Last week was an interesting week. One of those weeks that are full of drama though an interesting one. We were robbed and the theives were caught literally red handed by the police outside our place. That is really God's protection.
Then we were also suprised by a patient who came for an impromptu visit just as we were closing our clinic for the day. The mum of the patient called and asked if we could wait for her. She was on her way past our town and really urgently wanted to talk to us. She came with her son who was a patient we did surgery for free in October 2015. Her son had bowed legs and was being teased in school. This had really affected his self esteem. So this was 5 months later he was well, playing football in school and his grades in school had really improoved. Infact he had been scheduled for another surgery but the decision was to wait until the holidays so that he doesn't miss out on school. Mum came with her husband whom we had never met and we had a good time chatting with the family. They were on their way to visit some relatives. Their trip was to show their son to their relatives so that they could see his transformation.
As we concluded out chat, they said that they just came to say hallo. We noticed that she had come with a sac. It looked heavy and we thought she was going somewhere with it . She tells us that now that her son in back to school she has been able to go back to the farm and that she brought us some of her produce- they were all in the sac. She came with fresh green beans, green maize , tomatoes and several mangoes. Levis and I were really humbled by her gift. Her gift is in the picture below. This was the highlight of our week. It gave us a reason to continue with our work.
Despite such a motivating visit, later that week, Levis and I met a lady who had very bad knee arthritis. Arthritis is an illness where a patients joints wear out and causes lots of pain during movement. The pain can be accompanied by joint swelling, instability of the joint which can lead to falls. This limits their movement and they are unable to walk well if its in the knees. Some have to use walking aids like walking sticks, crutches or even a wheelchair. The treatment is mainly to control the symptoms like the pain, swelling and instability. We start with Pain killers like diclofenac etc then progress to joint injections where possible. If that fails then the ailing joint can be replaced surgically with metal. This is called a joint replacement. This can be in the knees or hips.
Our dear friend had reached the point where she now needs total knee replacement surgery. She asked what is the cost. We told her the cost of the implant and our fees. She immediately said that for me to raise that money I have to sell my land. I have one piece where I stay with my son. If we sell this land, where will we stay. Then most of all when I die, which I think it will be soon , where will my son stay.
It really breaks my heart since I was really in a dilemna. Already our fees are very subsidised and even if we waivered the surgical fees, she needs to raise money for the knee implant. This she can't afford.
I left with a heavy heart since all I could do for her is give her some free samples of pain killers to help her with the pain as we find a solution. This motivates me to find ways to further bring down our subsidized costs so that we can cater for everyone. We are looking for ways how we can help people with no money so that we never turn anyone away.
I believe that surgical care should be affordable and that one doesn't have to sell their only peice of land to access it. Just like the boy above found a solution, we are hopeful for a solution for this lady by God's grace.