Sunday, May 10, 2015

Empty Nest Syndrome

Although our biological children are still in infancy and toddlerhood, we have recently experienced a form of Empty Nest Syndrome.  April seems to have been the month when all of our “children” came into our lives simultaneously.  And slowly, starting in mid-April up to this last week, they have each left the nest – one by one.  When our last visitor was taken back to the airport, it left a sense of sadness and barrenness in our souls, indicating that their presence left an indelible mark in our lives and in our hearts. 

1.  Matt Brucks:  Your three week rotation (March 29 – April 17, 2015) was incredibly short. We are so blessed to have gotten to know you during your senior ophthalmology elective out here at Lusaka Eye Hospital. 
It was fun seeing patients together, operating together, and chatting about life.  We got to see quite a few pediatric patients together. 
Preop - large angle congenital esotropia
Postop day 1 - looking much straighter
Congenital glaucoma patient - with buphthalmos

We even did some cornea transplants one week.
Midwest Eye Banks is now "Eversight" - Thanks for the corneal tissues!
Severe keratoconus
Immediate postop photo
We wish you the best during your oculoplastics fellowship in Pittsburgh, and we hope that you land an amazing job back in Canada.  Oh, and good luck as you prepare for the birth of your second child. Glad your wife did not go into labor while you were out here in Africa.  Else she would have hated us.  You are a skilled surgeon and a wonderful ophthalmologist, who is sure to continue the healing ministry of Christ.
Statue at LEH
2.  Laura Sherwin:  Congratulations!  You were officially our first official dental student who rotated with Lusaka Adventist Dental Services.   

Your month with us (March 29 – April 23, 2015) also seemed to fly by.  Thanks for helping Paul at the dental clinic and for your heart of service.  He had a lot of fun with you going on a dental outreach using the mobile dental clinic.   

You’ll be such a blessing to the mission field one day once your husband finishes his surgery residency! 

3. Kevin Shin:  It’s amazing how quickly your three months went by.  Your help in the accounts department was wonderful.  
Also, thank you for putting in your time with the Fast Lane renovations (painting into the wee hours of the morning with Kaitlyn).  The paint job came out great. 
4.  Kaitlyn Ohden: What a sad sight it was to see you leave.  Your three months here (February 18 – May 4, 2015) were fruitful, indeed.   
The projects you worked on left a lasting mark on Lusaka Eye Hospital.  The ward and Fast Lane renovations are definitely something to be proud of!   
Your help with Mr. Chomba’s projects was greatly appreciated.  And our staff at LEH will definitely miss you.  Good luck as you finish your fourth year of medical school and apply for ophthalmology.  We know you will be a great physician.  Oh, and we’ll miss you during our nightly yoga sessions.
5.  Brian Lee: You were a pleasure to have around during your month here (April 1 – May 6, 2015).  
Thanks for your help with the grant writing as well as getting quotations for our much-needed equipment.  Congratulations on your soon-coming graduation from Jefferson Medical School, and good luck with your move to Minnesota for residency.  We know you will be a wonderful ophthalmologist. 
6.  Over the Easter weekend, our whole group of visitors, in addition to the Busl family, caravanned out for a 13-hour drive (one way) to South Luangwa National Park.  At first I was hesitant about the idea of tent-camping (especially with two kids under the age of 3).
But when I heard that the Busl’s were going to camp as well (with four kids under the age of 7, one of which is also an infant), I agreed.   

Our campsite was right on the river, which was chock-full of hippos.   

At night, the hippos would come up to shore and graze right next to our tents!  Terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.   
Photo taken from our tent
We did our own game drives and managed to get stuck in the mud a few times.  Regardless, everyone had a good time, and Jaycee & Zach got to see some animals. 
Kevin, what animal are you?

7.  Other visitors.  Besides our rotating students and residents, we also had quite a number of other visitors over the last two months.  Mo O’Reilly and Bing Frasier, representing Adventist Health International (AHI), came out from Loma Linda, CA, for a scouting visit to plan for our upcoming Global Healthcare Conference for eastern, central, and southern Africa (March 15 – 19, 2015).  We also had Anthony Paul, another regular visitor come through and stay with us for a few days in April.  
Alexis Boddy, a Nurse Practitioner from TN, joined us in the theatre for a day.   
Two weekends ago, Dr. Alex Llaguno (SID Health Ministries Director), Dr. Doyle Nick (GC representative for Dentistry) and his wife came to visit Lusaka for a few days.   
Finally, from April 26 – May 2, 2015, Dr. Michael & Celeste Chen came to Lusaka to visit, observe, and help at Lusaka Eye Hospital. 
What a breath of fresh air to have a colleague and friend to bounce ideas off and consult with regarding difficult cases.  The 18 patients that we operated on for the Chikankata eye camp were reportedly singing and dancing on the bus ride home after their surgery, rejoicing and celebrating their new-found sight. 

8.  On April 25, 2015, we headed to Heroes’ Stadium, a brand-new 50,900-seat football (soccer) stadium for a huge celebration within our Adventist Church in Zambia.  Earlier this year, we reached the “one-million-member” mark in the country of Zambia, and to celebrate this milestone, a special Sabbath event was organized in this huge stadium.   
Security was quite tight
The guest of honor was none other than the President of Zambia himself, Mr. Lungu, who gave a speech encouraging the growth of the SDA church in Zambia and making reference to Revelation 14:6-7.  
I was happy when he specifically mentioned Lusaka Eye Hospital as one of the SDA health institutions that have been serving the country. 
During that event, Pastor Akombwa, president of the Adventist Church in Zambia, was able to sit next to the president and chat with him regarding two issues: the fact that the road to Lusaka Eye Hospital has not been paved, and the fact that our property in Chalala needs to be re-zoned from residential to commercial.   
Our current flooded dirt road to LEH
On Monday, just two days after the event, Pastor Akombwa received a call from the Mayor’s office regarding the issues.  On Tuesday, he was called in to meet the Mayor, who had received a “presidential directive” on the two above-mentioned issues.  On Wednesday, the dirt road to LEH was being grated by a big Caterpillar.  On Thursday, Pastor Akombwa received the verbal assurance that our property would certainly be re-zoned so that we could build a multi-specialty hospital on that land!  This is such great news!  Definitively an answer to prayer. Indeed, we serve a great God. 

Until next time...