Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pale hands and feet

As you might imagine, South America is home to many parasites. Hookworm infections used to be very common in the Southeastern part of the US years ago but not so much these days. Living in the jungle, however, you come across them in unusual ways. In August, this little guy was admitted to the hospital with weakness and pallor. You can see how pale he was from the palms of his hands. He was found to have a hemoglobin of only 2! (it's a measure of a body's red blood cells and normally between 10 and 13 at this age). If this blood loss had happened acutely, he'd have gone into shock and died.

The cause of his anemia was quickly discovered to be related to a hookworm infection. Typically the larvae from contaminated soil burrows into the feet of a person and travels through the blood stream to the lungs where they migrate to the throat area and are swallowed. They then travel to the small intestine and set up shop - attaching themselves to the walls of the bowel and feeding off of the blood supply.

This infant was given a transfusion and proper parasite medicine and left doing much better. Education remains a big part of the treatment to help prevent reinfection.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday messages

Every Monday we get to start our week with a devotional message from one of the staff, either one of the missionary doctors, our hospital chaplain or some other staff person. We've been back in Shell for a little over a month now and a recent message that one of our missionary surgeons gave really resonated with the staff. Eckehart and Klaudia Wolff have been missionaries in Ecuador for more than 25 years and both are important to our hospital. As you might imagine, they've been through many ups and downs and had alot of wisdom to impart. The message started out with a discussion about tithing and where we get the idea of giving a tenth of what we earn back to God, it really is His money anyways. From there he began discussing how the "church" in Ecuador has not been successful in sending out missionaries of their own. Through the past century there has been an over reliance on foreign support for missionaries in Ecuador. For whatever reason, the church has been eager to send out missionaries but when it's time for the "rubber to hit the road" few step up to support them. For me, it was eye opening to see this, but also rewarding to know how well supported Tracy and I have been from folks back home. As you think about this, please pray that the Lord would stir hearts here to better equip and support Ecuadorian missionaries.