Under Pressure September Email
She was our first patient of a very busy clinic day. Her sister just suffered a stroke and she, the patient's guardian, was staying by her side day and night, sleeping on the hard hospital floor and cooking meals in the hospital's open areas. Her sister’s stroke was sudden, right after hearing about an unexpected death. And like the majority of strokes in Malawi, were there isn't a single neurologist, outcomes were not looking good. But today the caregiver was our patient. Was it any surprise that her blood pressure was 220/110 - almost double the healthy level? She had been so weighed down with responsibility and stress she didn't even think to take her medication. She was dangerously close to having a stroke herself, and joining her sister in the hospital. We agreed together that her family had more than its share of trauma this month. I didn't want to stress her more by admitting her to the hospital on a drip of blood pressure medication (the usual protocol based solely on numbers). Instead, we gave her doses of her usual medication, prayed for her, her sister, and her family, and we asked her to try to rest and come back after a couple hours. Four hours and 20 patients later, we saw her again. she was looking brighter, younger. Her blood pressure this time was 156/78, still slightly high, but nowhere near the stroke-inducing levels earlier that morning. She had dropped nearly 100 blood pressure points! We gave her several medications, sure, but some of those shouldn't have kicked in for 8 hours, and other shouldn't have reduced her pressure more than a couple points. We prayed together again, this time praising God for His miraculous healing in such a short time. It will be a while before her family heals from the trauma it's already suffered, but at least this woman can remain taking care of her family instead of filling another hospital bed.
Greg and I continue to settle in to our new place. We now have a gate and a fence which separates our dogs from local farm animals. Greg is enjoying teaching Church History and Systematic Theology at NTCCA. I worked for a few hectic weeks on the medical ward, and have now moved more towards outpatient care and teaching. Nkhoma hospital is severely short staffed at this time, and we just ushered in our new medical director last week. Praise God that the erosive esophagitis I developed from my medication to prevent malaria has resolved, and I am able to swallow without difficulty again.
This month, please pray for : - Staffing at Nkhoma hospital, and patient care in times of provider shortage - Continued peaceful resolution of election conflicts - For Greg's students to grown in knowledge of God and His calling on their lives
Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support, - Greg and Christina