Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Liberians are being encouraged to repatriate - meaning go back to Liberia. Check out this story for a little more on the feelings and obstacles all around regarding this process.

Over a month ago our physical education teacher, Morris, had been hospitalized for something called pleural effusion. He's still in the hospital - I get to visit 2 - 3 times a week. I've been bringing him some flavored milk, a couple of apples here and there, etc. As usual, he's not really told what's going on - the nurse comes in the morning and sets Morris' chart down and goes out. Before the doctor comes in, Morris grabs the chart and quickly tries to get what he can out of it - which usually isn't so much, but that's how he found out about the pleural effusion. Reading this article about pleural effusion makes me a little worried, but it's so hard to get answers here.

He's at the same hospital, Korle Bu, as Dixon, who was to have his surgery 27 April - if you've been reading this you know all the delays. Finally, two weeks ago all was set, once again. But the two surgeries before his took too long, so his was postponed another week. Then last week, the day of his surgery, I got an urgent call from him - he needed to have 5 pints of blood donated prior to having his surgery. AI YAI YAI - will the frustrating delays not end for this poor guy? People pay a lot for blood at the hospitals here, around $40 per pint. So, if you can find donors - good. However, donating seems to be a business for some people, and if you don't have family, as in Dixon's case, then . . . you might as well buy from the hospital. But, without going into details, it worked out that we got the blood donated (and it turned out that only 2 pints were required). Wednesday, 12 July, we are hoping and praying that he will finally have his surgery.

Some of you may remember my friend, Jeannie - another SMA lay missionary here. She had a bad fall and ended up - after several weeks of misdiagnoses and efforts here - being sent back to the US for medical care. She also will have surgery this week.

So please keep these three people I care about in your thoughts and prayers this week and in the future for their recoveries.

Surgery is expensive here - and even more expensive (double the cost) if you are a non-Ghanaian. So, when I heard from a French SMA lay missionary, Elise, who's a physical therapist working in the clinic on the camp, about the Mercy Ships, it was an exciting time for us. The possibilities . . . the saved money . . . oh my goodness. Check out the link - it's really a good thing that goes on, and here's a link with an update on the Mercy Ships in Ghana. Click on the flags of the first link, and then all the other links - interesting reading.

The bad news is that, after the initial screening a couple of weeks ago, Elise got a call that the Mercy Ship is booked up until the end of its time here - so no more screenings at this time - or possibly ever. It's too bad - I was building up a list of people with Glaucoma and other eye problems as well as people with other conditions requiring surgery and who have no other resources to help receive this surgery. And now - we could be back to trying to find the money by begging, borrowing, and doing whatever's necessary.

On a different note, the World Cup is football to the world outside of the US - in the US we call it soccer. But the World Cup is a huge obsession for everywhere else in the world - huge. Ghana made it to the world cup, and they beat the US. It's been exciting here - people dancing in the streets. Read about the World Cup here. Ghana's success brought Africa together in support of Africa. (The financial support led to other problems and criticisms, though - part of the cause of all the strikes at Korle Bu - all the money being poured into football, but what about health and the healthcare providers??)

Ghana has it's own version of American Idol I recently found out. Johanna, a Dutch lay missionary who works with me on the camp, is involved with a Liberian acapella group - Ebony Heritage. And they were the opening act for the final show of Mentor, the Ghanaian Idol. It aired a couple of Saturdays ago, 1 July. But there was also a World Cup game that slightly overlapped the show. I went to a neighbor's home to watch for Johanna's group, but Mentor started late so we switched to watch the end of the World Cup game - France vs. Brazil. We turned back just as Mentor was starting - and 5 v e r y l o n g hours later the winner was going to be announced, and we still hadn't seen Ebony Heritage. Only it was a trick - as though the program hadn't delayed long enough we had yet another commercial break showing the same commercials for the 10 millionth time and then came back to the show to be told that all the 12 contestants would be given prizes first and they would call people from the audience to do it. I was out of there! - it was 1 in the morning and it had gone on long enough. But click on Mentor and read about it. I found out the next day that one of the worst two of that night, Prince (when I heard Prince was to perform I thought, wow, this might turn out to be an interesting show - a Prince concert - I'd even been to a Black Eyed Peas concert three years ago in First Ave, Prince's place in Minneapolis - truth is, I didn't really think it would be the Minneapolis Prince performing - but I did hope it would be) was the winner, and the one who performed the best that night, Maya, came in fourth. So happy I didn't stay for the next 1/2 hour+ for them to get me to that disappointment.

Anyway - there's so much more - but this was to be short - so I promise some shorter, single topic ones with pictures in the near future.


At 4:50 AM, Blogger m said...

I am wondering how things went for Dixon. It must be maddening having something as big as when you are going to have surgery changed so many times.

I checked out the link on pleural effusion and I agree it doesn't sound good. Sounded to me like it's more of a symptom than a disease in itself, and that it would be good to figure out why he has it.

All this points to the fact that being sick and going to the hospital in Ghana is scary business. Stay healthy, Steve!


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