/ / “An Unusual Day”

“An Unusual Day”

During my 10 years in the hospital at Nyankunde my work days were more or less routine I would start off by doing rounds in the hospital about 6 in the morning, visiting every patient. Then my wife and I would have breakfast in our home and discuss plans for the day. This was followed by working in the Outpatient clinic until noon. After lunch, I would spend some time in the operating room performing surgery such as, opening abscesses, repairing hernias, caesarian sections etc. On some afternoons I would have clinics for patients with tuberculosis and leprosy which were the two common chronic diseases in the area.

One day the routine was completely upset. Early in the morning I received a shortwave radio call that a single lady missionary had an accident in an outdoor toilet. They were hesitant to say anything except it was not urgent but that she had to be seen. They would be with me in a few hours. When she finally arrived she was lying flat on her back in the converted ambulance, covered with a blanket. She was terribly upset. We took her to the treatment room attached to our home. She tearfully related her story.

She was using the outdoor facilities when suddenly the floor gave way and she fell several feet into the slurry below. She had called for help but no help arrived for 3 to 4 hours. In Africa most toilets are fashioned with heavy logs over a deep 8 ft. hole . Wooden flooring then covers the logs and a seat with a hole is placed over this. There is no water available for flushing. The logs must have rotted and given away.

The lady was terribly embarrassed but we reassured her that it could have happened to anyone. We helped her to the shower and my lady attendant helped her clean up as much as possible. After checking her for fractures and contusions we then sent her to our bathtub to soak for as long as she wished to do so. My wife provided toiletries and fresh clothing and when she was ready, urged her to sleep in one of the guest rooms. It took time for her to get through the ordeal and she slept a great deal. Finally she was stronger and able to come to eat with us. iA few days later she went home.

Later that same day I got a call that another lady was distraught and coming in. She was from Britain originally but now lived not too far from us on a beef farm run by both her and her husband. She had been sitting on her front lawn with her tabby cat on her knees when suddenly a huge hawk had swooped down and had clawed her beloved cat from her lap. She valiantly tried to save her cat by grabbing its legs. The bird was so big and had such huge wings and huge claws, that fearing that her cat would be torn in two parts, she let her grasp go. She saw her poor little cat disappearing into the distance. She was not hurt in any way but the sudden loss of her pet really upset her and she came for help. This was a point in time when Valium first came on the market and I gave her some. It did its work well and allowed her to go home in a few hours.

The third unusual happening that day resulted from a strong afternoon thunderstorm accompanied by really high winds. It blew hardest on the east side of our home where there were French doors. It was evident to our housekeeper that the doors were under great strain from the winds. She walked over toward them thinking to give them extra support when suddenly the hinges tore loose and the doors flew through the air. One part of the door hit her on the left side of her head leaving a long deep cut on her forehead. Her screams brought everyone to come and while I got the stretcher for her, others were able to reposition the doors to stem some of the wind from coming in. While the others were busy getting plywood to go over the doors, I was able to get Marie into the surgery area where I stitched up her wounds. Thunderstorms with high winds are quite common in the Cogo and very often cause great damage. Most of our out buildings were made of mud and wattle but our house was made of brick and stone. It was unusual to have anything happen to the house.

All in all it was a unique day It was unusual that we were able to help three ladies in distress all in one day.

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