Thursday, March 10, 2016

Access Provides Opportunity

Open-ended ... meaning having no determined limit or boundaries.

Vicky with Immaculate waiting to have baby scanned
Though I am sometimes disappointed in relationships, my wife says, "You give people easy and complete access to you" hoping that a mutually beneficial relationship will emerge.

So ... here's the story:  This past Friday was one of those gratifying experiences as Vicky and I registered two pregnant ladies in the Pre-natal package offered by International Hospital Kampala.  Immaculate and Cecily are the latest women the NGM Maternal Advocacy Program adopted.  The prospect of the life giving process is such a positive encounter and commonly enjoyed by those associated with it.  Pregnancy is NOT a disease and the anticipation of it's result is pretty light hearted.

The registration of these two ladies took longer than we anticipated resulting in an early afternoon lunch.

That's when the phone call came ...

Junior, Brenda (age 14 in red shirt), and her mother
When we met them from the taxi
It was Junior ... whom I haven't heard from in a long time.  Plus I had just picked up my replaced iPhone from the authorized Apple dealer in Kampala two days prior.  And, it had been six weeks that my phone number had been inactive. But, there was a reason that all of this worked. Let me summarize!

Pam, Vicky, and I left Jinja at 7:30 AM in order to meet Immaculate and Cecily at the hospital. We had spent the better part of the day enrolling them in the Pre-natal Care Package.  We had just begun to eat our late lunch.  We were hoping to finish in time to begin the two hour drive back to Jinja and, hopefully, arrive before dark.  Now Junior was asking me if I could help with a medical emergency that would demand that I remain in Kampala to receive and assist the patient.  What would I do with Vicky and Pam if I remained?  I didn't feel like I could ask them to stay.  There was no telling how long this day would actually turn out to be for me.  It could be open-ended, but I couldn't request them to be the same.

Evaluation begins in ER with my friend Lydia
I told Junior I would call him back.  I hung up and told Pam I was about to set off on a path of adventure.  I just wasn't sure what to do with her and Vicky.  I turned and looked out the front window of the restaurant and was shocked to see a gray colored van pulling up to park in front.  Raoul Mugosa and Mukuki jumped out and headed for the front door of the restaurant.  You guessed it. They were headed back to Jinja after having some lunch!

After lunch I sent Pam and Vicky back to Jinja with Raoul while my driver and I arranged to meet the taxi coming to Kampala with Junior and his patient.

Junior was sitting in the same row of seats on the taxi as a young girl and her mother.  He was coming to Kampala to join his wife for a bible study that evening.  He overhead the mother talking on her cell phone.  The government hospital in Jinja had given up on Brenda,  who had not eaten anything in four days, but had consistently been vomiting ... even on the taxi as they traveled to Kampala.  The nurses had told Brenda that she was going to die and discharged her.

Brenda's first ultrasound at IHK
The mother was shedding tears in the taxi and Junior found himself also moved emotionally as he watched Brenda vomit and listened to the despair of the mother.  He attempted to call Pam, but got no answer.  Then he tried my newly activated phone number, without any knowledge that it had not been working for over six weeks, and told me the story. Could we possibly help this girl?  They were going to send her back to the village and he knew she would die from there.

I knew we had to at least make an attempt.  I had no confidence in the government hospital in Jinja.  I wanted to get a genuine diagnosis.  To see if we could save the girl's life.

My partner in the Good News sharing with Brenda's mother
I have not been able to reach this girl relationally yet.  The progress is slow.  Love is flowing to her and my prayer is that the love will knock the walls of resistance and secrecy down so that Brenda can feel the love that is flowing to her from Christ.

Brenda speaks and reads English, but she does not communicate with me. She does not smile.  But all of that makes sense to me.  Her father deserted her so he could take a younger wife than her mother.  She has been tossed back and forth between family members.  I'm convinced she is wounded, though not sure as to the nature of the wounds.  She has been told she is dying.  All of this, and more, can easily explain why she is withdrawn, cautious, and disconnected.

Ultrasound guided aspiration at Kampala Hospital
At the International Hospital Kampala, a full screening of her blood was done.  An ultra sound revealed abnormality in her liver which was the source of her pain.  A medically professional guess was that she may have an amebic liver abscess (infection) that IF untreated would be fatal.  However, treatment is available though IV and oral medication ... which she is now on.

A CT Scan was ordered and done the next day. When evaluated by several doctors it was suggested that she be referred to Kampala Hospital, after discharge on Tuesday, for an ultrasound guided aspiration of the fluid (pus) and tissue in the abnormal area for diagnosis.  This procedure was accomplished Tuesday and results will be available when I take Brenda back for follow up on Monday.  This should either confirm an abyss or a cancerous tumor.

Brenda & her mother who is HIV positive
Please join me in this effort to see Brenda's physical life saved so that she can sense the spiritual life that Jesus Christ is waiting to unleash on her.

I often refer to what I do in Africa as a boda boda man ... one of these guys who provides transportation on a small motor bike ... and that I'm just the driver for Jesus Christ.  I want to connect as many people to Him as I can while I'm in this country.  I've been attempting to deliver His grace and love to Brenda. That's why I am rather open-ended and give people access to me.  There is Someone so much greater, who resides in me, and people need Him.

Brenda consented to let me tell her story and she took my hand and quietly said "Thank you" as she got out of the vehicle to stay at home until Monday when she returns to see the doctor.

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