It was a bit of a rough day in regards to mood in our house yesterday. I have been reading a little bit about exercise and mood enhancement, and the correlation is pretty strong that exercise is good for mental health. This is especially true in anxiety and depression. I would say those are the most common struggles of many of us, and especially those of us living in a different culture. I tend to be more optimistic if I find time to exercise, and I envy those who find it easy to do. I do not always want to exercise, much less do I find the time to do it. And this is despite knowing the positive effects. So with everyone a bit down yesterday, I decided we were going on a walk. We would go to the caves and then up to the railroad tracks. A few short steep uphill sections followed by a meandering downhill walk. We noted some clouds in the sky, but it seemed like there was more sun than clouds. The old Boy Scout in me recommended we take some jackets. It was good that we did, because just as we reached the cave, the rain came. We decided we would cross-country home, bush-wacking, avoiding steep drop-offs, spraining wrists, and ruining clothing. But we made it. And you can decide for yourself from the picture whether it had a positive affect.
This is my friend Kennedy with his wife and baby. Kennedy works on our bikes, and he especially helped Annie get her unicycle put together. But I usually see him at work where his energy and smile are an encouragement as he runs around the hospital trying to sort out the different things he manages. About 6 months ago I had the privilege of delivering his baby boy. I remember the case well. His wife was past her due date, and so we were inducing labor. However, for some strange reason every time we checked their babies heart rate, the tones were not normal. She was not even feeling her contractions, but with every unfelt contraction we saw on the monitor, the baby’s heart rate would go down, and in between contractions the heart rate would be too high. These are signs of stress to the baby. I do not like to do a cesarean section on a woman who is not in labor, but in this case we decided to go for it. The surgery went well, and their baby was fine. But the next morning I heard from the pediatric team that the baby had been found to have an imperforate anus. That means there was no way for the baby to have a bowel movement. Obviously, this is a problem The next day they sent their new son into the operating room to get an ostomy which is where the surgeon attaches the end of the intestines to the abdominal wall so that the bowel movement can pass from the body through the abdominal wall. Then they did surgery to correct the closed anus. The last step was yesterday where they reattached the intestines together so that their son can start passing stool normally. It has been a long road, but everything is ending well. Kennedy really wanted a picture of us all together, and I was glad to snap one too. He is obviously happy that his son is doing well, and although I had just the smallest role in it, I am happy too.
Will continues to be busy in the hospital. For the last 6 months he has been serving primarily on the obstetrics service with occasional shifts in the emergency department. Working in obstetrics means lots of nights on call with runs to the hospital for whatever emergency has recently arrived. It can be tiring, so pray that he will have the energy he needs for each day. A bigger part of Will’s job is Christian medical education. The hospital is full of young doctors, clinical officers, and nurses who come to Kijabe Mission Hospital for medical training. Each day Will is involved in teaching these young doctors through mentoring and training in the wards as well as in didactic medical lectures. The hope is that these doctors will go throughout Kenya and East Africa, practicing excellent medicine as well as sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Allison is working hard at Rift Valley Academy. This a completely volunteer position for which she is not paid. In fact, none of the teachers at RVA are paid. They are all missionary teachers working to support the work of the school, and they are supported by generous people and churches in their home countries. This year Allison is teaching Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 after spending the last year teaching 9th grade English. She is also serving as the head of the World Languages Department . Both she and Will enjoy serving as 10th grade class sponsors– that’s David’s class. She is busy, but she is also thriving as she loves her students and she loves her subject matter. She feels grateful for important work too, as RVA provides a way for families to serve in some of the most difficult and remote places in Africa without sacrificing their children’s educational needs. You can see some of the cool things going on at school by following Rift Valley Academy’s Facebook page or Instagram page.
I am still working in obstetrics. I did not expect it to be such a big part of my job when I moved to Kijabe. I have a love-hate relationship with delivering babies. When it is going well, it is fun and joyful. When it goes bad, it is probably the worst thing in medicine. And then there are times when things threaten to go bad, but because we are there as physicians and healthcare workers things go well. Of course, that is very satisfying. Probably the best part is holding babies after they are delivered. I should take advantage of the opportunity more often. I pray all the time when things get a little scary in the hospital. I trust God to help me make timely and wise decisions. And then I use the knowledge and experience that he has given me to do the very best I can. God is good, and I have learned a lot.