In Tanzania, visitors are often welcomed with music. Since you are visiting my blog here's some welcoming music.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

September 17

17 September 2010
        His Eminence Dimitrios arrived from Greece. He wanted to take us out
for lunch.  To spend this time with  His Eminence (H.E.) and my team
before James left for Mwanza was very important to me, even though I
was feeling sick.  As the day went on I became more and more ill.  I
just thought "it's a virus, it will pass."  I had felt this way once
before since I have been here in Dar es Salaam and I was fine the next
day after giving my stomach a rest and staying hydrated.  I thought:
"I am an ER, I can treat a stomach virus."  My sick feeling got so bad
that I had to excuse myself from the lunch because the smell of the
food was too much for my temperamental stomach.  On our way home, H.E.
was driving, the car ran out of diesel and we had to wait for someone
from the Cathedral to help us get home.  At this time I was actually
feeling a little better.  We then made our way to the Cathedral where
H.E.'s stays while he is in Dar es Salaam.  Again my symptoms were
becoming worse and I requested that I lay down while we waited for a
taxi to take us home.  I got into the taxi and we made our way back to
the hostel.  The last road to our hostel is a VERY VERY bumpy one.  I
usually love the experience of bumping around in the car, but this
time was it totally different.  I had never felt this much pain, thank
God, so the tears came out in liters.  At one point, I had to quickly
ask that the car be stopped so that I could take a break from the
bumpy road.  This caused quite a traffic jam, as I was told later by
my friends.  I was able to, with the help of the taxi driver and
Michael, my missionary teammate in Tanzania, to get back in the car
and finish our trip back to our hostel.  I made my way up the stairs
to my room.  I got in my pajamas and laid down in bed.  Not much later
I went to the restroom and after felt a little better.  Felice, my
missionary teammate, came back into my room and we talked about the
days' events.   Our debriefing didn't last very long due to her voice
leaving her.  Felice reminded me she was just a phone call away if I
decided I needed to go to the hospital at anytime.  It wasn't even two
hours, after I went to the restroom a second time, before I realized
the pain started to increase in my stomach.  So I got myself ready for
a trip to the hospital and walked to Felice's room.  I woke her up and
we made our way to the hostel's reception area.  The taxi arrived and
we started the (seemed like a cross country trip) to Aga Khan
hospital, which was recommended by the hostels staff.  While we waited
I noticed my stomach pain had moved.  At the beginning of our trip to
the hospital the driver stopped to get diesel.  After filling up the
car, the pain continually increased in intensity.  The drive started
to become overwhelmingly painful.  It felt like we were only driving
over rocks and not a road.  On arrival to the hospital, I crawled into
the ER and was able to go straight back to a bed.  I cried in agony
and worked with the doctors and let them do what they needed to do to
find out why I was having this pain.  The pain never ceased even with
the pain medicine I was given.  Throughout the tests, I frantically
tried to call the team, Michael, His Eminences Jeronymos and
Dimitrios.  Many of the phone numbers I did not have so I continued to
call whomever I could reach.  I spoke with Michael and he started the
phone chain to notify the missions department at OCMC, and the local
clergy (Fr. Peter and Fr. Frumentios).  I was all alone because in
Tanzania the friend/family member's job is to pay for each item that
has been ordered by the doctor (doctor's order), take the blood to the
lab, and get the results.  Felice was playing many many roles that
night and she showed peace through it all.  It was incredible how much
she advocated, consoled, and had such peace about the whole ordeal.
Radiological and blood tests were done and it was discovered that I
had appendicitis.  I was numb.  The started crying and became
terrified that I was going to have to have surgery in Tanzania.  I
told the surgeon that I needed to speak with my parents and friends in
the states.  I then spoke with my parents and told them what was going
on. Since Felice was being my lab and bill payer, I felt very alone. I
told them, I am so scared over and over. Then my dad interrupted said,
"Katie you are not alone.  You are never never never alone never
ever.  You have Christ Jesus, His mother, Saint Catherine, Saint
Aidan, Saint Ann, Saint Brendan, Saint Elisabeth, the Archangel
Michael, Saint James, Saint Dimitrios, Saint Jeronymos, Saint
Innocent, Saint Nicholas of Japan, Saint Basil, Saint John the
Forerunner, Saint Elisabeth the New, Saint David, and all of the
saints in heaven.  My dad prayed with all my mom, Felice, me. Christ
Jesus, His mother and all of the saint in heaven were there with us in
Aga Khan hospital that night.  My father asked me soon after that, "Do
you feel like you need to come home?"  I immediately said "no,"  my
father, mom, and I all agreed.
        I have felt the calling to become a missionary in Africa for twenty
years.  My parents have been amazingly supportive all of these years.
Through all of the difficulties I have faced and will face during the
last twenty and next two years, it is all for my good of my
salvation.  Even though one of my worst fears came true, it has only
affirmed to me that I, can only with Christ Jesus and all of the
saints in heaven, can continue to assist in the mission in East
Africa.  This experience will not only help me to be a better nurse,
it will also help me be a better person. 
As a registered nurse (RN), I enjoy taking care of people when they
are seriously sick.  Many times it is hard to understand why someone
is so upset over to us, as medical professionals, is a simple task/
procedure.   Many time we as RNs think someone is over reacting to
their situation (getting an IV, or medication injection).  As RN's/
doctors we loose our compassion for peoples' fears.  We get too busy
and don't find out the important things that give the whole picture of
a person.
         I had been a patient before; in the doctors' offices, I have had a
day surgery before, and had to go to the ER once after having
surgery.  This time being the patient opened my eyes to something,
that I  sometime forget.  We all have a pasts or expectations (which
are sometimes real and sometimes not).  I concentrated on what needed
to do to the patient to get them better.  I didn't step back enough to
listen to them about their past experiences or pre-expectations about
medicine.  I understood everything that was going on, it was just
different.  I tried to be an obedient patient, but the medical system
is very different not to mention cultural difference, and language
Everything I had done, I had done to others hundreds of time.  I try
to understand and sympathize with my patients about their fears and
emotions that they might have when they receive unexpected news.  I
now know I truly did not have a clue about what patient's go through
when they are in the hospital. 

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