Very few things make me as happy as a good french manicure and a relaxing pedicure. While these are most certainly luxuries, I’ve all but convinced myself that its absolutely neccessary for my livelihood in medical school. Well, it turns out that the Ghanian children feel the same. Since Sundays are a bit slower, yesterday I went to an orphanage in the village. This was such a necessary change. Sometimes at the hospital, seeing these kids makes me wonder how any of them ever make it to adulthood. The kids at the orphanage were healthy and playing and excited to see us. Quite naturally, the main attraction was my fingernails. The kids had never seen anything like it before, and spent a large majority of the afternoon looking at my hands, rubbing their fingers across my nails, remarking at their shininess and color. Before the afternoon was over, all the kids knew the words “pink” and “white.” I’ve been known to exaggerate a little, and I tried to get a picture of it so ya’ll would believe me, but the kids would always pose when they saw a camera. Here is a picture of us sitting and singing songs:

I had sent out an email earlier this week which specifically asked for prayer for a premie 2lb baby that had been delivered. Here is his picture. This baby truly captured my heart. He was a fiesty little guy right from the start and I truly believed that he would fight for his life. His incubator became infested with ants to a point that was intolerable. We had to take it out and gave him to mom in hopes that he could regulate his temperature. Unfortunately, he passed away last night. While my comments will be brief, I can truly say that this was my first doctor-patient experience with death. I have not been by the maternity ward today and it is easy for me to not think about it at all. Many of you know that in recent months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about death and why we fight it, and what that means about people and what it means for Christians. I still don’t have clear thoughts on this, but anticipate learning and growing through this experience as well.

In other and more exciting news, I am definitely growing in my competency as a pediatric physician. Today was the first day ever that I consulted, diagnosed, and prescribed medicine for patients from start to finish. I am cautious by nature and I double check everything with Dr. Joanna, but it was exciting to have that interaction with patients and to finally feel like I was practicing medicine.  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are outpatient days. These are the days that we are open as a clinic to see people from the community. These days are by far the busiest, and sometimes up to 400 patients will come to be seen. I diagnosed and admitted my first patient ever, Daniel, to the childrens ward for an acute abdomen. He likely has typhoid fever and it is a concern that his abdomen may perforate. He will likely get a laparotomy tomorrow and because he is my patient, I will get to scrub in on it. Pray for him and his family and against malaria and typhoid fever outbreaks here. I have only been here four days and I feel like I’ve seen enough malaria and typhoid to last me a lifetime. Pray these sick children are made well.

As always, I hope this post finds you well and that you too feel like you are seeking out the Lord’s will daily for your life. I fail so often, even here, even “on mission,”  but there is truly nothing I desire more.