A Tale of Seven Tummies

There were three paracenteses done at the clinic today.


The first one was on Wilfred, the young man that Whit mentioned in her last blog who had had one last Friday as well.  Dr. Felix was here again, and he had explained to Whit and I last week how to do a paracentesis, and apparently decided that this week it was time to get to the hands-on part of the lesson.  Whit performed this one flawlessly, and we ended up draining over four liters off him today.  He’s still staying with us, and we’re not really sure what we should do with him.  Dr. Felix’s opinion was that whether we did the paracentesis or not, he doesn’t have much time left.  We think he’s in kidney failure, but without the labs to show for it, we can’t be certain.  If he is, and in a case as advanced as his….We find ourselves almost hoping that he will be out of his misery soon.  Please pray for him- and for us, as we try to decide whether we should send him home to his family for his final weeks, or keep him here where we may be able to ease his pain a bit better.  He was telling me today that he wants to go to church Sunday, and I’m praying that he will be able to, as I don’t know if he will have an opportunity again this side of eternity or not.

The second was on an older gentleman who had come in yesterday with what I first noticed when controlling him (the term they use for taking vitals- nobody get too concerned) as a really fast pulse that was sitting at about 180bpm.  After triple-checking it to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, and noting his larger-than-usual tummy in the process, I went to notify Ro of the joyous news that I had someone for her to see.  She put him on furosemide, and added him to our growing collection of patients in the hospital room.  Doc decided today that he needed to have a paracentesis done as well, and he donated a lovely total of nearly four liters of fluid to our waste system.

The third and final one was a woman who had come in Wednesday with- you guessed it, a big belly.  She was also put on furosemide and given a bed, and was still here when Doc finished the second paracentisis.  We headed over to her bed from there to see if he thought she needed one as well, which he did.  He had a bit of trouble doing hers, and we were only able to drain off about 1L of fluid from her.  It did seem to bring her some relief, though, so I’m glad we were able to at least do that much.

But the big bellies that we’ve been doing paracenteses on aren’t the only ones that we’ve seen quite a bit of lately.  Whit and Mali delivered a little boy first thing yesterday morning, then yesterday evening while we were playing Dutch Blitz up at Rhonda’s where we had gone to spend the afternoon for Thanksgiving, we received a phone call letting us know that there was another woman in labor waiting for us at the clinic.  So Ro and I jumped on a machine with Mali and her parents, and hastened off to assist in another of life’s greatest moments of wonder.  Ro and I were dropped off at the clinic, where we found that she wasn’t very far along, so we decided to do our evening rounds with our small flock of patients, and go home and try to get a little sleep in before going back to check on her again.  That plan lasted until we finished getting ready for bed and crawled under the covers, when we heard the typical “laboring woman” knock at the gate, and her husband summoned us back to the clinic.  We ended up deciding to just wait it out with her down there, and I couldn’t help but think when I glanced at the clock once around 1:00, of a different crowd of people somewhere who were also probably chilled, sleepy, and tired of waiting; but those were about the only things that I could think of that we had in common right then.  With the disconnection that being down here brings, Black Friday seems even more ludicrous, when I think about the throngs of rapacious people (if they can really be called people, when they don’t act in a way that deserves that distinction) descending on stores across the U.S.; desperate to spend not quite as much money on an item that they never really needed in the first place.  I’m not sure how my little post here has morphed into this mini-rant on American greed, but as I sat down there last night waiting, with a woman and her sweet husband who hardly had enough money to pay us the less-than-$7.00 that we charge for a delivery, the contrast was pretty striking.  But anyway, back to the baby- she arrived a little before 2:00, and from her very vigorous cries, I’m fairly certain she wasn’t thrilled about her new surroundings.  Forty minutes later we were finished cleaning up and settling them in for the night, so we turned our tired feet toward home and once again readied ourselves for bed.  I was going to try to get a photo this morning to add to our blog, since y’all have probably forgotten what everyone down here looks like by now, but they had left by the time I had a camera rounded up.  And then, in all the hustle and bustle of the rest of the day, I never really had time to take the rest of the pictures that I meant to…so once again, y’all will have to read a photo-less post.

And now tonight, somewhere during the course of my writing the first couple paragraphs of this post, Whit and Mali were once again called upon to catch a new little life as it made its way into the world.  A little boy, this time, which seems to be the dominant gender for this week’s rush of babies.  Things went smoothly again, and after cleaning up, they were able to join us at the house again, shortly before Ro and Hans arrived back from town with ice cream in tow.  Coffee-flavored ice cream, mind you. :o)

On a bit of a side note from today, and for my seventh stomach person; Monet (the fellow blogged about in Don’t Untie That Knot!) finally left for home.  He was given a rendezvous for Monday, and after making his rounds to everyone to say goodbye, he left on the machine with Hans and Rhoda shortly after lunch today.  The clinic feels like it’s missing something somehow since he’s not there to laugh at my awful Creole and I no longer hear him calling for his “sister” whenever I walk through the hospital room.  One of our other patients that was observing the farewells asked Whit if she thought that love could make a person well, to which she replied the affirmative; and we believe that Monet is the perfect example of just that.  I can hardly remember that the funny, round-faced friend that told us farewell today is the same skinny guy who so disliked me when he first came and I gave him his first IM shot (he held a grudge about that for a long time).  I wish him the best, and pray that his time here can forever alter his life, as it didn’t seem too bright before.  He told me when he left that he’s planning on coming to church in Sunday, and I hope he finds a way to make good on that promise.

Well, I’m still running a little short on sleep, so I think I’m going to wrap this up.  I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed, and restful weekend…and that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with big family get-togethers, good food, and fun games.  God bless!


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