Sunday, November 27, 2011

life lesson #234

I just remembered this is a good lesson I learned the other day. So...I was trying to drive to Tororo to meet with a couple (ugandan wife and kenyan husband) who are passionate about missions and business. Tororo is about 95miles away from Soroti, so hypothetically, if one was driving at 70mph on a good road it would take just over an hour and a half to get there. But because of the state of the road it takes at least two hours just to get to mbale which is only around 65 miles away, then you have the other 30 miles beyond that. So, I had started the journey early knowing I wanted to spend as much time with these people as possible that day. I left soroti by 6:45am and after driving for around 40 minutes, the oil light started coming on so I stopped and called the mechanic (i had just picked the car up from him the day before!) and he suggested I come back and not continue on my journey. So i brought him the car and he dropped me on the side of the road at the far end of town to wait for public transport.
There are three main options for public transport from soroti to mbale and tororo. One is a taxi, aka a matatu, aka a van licensed to carry 14 passengers but usually pack in at least 20, aka death trap. Two, a bus, aka big bull in a china shop, doesn't seem necessary to slow down for any bumps, and doesn't mind running people off the road cuz they're bigger than every one else. Three, the back of an overloaded truck, not really an option for me, i've seen too many of them broken down on the side of the road, or rolled over in the ditch...Anyway, I met a man along the road who said he was a broker, whatever that means, and he informed me there was a bus coming soon that was going through Tororo to kampala and that would be my best option for getting there. I knew of this bus, called Post Bus, i'd often wondered at it's bright red paint and the newness look it had to it, thinking it was the best of all the buses that i'd seen (at least externally speaking), so I was happy to think that i might be able to catch that one and cruise on down to Tororo in style and comfort and in a timely manner. I waited for a while, i don't know how long really, maybe twenty minutes, but it seemed long (one man had already asked me to buy him water and suggested that I marry the broker, i suggested he could sell his nice shoes if he wanted water that bad, and I said I wasn't interested in the broker, he said he would sell me one shoe for 10,000, 4$), and i wondered if this bus was really coming. I had watched several taxi's come and go, and up to now i had resisted the temptation to just board a taxi and get crammed in the back with the other victims, or passengers, as they call them here. No taxi would go straight through to Tororo, all would stop in Mbale and then i would have to get another taxi from there. But as i waited the idea started sounding better and better. The man insisted the bus was coming, but i've learned through life experience here that, "it's coming" can mean in a few minutes or in a few hours depends on the person's perspective and general up-bringing perhaps. anyway, so finally when the third taxi came i decided to board and quit the waiting game. I boarded a half full taxi, which was my first mistake, after picking me they immediately headed in the opposite direction that i wanted to go, back into town, to pick more passengers, they wouldn't leave Soroti until we had at least 20 people crammed into that thing. And as we headed back into town, i bet you'll never guess what happened...yup...the beautiful, luxurious, bright and shiny red Post bus comes cruising down the road in the opposite direction. And I was trapped, i complained, i whined a bit, but when it came right down to it, there was nothing I could do. I had chosen my fate and had to suffer the consequences. So after the taxi wandered around town for a while we finally filled up and headed out, after about a half hour drive we had to stop just before a bridge and wait for about a half hour as construction machines were blocking the road. And of course I noticed that the Post bus had made it across the bridge before they blocked it. To say the least I was annoyed. I tried to have a good attitude, and what, but i could only keep seeing that bright shiny post bus cruising down the road, picturing myself comfortable and high above the ground, barely feeling the bumps. Then I would get jarred back to reality, by the crying baby and three other women in my row and the lack of shocks on this particular vehicle. The story continues, but I think by now you get the point. It took 5 hours to reach my final destination in tororo. it's hard to describe the smells, the heat, the bumps, the overloadedness, but try to use your imagination.
so...Let's apply to our lives now. How many times have we heard God say, "wait, I'm coming" and we wait for a while, but then think that we have a better way, a quicker solution, a more profitable idea, and we jump on that, only to find out it's leading us in the opposite direction. Oh to think if we could have just waited 5 minutes longer, or 5 days, or months, or years...whatever the time. What have we missed because we thought we were wiser than the One who knows us, our pasts, presents and futures. I eventually got to Tororo, but it took a lot longer and i suffered along the way. I thank you Lord for your grace that allows us to mess up, to doubt, to head in the wrong direction and yet you still pursue us, still call us back to Your self and still help us get to where you want us to be. Lord, help us to wait trusting You, and that you have good motives and good intentions for our waiting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

