Thursday, February 5, 2015

Never In My Dreams!

Another surgical challenge for Dr. Muballe
I was a step or two behind the best orthopedic surgeon in Uganda ... maybe all of Africa.  He had just come from the operating room. Glancing over his shoulder, with a small head shake, he said, "The cases you bring me Paul ... I should write a book."

"You should!  You are a great teacher," I responded.

Jowet had lived with a sinus wound on the bottom of his right heel for four years.  It began when he was just 10 years old.  Now he didn't even feel pain though the wound hadn't healed in all those years.  Xrays revealed that he had osteomyelitis ... a bone infection caused by bacteria or other germs. It is a dangerous infection, difficult to get rid of, and it often returns after temporary success.

As I sit, stand, and move around within the confines of the International Hospital Kampala, greeting friends employed there from every strata of responsibility, I was moved to wonder.  How on earth did I get here?  I'm involved in some serious medical cases and have worked with Dr. Muballe, and other surgeons as well on them, but it was NEVER in my dreams for this to happen.

9 year old Emma, from a boys home,
had a testicle removed
because it was in the wrong place
I attended high school on the Oregon Coast of the United States of America.  A LONG time ago.  Back in the last century.  During the 60's.  In those days, students were given what was called Aptitude Tests.  They were administered in an effort to help the students prepare for life after their secondary education ... directing them to continue at college with a hint at what may be their major, join the military, apprentice, whatever they had an aptitude for. One of the categories on that test was in the medical field.  My answers never even qualified me to reach a zero on the aptitude evaluation!

So ... how did I end up here, a 68 year old man, 10,000 miles from Oregon, familiar with many medical facilities and medical professionals?  And ... most amazing of all ... loving it!

I suspect the short answer is Jesus.  That guy can change a person in unexpected ways.  A love for people was deposited in me over the last four decades.  A love so significant, so supernatural, that it propelled me right into the field of medicine.  If people I love have medical issues, those issues become my issues as well.

Kityo well into rehabilitation of his leg
We have had medical professions come from several of the United States, but the team that always leaves Uganda with the comment, "We are coming back.  We have unfinished business," is the team that comes from Oklahoma.  Occasionally returning to Uganda within six months, they always make at two week medical mission at least once a year.  When they find major surgical needs they leave funds for me to administer in order for those surgeries to be accomplished.

This year, when the Medical Team arrived, I was in the middle of caring for Kityo, a victim of a car crash that left him with a compound fracture of the femur and no hope of surgery.  Without the surgery, Kityo would have died at worse or lost his leg at best. Today the leg has a titanium rod in it, the wounds are healed, and he is making progress toward walking without the aid of crutches.

The team left me with three cases the end of January:
Olivia and her caregiver Rose
Emma who had a testicle which had never dropped to where it was suppose to, which would most likely lead to a deathly cancer after puberty it is was not removed 
Jowet, mentioned earlier who had surgery yesterday, and will need for the wounds to be irrigated with antibiotics for a minimum of seven to ten days 
Olivia, paralyzed from the waist down, and who has serious wounds on each buttock who is in her second week of nursing care to get the infection under control and absent from the wounds so that she is able to have surgery to close them
The impact these otherwise undone surgeries have on the patients, family, and friends is unable to be measured.  But, one thing is for sure, they all know that it was God's love that provided for them.

Enjoy the short video Ezra, the Media Guy of Next Generation Ministries, produced to capture the work of the Medical Team from Oklahoma.


  1. someone shared the story of the starfish with me a couple years ago. thousands of starfish had washed up on the beach and were dying. a little girl was walking among them and picking one up and throwing it back into the ocean, and then would do it again. someone came up to her and said, "there are thousands dying all around you what does it matter what you are doing?" the little girl looked at the person and said "it matters to that one". your stories reminded me of that.

    1. Wow! Thanks Karen. That is very encouraging. I'll keep writing them if you keep reading them!

  2. If there is breath in me, we will be back. So much to do and so little time. They have blessed us, much more than we could have ever blessed them. It has been a privilege to be there. I count the days until I see Peter, Paul, Pam, Ezra, Chris, and so many others, once again.

    Soon, we will continue this journey. Looking forward to it!!!

    1. Sorry, I didn't sign this.

      (Linda and I send our love and respect for what you do)

    2. Thanks Dr. Klinger. We look forward to the next mission and the impact that it will make here in Uganda. I wish more people from the West could accompany you on these missions. There is so much more that goes on during the course of two weeks than simply administering medicines and treatment. I love the justice, mercy, poverty, and short term mission issues that we discuss. I hope you can share the video with many.

    3. We will try to download and play this for the FMBC. If we can get this on disc, we might be able to play it in Bovina, Friona, and many other places in Texas and Oklahoma. You know there are those that look for any excuse to not commit, and not come there. I used to be one of them. They are not bad, but, just can't see, yet. All of this will be an ongoing project.

      The need and solutions will surpass the time that we are physically able to be there. The only potential end point will be the Second Coming. This is another reason to share what we know with "the next generation".

      So many difficulties to deal with on this side. I hope the "battery recharge" I experienced there can hold me until next time. I feel that part of me remains behind each time and that is what gets me through the bad days on this side. I don't miss the bugs, dust, smoke, spiritual warfare, etc,. etc,. but I do miss my brothers and sisters in Christ. I might be a poor conduit to explain this to the others that are like I used to be, but that might be part of the mission as well. We shall see. I'm still learning.

      With love from Oklahoma/Texas

    4. Thanks for your transparency Doc. We have the video in my Dropbox and anyone who has Dropbox should be able to get the video and download it from there. That was the best way we knew of to move such a large file from here to there.

      Looking forward to your return.

    5. I must compliment the overall product, but especially, the editing. Ezra did a great job with this. It was played for the entire church this last sunday. It was big. I have received many questions from people that would like to "try this". We shall see.

      Wish I were there, (really, just got out of City council meeting)


Please share your comments here.