Proverbs 3: 5-6
The hospital restaurant
Most evenings, I go to have dinner in the hospital "restaurant".
Out of what's on the menu, I generally get the "red beans and rice".
I figure beans have protein, so I should be ok. Dinner goes for about 150 shillings, or $1.50.
Since tea is so important here, I patriotically have an evening cup of Chai, which they always serve so boiling hot that I have to water it down with cold water so I can actually drink it.
They have a TV in the eating area, which alternates in the evening with 'soap operas' (all are over-acted and funny to watch; all in Swahili); or their local news shows, which resemble our own small network news programs, complete with roving TV reporters and cameras.
Throughout Kenya, motorcycles serve as local taxis. Young men on motorcycles are parked in front of the hospital, ready to take you anywhere.
The Shoe Store
Litein’s Operating Room policies are quite strict about foot-ware in the Operating Theater.
No street shoes allowed. Lots of farm animals are around, if you know what I mean. I went into town and bought some clogs from a local street shoe store. I sat on the curb and tried them on. $2.00.
This is the rainy season. The storms are quite entertaining if you are not walking outside.
Clouds just automatically seem to appear around 1-2 pm.
Lots of thunder! And it rains so hard on the steel roofs that it sounds like a freight train!
The Daily Routine
Ward rounds begin each morning M-F at 7:15.
It’s quite a crowd. Surgical staff, their residents, nursing students, medical assistants.
One of the electrical generators squeaks in the background so it can be difficult to hear the presentations. Clinic is each Monday and Wednesday. Operating Room days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Fridays.
The Litein Hospital community
Many people live around the hospital.
First. there is housing for most of the staff physicians, the young residents-in-training and their children.
Everyone lives within walking distance of the hospital and each other.
Second, there are two Litein boarding high schools: one for girls and one for boys.
The high school girls sing together at 6 am each morning, like clock-work.
It’s quite nice actually.
Third, there’s a combined nursing school and medical assistant school.
We see them all over the hospital. The nursing students wear light blue dresses with dark blue sweaters. Fourth, there’s an orphanage for young boys behind the row of stores in front of the hospital.
And of course, there is a church. All of this is on a hill above the town of Litein.
The people of Litein Hospital
Dedicated. Caring. Clearly doing their best. Clearly motivated.
That goes from the Nursing Director, the Medical Director, right on down to the nurses in the clinics and the wards. Their effort and good intentions are very plain. I am inspired to work with them.
I’m always trying to come up with new ideas that might help.
Christian Overseas Organizations: all working together
Many different Christian service organizations have come together at Litein, serving God’s people.
Some are Mission Doctors, World Medical Mission, Pioneers, Serge, and the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS). PAACS deserves special recognition. They trained all 4 Kenyan surgeons who work at Litein. Training good, intelligent young Kenyan talent for the long-term. Incredible.
Litein makes the most of everything. All equipment is recycled as much as possible.
Electrocautery devices, tubing, everything. All operating room gowns and drapes are made of cloth and washed and resterilized. Just about everything is recleaned and reused until it falls apart.
Litein is a Christian Hospital without government support or insurance, so people have to come in with cash to get treated. But they know they get good care, so they come.
The scope of problems is wide. No subspecialists work here. It all comes to us. All the urology, ENT, lthyroids, plastics, breast, esophageal cancers and metastatic cancers all come to us.
General surgeons in small towns in the USA know what I’m talking about.
There have been quite a few. The hospital doesn’t have a CT scanner, so it can make things tougher to diagnose and treat. A small for age 3 year-old child came in with an obstructed intestine from Ascaris worms. My goodness!
Before I left to go to Africa, I brought a hand-held skin grafting handle and blades. It turned out to be a pretty good idea. That turned out to be something that was lacking. The residents and I put skin grafts
on a few people and they all did well. Thank God.