Pesticides are commonly used around here. Sometimes they are taken out of their original bottle and put into an unmarked bottle.
Yesterday Nathan admitted a patient that is a member of one of the local Nazarene churches. Mr. J had been out working, was thirsty and grabbed what he thought was water. Instead it was pesticide. I won’t detail what this does to a body, but it is quite painful and often times fatal. It can take nearly a week before the person passes away. We don’t know what the outcome will be for Mr. J. Please pray for him and his family as the doctors are doing their best to help him. Pray for wisdom for the doctors.
Watering a garden from city water in Oregon can get spendy. As Nathan planned out our garden while in the States, he always did so with the goal of getting the most out of every drop. He had hoped to one day make a rain collection barrel to catch the water flowing off the roof. That way he’d always have a good supply of water at an affordable price.
Our house here in PNG has not one but two water collection tanks. The clouds do a good job of watering the garden, though, so all of this water is for household use. The water collected is used to wash dishes and clothes, flush toilets, clean hands, take showers and cook. We use it for drinking, too, put filter it first.
In the picture you can see the giant green tank to the left and there’s a matching one on the other side of the house. Throughout the rainy season there is plenty of water to use, but a couple of years ago, during a drought, people had to be careful to watch the water level in their tanks.
On top of the house is the hot water heater with a solar panel attached. On sunny days there is piping hot water readily available and for cloudy days a button inside the bathroom turns on an electric heater to provide hot water.
“Quick! Get a jar! I found a mole cricket!” I heard my bug girl call from outside the kitchen. Surely, this was a name she came up with on her own. Bug boy was quick to respond to the call and the critter was soon tucked away inside the first available bug jar. (I think they must practice their response time).
After inquiring about this new name, I was assured that in fact there really was a bug called a mole cricket. They read it in a book. A quick Google search showed this was indeed true and the one they had caught looked just like the pictures.
The bug jar was soon filled with dirt and then the real fun of a mole cricket began.
“Mom! Quick, come look at this!” I’d walk over to see the dirt moving from one side to the other as it tunneled underground. Occasionally it would tunnel along the side of the container so they could watch it go deeper.
A few days later it could no longer be found and the kids assumed it had died. They went outside to dump out the dirt, but there it was, alive and well, buried far from the surface and away from curious little hands.
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon as I strolled in the front door of our ER. At a glance I was able to survey the large white brick room with its 7 beds. About half the beds were full at the time which is fairly common.
I had come at the request of the nursing officer to evaluate several patients. Bed six had an 8 year old little girl. I grabbed her chart and headed over. Her big brown eyes showed fear as I approached. She looked very ill, dehydrated, and uncomfortable lying on the exam table. I began talking to her parents trying to determine what had brought them to the emergency room. She had a fever, diarrhea, and vomiting for several days. It was an easy call to admit her to the pediatric ward for antibiotics and IV fluids to treat her Typhoid.
While fever, diarrhea and vomiting are not fun to suffer through in the United States, in the developing world death from dehydration secondary to diarrhea and vomiting is a very real concern. With recognition and treatment lives can be saved.
I finished my call early Sunday morning. Then, around 10:30AM, my family and I made our way back to the hospital for church. We were joining other missionaries to do an outreach Sunday service on several of the wards. I walked onto A ward with my baby girl strapped on my back and holding the hand of my little guy.
As my eyes scanned the room, there was the little girl I admitted. She was sitting up in bed with a huge smile across her face, her eyes popping with joy and cheerfully waving when she recognized me. A very different little girl than the night before. Because she was able to receive medical care here at Nazarene Hospital, she will make a full recovery.
Just a few days after arriving here the Goossen family was well aware of our love of bugs. They found this creature at their house, put him in a box and brought him over. While trying to look at him and get a picture, he started fluttering around our house, finally landing on the wall. Bug boy careful laid his hand next to it, to help give idea of its size. After the photo op the kids let him go outside where he decided to rest on the screen outside the kitchen window for awhile before going on his way.
The end of March I was on the Internal Medicine ward with Dr. Bill McCoy and Dr. Erin Meier. Erin walked on the ward a few minutes after Bill and I had started to review our patients. She was preparing to go home for 3 months of home assignment. Erin asked if any of the patients would like to send a thank you to those in the USA who pray for our work and help partner with the hospital. Hands went up all over the ward as patients and staff eagerly jumped at the chance to say thank you to all of you for your prayers and support. Here are just few face.
