Saturday, August 18, 2012


The sickness here always continues. There is much pain and suffering here in Chad. I suppose that’s why we are here, to help fight this and show God’s love in the process. But now I guess I’m mostly concerned with my family.

Zachee, my cook, told me today that the locals believe the rainy weather brings sickness upon people. So naturally people don’t go and play in the rain like Lyol does, but in a way it is true. Rainy season definitely brings more mosquitos which brings more malaria. It seems to be a more potent malaria too. I’m not sure why. But people definitely get hit harder.

I made Dad get a malaria test today because he is just kind of worn out. It was negative. Wed and Thursday Dad stayed home. This morning he has been eating and drinking. His pain is much better. Today he refused to stay home. He came in to do some rounds and 2 surgical cases. I also did rounds with him and then on maternity. Our surgical wards are full of healing abscesses. It’s actually quite gross.

I saw some consults and came home for a lunch of rice and beans. Olen’s parents were here for 2 weeks and just left yesterday, so Lyol is readjusting to life without them again. He keeps repeating, “Lyol wants to go to America.” So I say, “We are going to America in 2 months.” And Olen says, “Lyol, we are going to America in 72 days.”

Olen had done rounds on peds and medicine, but was feeling a little sick, so decided to rest at home for the rest of the afternoon. He finished quinine pills 8 days ago, so at least we knew it’s wasn’t malaria. Our kids and Olen all have runny noses and a cough right now. This viral thing is going around. So I figured Olen just feels achy from that.

Dad also stayed home this afternoon because he’s still recovering from his kidney stone that he’s not sure if he’s passed or not.

I went back in to see some more consults and follow up on a few patients. I came home, but a nurse found me 5 minutes later to tell me that a man has an anal abscess and was referred here. Sounds like so much fun. I took Zachee and Louise (my laundry lady) over to the hospital to see all of the construction so that they are ‘in the know.’ We looked at the footprint for the new operating suites and for the private ward buildings. The work for the One Day Hospital has been coming along nicely. It changes every day, and I couldn’t believe how much had happened in 2 days (since I had last looked at it). After awing over the new building plans, I finally went to the bloc (OR) and stabbed the abscess that had been waiting for me. It wasn’t as gratifying as it sometimes can be, but still some pus came out.

I went home, played with the kids, bought some fruit and veggies from some produce ladies that come to my door. Aime had avocados, oranges, and green peppers that she had gotten from Kelo (You can’t get avocados or oranges here in Bere).

Another nurse came to the door. I refused to see a lady who had come in 3 months after breaking her hip. Her x-ray from Moundou 3 months ago showed the femur head completely severed from the femur. It’s friday evening and she’s had the same problem for 3 months, but my dad was nice enough to go lay eyes on her. He’s planning on surgery for Monday to replace the femur head.

Olen feels quite hot. I decide to poke his finger and do a home malaria test even though it doesn’t seem to work part of the time.

“No dear, this is a virus,” Olen says.

“I don’t care.”

Positive. The malaria test is definitely positive for falciparum.

Huh. That’s strange after finishing 1 week of oral quinine just 8 days ago. Well, he definitely has malaria. Maybe we should have treated him with fansidar and doxy last time along with the quinine pills.

Olen walks to the pharmacy to buy some more quinine pills and fansidar.

After eating dinner and putting the kids to bed I go in to check on a patient I was worried about having an intestinal obstruction. The NG tube put in a few hours ago wasn’t helping her distended abdomen and she felt rigid. Well, we’ve got to operate.

This poor lady. 5 months ago I had done a C-section and hysterectomy for a ruptured uterus with a term dead baby. Now she had to go through another surgery.

I go by my dad and mom’s apartment to see if dad would be willing to just sit in the operating room in case I needed his expert opinion. Samedi (who I used to call for backup in the OR) had gone somewhere far away today. Dad was sleeping at 8:30pm, since he’s still not feeling up to par, but he woke up when mom got the door. Of course dad said he would help.

Once in the bloc, Ndilbe gave our patient a spinal and Simeon and I scrubbed. Dad sat on the floor. I cut out the old scar and gently cut through the scar tissue. The air-filled intestines beneath were begging to push themselves out. The moment I entered the abdomen, there was a familiar smell. A bad smell. The smell of necrosis that only a dead bowel can give. Once you smell it, you remember it. I put my hand in to try to uncoil the tightly packed bowel and find the source of the problem.

“Dad, do you think you could scrub in?”

Dad scrubs in and helps me with a foot-long bowel resection and reanastamosis. He lets me do it all though, so hopefully I’ll remember it next time when he’s on annual leave. We don’t have bowel staplers here, so I put in lots and lots stitches in the bowel, and it took a little time. In the states you could do this in a few minutes with a fancy stapler.

This patient’s terminal ileum (small intestine) had attached to the pelvic sidewall and then coiled over on itself and become obstructed. When the intestine gets obstructed from a mechanical cause like this, it loses blood flow. The part that doesn’t get blood flow dies.

We all go home, tired at 11:30pm.

I’m surprised to see the light on in the bathroom when I get home. Olen is vomiting. Oh, the night continues to only get more dramatic. He looks weak too. Okay, now I have to be the strong one. Please God, help me.

I run back to the hospital and buy IV fluids, IV quinine, iv nausea meds, IV dextrose in case olen gets hypoglycemic on me, and an IV. I ask one of the nurses if they could come over and find an IV (again on a nasara). Djo comes over and finds one on the first stick.

It’s 2 am now. Olen has finally stopped vomiting. He’s sleeping peacefully. So I watch the drip. And I’m not tired. My children are healthy and sleeping peacefully. The bug light zaps bugs loudly in the corner. If you weren’t used to it, it would scare you I promise. But I barely notice it now. Our electricity has been running quite well lately.

This place is seriously crazy at times. We always need your prayers.


olen and danae

Olen phone: +235 62 16 04 93

Danae phone: +235 62 17 04 80

Olen et Danae Netteburg

Hopital Adventiste de Bere

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Kelo, Tchad


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1 comment:

  1. I hope Olen gets better soon but so glad to hear Lyol and Zane are healthy :) Love you guys and praying!