Charge(Head) Nurse on the Medical Ward.  If there was Head of Nursing in the Hospital Petra would surely be that person.  She runs a tight ship yet has cultivated a team spirit among the staff.  She is well respected by everyone.
Petra was born and raised in Njinikom.  After completing secondary school she went to Bamenda for her Nursing Diploma.  Since 2003 she has been working at St Martin de Porres Hospital.  She married her husband Nestor in 2004.  Nestor also is a nurse at the Hospital.  Since last August Nestor has been enrolled in a 1 year Physician Assistant program at near by Mbingo Hospital.  He completes his studies this summer and then will return to work here.  Petra and Nestor have 4 children.  They are the most well behaved children I have ever seen in Church.  I think Petra runs a tight ship at their home also.
Despite all her duties as a Charge Nurse, wife and mother Petra finds time do hairdressing and embroidery.  She also is involved in native dancing at the various hospital and community functions.
Petra would like to return to school in the future to pursue certification in Pediatric or Public Health Nursing.  She would utilize those skills here in Njinikom.  Petra will continue to be a model employee at the hospital for many years to come.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Eucharia is a 45 year old lady I have seen on numerous occasions the last year.  She has an engaging smile and a unassuming attitude.  Childhood Rheumatic Fever damaged her heart valves.  As her valves worsened with age, she developed Congestive Heart Failure which caused her to be admitted to the hospital several times the last year.  She was referred to the Cardiac Center in Shisong, one of the few hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa offering cardiac surgery.  Unfortunately the $7000 price tag for the recommended surgery to repair her heart valves was not feasible for her family.  She was having difficulty paying for her daily medications so she would skip her medications some days trying trying to make them last longer.  This strategy only worsened her condition.  Last month I was able to use Donor money to purchase her medications.  Despite her medications, her heart continued to worsen and she was admitted last week again.  Her weakened heart could not pump her blood well enough and fluid backed up in her lungs, abdomen and legs.  I drained fluid from her chest and abdomen trying to give her lungs more room to expand.  Despite our efforts and her strong will to live, her heart finally gave out yesterday morning.  Keep Eucharia and her family in your prayers this week.