Tuesday, May 28, 2013


3 year old Hapsatou was in the hospital last week with pneumonia.  Pneumonia, along with Malaria and Diarrhea illnesses, account for most of our Pediatric admissions to the hospital.

Hapsatou was quite ill with high fever when she arrived but recovered quickly with 2 days of IV fluids and antibiotics.  What was unique about her stay was that her father was her caregiver.  In Cameroon it usually is the mother or grandmother who stays with a child.  One could tell that Hapsatou and her father had a very loving relationship.  They both had big smiles on their faces when she was well enough to go home.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I don’t know what it is.  It could be with our mission coming to a close, my eyes are open wider, not wanting to miss anything.  It surely seems that each and every day another miracle is just there—to be seen, to be shared, and to be savored for the gift it is.

I haven’t told you about Romaric.  I was a bit of a doubting Thomas and I was sure that he couldn’t survive.  And then I remember....God is good....All the time!

Romaric is a little six year old boy.  He was brought in after five days of a very high fever.  His little body was rigidly held in the shape of a lightning bolt.  His neck was arched.  He only responded to the pain when Jim tried to move his head.

We did a spinal tap immediately.  When Jim and Dymphyna, the medical student saw the pus coming out of his spinal column, they both paused.  They knew that the lab results were not going to be good.  And they were correct.  Romaric had bacterial meningitis.  He was a very sick little boy.

Of course, there were other lab tests that also needed to be done.  Hopefully they would come out normal and the little guy would have a fighting chance.  That was not to be the case.  It seemed that test results just came one bad result after another.  In addition, to the meningitis, his malaria test was positive.  Then he was diagnosed with sickle cell.

So poor Romaric had meningitis, malaria, sickle cell crisis, and oh yes, he was severely anemic.  His hemoglobin was only 4.3.  With an assessment list like that, clearly the odds were against Romaric.

It has now been eight days.  Each day he has seemed slightly better.  

Really the only noticeable change until a couple of days ago was that he seemed to be in less pain.

And then today, we walked into the pediatric ward to see Romaric standing at the side of his bed eating a puff-puff.  Unbelievable!  No Miraculous!

All the time....God is good!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Twin B

1 month ago premature twins were born, weighing 3 and 4 pounds respectively.  The smaller one was the second twin which is normally the case.  Big brother also took most of the blood from the placenta as Twin B was noticeably paler.  Both babies did well for a few days then they both developed fevers.  The nurses felt it was just the incubators overheating but I placed both babies on antibiotics.  The next morning we surprised to find that the larger baby had died during the night.  Little Twin B was slow to gain weight but has continued to look good.  He just finished a second 10 day course of antibiotics after developing fever again last week.  This morning he topped the scales at 3 and 3/4 pounds.  His mother mourns for the loss of his brother but is overjoyed with his steady growth.  We are cautiously optimistic that he will continue to do well.

Monday, May 6, 2013


6 year old Zidan arrived at the hospital 10 days ago.  He had pneumonia and he looked like he was 3 years old instead of 6.  He had classic signs of Kwashiorkor(protein malnutrition) with a big belly, swollen hands and feet with sparse, fine hair.  We were not surprised that his HIV test was positive.  It was clear by looking at him that he did not feel well.  The presence of a white doctor who did not speak his language was not a comfort to him.  After a few days of increased protein intake and treating his pneumonia his fear of me gradually diminished.  A few days ago I was finally able to get a small smile from him.  Zidan was discharged today and while I likely will never see him again I will always remember the reluctant goodbye wave he gave me with a small smile.