new life

I suppose before i forget i should begin sharing another great experience that i've had at the main hospital maternity ward. After my experience there last year I should have been more prepared for what I would see/experience, and yet still somehow I was caught off guard. This time it was the sister to my ms.l.m friend N from the market. This is S's 8th delivery so she's done it a few times. She had bled long into her pregnancy and so her sister and cousins would joke around with her saying she'd been pregnant for something like 2 years, (it sounds like something like 15 months actually) I don't really know how it's possible or understand it completely, but all I know is what they tell me. Anyway, she's a bit old to be producing, in her 40's, and her last baby was born with the heart in the wrong place and died at birth. So, she'd been asking for prayers for a long time from me, even though I pray in the name of Jesus she doesn't seem to mind so long as I'm praying. When I came to the hospital I found her in the labor room, this is three beds in a room with one incubator for all of the babies. I found S suffering on one of those labor beds. the lady in the bed next to her had just finished pushing out her baby, but S had been told that her baby is stuck sideways and she'll have to go for c-section surgery if the baby hadn't turned by 2pm. So i came around 3pm and found they still hadn't taken her for surgery yet. They said they were waiting for the doctor who was currently in surgery with someone else. It's better if you don't have your baby on a saturday and I hear Sunday is even worse. They told her not to push, so every few minutes she would cry out in pain and try not to push, grabbing the nearest person to her and holding on. In this labor ward, as soon as you're getting on a bed to deliver you strip down completely and you'd better be ready to deliver, they don't have time for you to waste a bed when the head's not practically crowning already. I found when i got there that even the overflow room of three delivery beds was full, and i saw a young woman seated on the cement ground next to S's bed. I asked N if it was one of her relatives or what, she told me that no she was a patient. She was just sitting down and eventually i saw her get up and walk out of the ward, with blood on the back of her skirt. I didn't ever figure out what had happened with her, or if she ever got treatment or not. It's good that S did not deliver at this time as the one incubator already had four babies in it. I don't know if there was room for any more at that time...
Eventually the nurse told us we could move our patient to the theatre, or operation room. So N went and got the trolly and pulled it in the room and she and a couple of cousins helped put S onto the trolly. Her bed was immediately taken over by the next victim, i mean patient...As we pushed her out into the hall, the nurse said we had to wait for her to take us to the theatre, but that she had an emergency case just come in the door so be patient. I watched as two people struggled to lift a very pregnant lady from the ground and carry her into the labor room. So we rolled our patient on the only mostly operational trolly into the middle of the hallway in a room with about twenty beds and forty people. And there we waited. I don't know how long we waited, but it seemed like forever, many contractions, and our poor patient was hot on top and her feet and legs were so cold. And I was about to try to find the theatre myself. I just kept praying life and health over this woman and her baby. Eventually someone else came and showed us the way to the theatre. It's outside down this sidewalk, and then turn to the other side walk then around this building and up the ramp and back to the other side. From there we still waited as they were still organizing from the previous operation. As we waited we began talking with the anesthesiologist, at least that's my best guess as to what his role was in the operation. He said he wanted me to bring him a bible. I said I could try but could not promise. He then asked if I wanted to come in for the operation, I said, yes, I was hoping I could enter, he asked if I would pass out, I said no. We waited a while longer, the family shifted our patient to another trolly, and then on to a metal trolly and then finally they rolled her into the operation room. I quickly suited up, white gum boots, and green scrubs, mask and hat. Once we got her in the operation room, she again had to be put on yet another bed. The anesthesiologist gave her some drug and then put down the breathing tube and started hand pumping this accordian-looking thing and when he plugged in the machine it made the lights go out, but a little shake of the cord and it came right back. She was out quickly and they began to work, cutting her open, and then digging in, trying to find the baby, first i saw a hand, which the surgeon put back in, then a foot, finally, the head and out he pulled her. She whimpered a little and then they cut the cord with her hanging mostly upside down, then the midwife took her and began working on her, sucking out the junk from the mouth. At one point i looked over at the baby and she wasn't really breathing, just laying there and the midwife was pumping some oxygen into her and then kinda hitting her on the ribs from the side. and i was like, oh no, and then i looked over at S and blood started shooting out from one side and i was like, oh no, and then he clamped it and got that bleeding under control and finally the baby started really crying and she was going to be ok. I kept speaking life and health in the name of Jesus. they pulled the uterus out and put it up on her belly and started stitching it back up, then put it back in and stitched up the other layers. as they were stitching the midwife and I brought the baby out to the relatives and they were happy, after a quick photo with the baby

N took her the long distance back to the one incubator. I went back into keep praying over and watching over S as they finished putting her back together. The crew was tired, they talked of gun shot victims from earlier in the day, and the anesthesiologist tried to wake up S as soon as he could. we washed all the blood off her, and eventually she was "awake" enough and we again shifted her to the metal trolly and rolled her out the door into the other room, where the family again shifted her to the other trolly, and proceeded to roll her outside in the rain back to her room, down the sidewalk on the mostly operating trolly.
We eventually reached back to her "room" which is shared with many other people, but at least they have some little money, so they were able to pay for the expensive annex, at the equivalent of 2$ a day. it's a room with only 8 beds, but they are separated by twos, with curtains, so they're almost mostly private...from there the family shifted her again finally to her bed where she proceeded to sleep for some time. As she was coming in and out she began shouting in arabic that Allah is great. over and over. At first the IV wasn't working but after an hour or so the nurse finally got around to coming to get it working, having to switch the IV hand. Wow, i'm tired just reliving this story. Anyway, there's more to come in future, but that is the gist of it. Oh yeah, the baby is too cute, she weighed something like 3.7 kilos, an 8 pound baby, so that's a pretty good sized baby, and rightfully so, being in the womb for as long as she was. And they're calling her smaller Rebecca...not really sure that's a ms.l.m name, but i think it might stick... and a few photos from today, smaller rebecca is now 2 days old...