Usually Saturdays around our clinic in East Africa are somewhat relaxing. Like most other small clinics, ours is closed and most people know that by now. Therefore we sometimes rest, read, do some maintenance at the house and clinic, or make village visits. But this Saturday was definitely different.
It started fairly early. At 6:45 one of employees called saying he was ready to travel and needed to see me. I went up to give him his transport money and say goodbye for the last time. He had been with us for a long time. It was difficult. After that, I talked to several of my friends around the clinic, and then returned home to eat and listen to BBC news on the radio. I found Michele giving a local child an injection of Quinine for serious malaria. We were encouraged that after the third injection, the child was better and was now moving on to syrup for medication.
Around 9 a.m. someone with a severe case of asthma showed up. Our nurse Agnes, who has great skill with asthmatics, and I went up to the clinic. The elderly patient was struggling to breathe and had fear in her eyes. Our doctor was away that Saturday, but our nurse did a wonderful job. After about an hour she was breathing normally and very happy and grateful. I believe that God was praised in this situation.
At 11 a.m. I received a call from a friend who had brought a very sick person to the clinic gate. This time Michele and I went. The woman was vomiting and in much pain. After an initial examination Michele turned to me and said, “Go get the car, NOW!” I obeyed, because of the look, TOV, and because I didn’t want another person to die or almost die in my car like a few days before. I asked Michele and Agnes to pray as we left, and in the car I asked God to help us to make it to the hospital on time. We were in town in 35 minutes where I delivered the patient to the regional hospital. They took her back quickly, and I left hoping and believing she would be okay.
I ate lunch in Tanga and returned slowly over the rough road. I did some computer work and mowed for 2 and half hours into the dark; we received a real American lawn mower in an ocean container a few months ago, and I use it in certain areas around the house and clinic. It was kind of fun, but I was tried. Michele prepared a great dinner and we went to sleep around 9:30.
It was at exactly 11 p.m. when I was awakened by a call from our night guard at the clinic. There was a pregnant woman at the gate. After finding out our on-call nurse midwife was out of town, it was decided that Michele, Agnes and I go up. Her condition however was very serious. She had tried to get a car to the closest hospital but failed and came here. Michele and Agnes examined her and decided she must be taken to the hospital (I was thinking, again!!!). This was the third emergency of the day. Michele, Agnes, the guard and the patient’s friend prayed for her while I ran for the car. Agnes thought it best to bring along a delivery kit though she was not due for 3 months. Then we were off again, this time at midnight on a very bad road in my 17 year old vehicle.
After 3 minutes in the car she started having severe pains, and I had to stop. One minute later in the back seat she gave birth. The baby just popped out still in the amniotic sac. Amazing! Michele and Agnes took charge and cared for the mother and baby right there in the car and on the dark road at 12 p.m. The whole ordeal was incredible to me. They did great under very difficult /dangerous circumstances. We quickly decided to take the anemic mother and premature baby on to the hospital for treatment. The road was terrible, but we arrived safely and checked them in. We were thankful they were both okay when we left. We made it back home safely, ate some bread, and went to bed at 1:30 a.m.
I was unfortunately awake for another hour. There was a loud marriage celebration going on in a nearby village just south of us and on the north side was the sound of loud drums (I put in my ear plugs). I found out later the drumming was an invitation to surrounding villagers, especially traditional medical men, to come to an annual traditional dance ceremony. I went over the next day (Sunday afternoon) to find out more about it, but that is another story.
What a day and what a night! Definitely an unusual Saturday, but all in all I believe God was glorified in all that happened that day!