30 June 2013

Always a Bridesmaid: Hausa Style, Part I

Well . . . it's official!  B. & E. have tied the knot!

Yesterday, my trusty sidekick B. married my dearest Nigerien friend . . . and I not only had a front-row seat, I was invited into the ring for a few rounds.

There is something fascinating and enlightening about attending festivities from a culture different from one's own . . . to observe, learn and experience something new.  But there is a whole new level of enrichment that comes when participating!!

27 June 2013

This Is What Improv Looks Like

A month ago, a lady came to see me . . . she comes from a city four hours away from Galmi, and back in the fall, she had been evaluated by a visiting orthopedic surgeon who had written a script for OT.

Unfortunately, I was still in the US.

But word-of-mouth made it's way to her, and she came with the hope that something could be done.

24 June 2013

Thoughts on a Childless Mother

A woman came to my office today with some interesting neurologic symptoms.  In the half an hour I spent with her I was able to ask enough to get a little snapshot into her life . . . she lives in small village about an hour from our hospital.  She passes her day pounding millet, drawing water from the well and collecting firewood.

After I had finished my evaluation, we talked through some things she can be doing at home to help reduce the strain she places on her neck and spinal cord . . . such as not carrying anything on her head.  'Do you have any children or grandchildren who can transport these heavy loads for you?'

'No.' she said.

23 June 2013

When Helping Hurts

If the poor are among you . . . do not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but, instead, freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him what is sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks . . . for the poor will never cease to be among you; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand too your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'
Deuteronomy 15:7,8 & 10

Earlier this week, B. and I were walking through the Surgical Pavilion when he directed me to a semi-private room.  'You remember the patient who couldn't walk that we gave the wheelchair to . . . he's got pressure wounds.'

We came to the bed, but it was empty.  'No, B., he's in bed 1A, not 2A.'  'No, not that one . . . he's a different one . . . this is the one with Potts.'

21 June 2013

Niger in the News

This came across my desktop today.  We are not feeling the effects of the outages in Galmi, but when I was in Niamey two weeks ago the wahala was just beginning.  During Hot Season, power cuts are typically frequent and usually we all just adapt.  But we're talking two or three days at a time . . . with minutes on in between!  To my friends in the capital: Merit Badges coming your way!!

Read about how the lack of electricity in a major portion of the country will have deep and lasting effects on the whole nation of Niger here.

15 June 2013

The Comic Relief of Perspective

A two year old floppy baby was sent to see me this afternoon.  He had been born completely healthy, but after only four months of growing and thriving, a mosquito transmitted malaria to into his little body and the fever reeked havoc on his brain.  As a result, this sweet boy has lost all muscle control, unable to move his arms and legs or even hold his own head in a functional position.

Still sound asleep, Granny pulled him from her back and positioned him in her lap.  Like a rag doll he slumped into a little bundle.  It took a bit to arouse him from his slumber, but once awake, he was nothing but bright eyes and a wide smile.