Dear Friends and Family,
Here is hoping that all is well with you. My beautiful wife is back home with me in Soddo. Hooray! It is marvelous having her here, unfortunately she contacted a cold in the USA and has been quite sick this entire week. Harry and Donna Brown are here, arriving a couple of days before Alice. Harry recently retired from teaching computer technology and television at Muskegon Community College. With his expertise he was able to help me purchase some important equipment for our ultrasound while in Addis Abba. He also is working on filming a documentary on Soddo Christian Hospital. In addition to the Browns, Nardos and Azariyas (two teenage children from our Addis Abba Ethiopian family) returned to Soddo with us to spend a few weeks of their summer holiday in Soddo.
I want to give you an update on Tesfenesh. Tomorrow she will have been here three weeks and is still very critical. Two weeks ago when I wrote to you about her I mentioned how attentive to her her husband had been. Well, I was mistaken. It is her young brother who has been by her bedside day after day. Her husband has stayed at home stating that he does not have enough money for transport to the hospital.
Seven days after her operation her skin incision broke open spilling a large amount of pus. At that time her temperature came down and she was able to take a few steps. We were very encouraged and hopeful for her. Now, after an additional week, her fascial incision has come apart. In fact, her fascia (the fibrous connective tissue that keeps the internal organs inside the abdomen) totally disintegrated. When taking off her dressing, her rectus muscles are visible and today I can see straight through to her uterus and intestines. There is nothing between her internal organs and the dressings that we change every three hours. She is too ill to take back to surgery and there is no tissue that we can put together over her internal organs. We will have to wait until her body produces a protective lining and covers them on its own. Months later, if she pulls through, we will take her back to surgery and repair her hernia. Yesterday she received another unit of blood. She is extremely anemic and has a high fever. Her Foley catheter is still in place draining most of her urine, but today she started leaking urine from her vagina for the first time, indicative of the formation of the dreaded vesicovaginal fistula. She does have muscle control over her legs but has no control of her bowels and soils her bed often. Please continue to pray for her.
This past week we have been very busy with many deliveries and surgeries. I rounded on 18 patients yesterday. We have had two sets of twins in the past 24 hours and many other challanging cases. One 22 year old woman died of metastatic cervical cancer this week, but we were, however, able to operate on a 25 year old with ovarian cancer and are hopeful that she will survive.
Please continue to pray for Tefenesh and that God will give us wisdom in knowing how best to care for her and the other patients that he sends our way. Thank you for you generous donations to our maternity benevolent fund. Her entire care is being underwritten by that fund. Thanks also for your words of encouragement. They mean so much to us.