The best I can tell, this butterfly is a papilio ulysses or Blue Mountain Swallowtail. The big boys and I were out for a walk and saw it flitting around the Thompson’s driveway, barely sitting still long enough for a picture. I told it that resting for a moment so I could get a picture would be a lovely thing to do. When it started to fly off, I let it know that there were still many flowers along the driveway it had not yet visited. It briefly came back and then flew off in the other direction. “Come back,” I called, but my boys informed me that it probably was gone for good this time. They didn’t seem to think it strange to follow me up and down the driveway while talking to a butterfly. But it may have seemed odd to the security guard sitting down the road . . .
The oldest three kids have been exploring the station with their friends and frequently come home insisting we accompany them to see the latest discovery. The most recent outing we went on was to a garden area. At first they called it the prayer garden and then the secret garden. I’m not sure if has an official name, but it is beautiful whatever it’s called.
There were two ways to the garden . . . two ways if you’re a child. After some debate they decided we would get to the gardens by way of the stairs. It’s a somewhat steep climb down, but lined with banana trees on one side and flowers and bushes of different sorts on the other.
Rock paths meander throughout the main part of the garden and on the other side of one fence is a big white cow. It was quite important that we see the cow, but he was a bit hard to get a picture of.
And instead of dainty potted plants, the poinsettias are beautiful bushes.
We had company bringing us dinner that night, so it was soon time to head home. Since we entered the garden by way of the stairs it was decided that we needed to exit through the other path.
“Wait a minute,” I said as our pikinini (children) started climbing over a metal fence. “How hard is this path to climb?”
“Oh, it’s not bad,” they assured me. And they would have been right . . . had I been two feet shorter, not juggling a baby on one hip and been part billy goat. Not bad at all. But, we made it over the fallen down banana trees, up the slippery mud slope and to the top of the hill (slightly out of breath) without (much) incident. The view on top was beautiful. It’s what all our friends on the other side of the station see out their windows everyday. Everywhere on station has beautiful views, whether looking out over a valley like this or the amazing vegetation that surrounds everyday life.
We will see what other discoveries the kids will show us next.
It was their cousins that first got the kids interested in preying mantises. Last summer the cousins brought one as a gift and we watched it for quite a long time. It ended up being a female and laying an egg case. That brought all kinds of excitement to the house! After that, my bug boy found them all all over place, which was amazing. They were little brown creatures sitting quietly in brown grass and he still spotted them.
This one he’s holding was found here in PNG.
Preying mantises are in abundant supply in PNG. The heads seem to be smaller than the ones that the kids caught in the States and they like to randomly jump. I may or may not have squealed when the little one below jumped at me while taking the picture. And I may have made the baby cry. It was just so surprising to see him jump at the camera. So anyway . . .
It was important for the cousins to see this spot on the leg of the mantis, especially since the oldest cousin is somewhat of a mantis expert. Do you know what this spot means SW?
And while I tried to get a side shot of this tiny one, he kept following the camera round, keeping a close eye on it. I was waiting for it to jump at me too.
I walked briskly up the dark gravel road dodging mud puddles heading toward the hospital from our home. My mind was racing over the scenarios I would find on arrival at B ward. Minutes before I had received a phone call asking me to come quickly to the internal medicine ward, they were doing CPR on a patient and needed me. There really is only one way to prepare for this kind of emergency, to pray. My pace did not slow down but my mind calmed as I talked with God With 50 feet left to my destination I could hear the loud wails and knew there was nothing more I could do, the patient had passed away.
I slackened my pace and calmly walked onto the medicine ward. One of the nursing staff met me at the door and filled me in on what had happened. Mrs. K, 70y/o female, was admitted earlier that day for an obstructed small bowel. She then aspirated and fell into respiratory failure and the staff had valiantly attempted CPR. Despite their care she slipped away. Would I talk to the family please?
After briefly reviewing her chart I met with the family and explained what had happened to their mother. Next I asked the family if Mrs K had give her life to Christ and trusted him. There were affirmative nods all round the large group gathered round her bed. We talked about how we were sad she had passed away but glad she was now with Christ and that she had no more sickness, or pain, and was happy in the presence of Christ. My heart ached for the family’s loss. They had not had time to say goodbye given the sudden parting of there mother. In PNG culture it is very important to say good bye and mend any hurts. I then prayed with the family in Pidgin and English.
I left the family, signed the death certificate and left the hospital with a heavy heart. As I walked home alone down the dark road I continued to wrestle with the events of the last half hour. I didn’t know Mrs. K, but it still hurts to lose someone under your care.
After completing my night’s work I had some time off the next morning. I was listening to Matt Maher’s song Christ is Risen and reflecting on Mrs K’s story.
Christ is risen from the dead,
We are one with Him again,
Come awake, Come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory,
O church, come stand in the light,
Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive!
O death, where is your sting? The heaviness was replaced with joy. In the midst of pain and death, there is hope. Our God is not dead, he is alive! He’s Alive! Happy Easter.