Sunday, June 23, 2013

Roanoke Times article - I'm in the paper!

I made it in the newspaper since high school probably - you know those tiny 3 lines in the sports section where the high school girls basketball scores are kept:  "Glenvar: Waldron: 4 points"  (everyone else always had more points ;) )

Ok, so I have some exciting news to share…might as well get it out there because it hit the printing presses yesterday ( – I will be returning to the Africa Mercy while it is in the Congo!!  I did not feel like my time was done, and indeed it isn’t – originally (as of May) I was going to head there from December thru the end of the field service (end of May/beg of June), but now I’m getting there before the field service actually begins – just a few days after returning from Kwaj I will be flying to the Congo.  WOW, traveling probably 2/3 the globe in 4-5 days. 

I’m a little nervous about this, yet excited at what arriving in the Congo at that time means.  I will get to participate in the massive screening that takes place before any surgeries start to ascertain which prospective patients are candidates for surgery.  My role will be with the rehab team to help decide who will possibly have surgery – it does not appear the ortho surgeon will be there, so Nick, myself, and the other therapists will basically be deciding that.  WOW, what an awesome, scary responsibility… to look into a mother’s or child’s eyes and say, “Hey, we can help you”, or “I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do for you” 

Last year, the Guinea screening had about 3400 potential patients to screen in 1 day – lasting from before sunrise to 9 pm.  About 850 people were given cards for follow up care of some type at that point (other, much smaller screening days are occasionally held throughout the year – lots of eye screening days, I got to participate in a plastics screening day, etc).  The probable date for the Congo screening will be Aug 27, 28, or 29.  I will be arriving in Congo Aug 25. 

I am very excited about the opportunity to see patients throughout the whole continuum of care, particularly the ortho patients!  J  And maybe get to sit in on a surgery or two.  There will be one 6 week round of ortho, and 2 6 week rounds of plastics surgeries.  These will be the most heavily PT invested groups of surgeries.  The first round of plastics will basically start the next week after the screening, ortho in October, and the next round of plastics in January.  Other types of surgeries will be maxillofacial, general (hernia repairs, goiters, tumor removal, etc), VVF (women’s health), and eye surgeries.

P.S.  If you read the newspaper article, just wanted everyone to know that I have absolutely nothing against 1 week mission trips - I've been on 4 myself and think there is some amazing work God usually does on our own hearts when we get in a space outside our norm, as well as touch other people's lives in the process.  But I know that God allows us to be a part of His plan, and often that involves relationships (and medical care ;) ) that may take a long time to develop.  So thankful for the people that dedicate many years to following God's direction to cultures different than their own in hopes of sharing how our relational God works through the relationships they develop, often requiring so much perseverance and time.
Also, one other little note - "Abe" was seen in outpatient by Mercy Ships, not at a local clinic, so I got to work with him several times a week as an outpatient before I left, and then the other therapists continued, as well as working with Faya on how to continue to challenge "Abe" to keep improving his physical capabilities.  (When I left mid April, he could run a little for short distances, and walk without holding onto anything (though I was probably a little overprotective still and held on to the tail of the gait belt... ;) ) )