Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Esther's visa arrived today for her travel to India.  Unfortunately, that's a day too late for her to travel with the four students from Sierra Leon.  But the good news is that she leaves Monday!  Be praying for her - can you imagine having never traveled outside of your country before, never flown on a plane and your first trip is from Liberia to India?  No thanks!  Bless you, sweet Esther!  I'm sure she will do fine.  Thankfully, there are two people who have made the EXACT same trip before in our clinic, so they can tell her everything.  Thanks for praying.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Reemphasizing prayer…

Esther goes to India in 2 days…we hope! Please pray with us, as she should get her visa tomorrow.  Nothing like cutting it close.  She is going to be trained as a denture technician with the four students from Sierra Leone, who are being trained as dental practitioners (who got their visas last week).
Today I had another osteomyelitis surgery (removal of dead bone).  Although this was a unique form, much like others I had seen where the dead portions of the bone had been encapsulated by a tumor known as fibrous dysplasia.  This is part of what distorts the face of these patients.  Although we may be able to get some improvement, their faces will sadly never be symmetrical again.

We got a pan down!!!!  Our panoramic x-ray sadly bit the dust this week.  Might be something we can fix, but won’t know for a while.  No next day service here.  So, we’re being resourceful and shooting shots with our film cartridge and standard dental x-ray machine.  And it's working!  This is yet another gentleman who has just presented to us with osteomyelitis.  He had heard our broadcast on ELWA radio.  Thank you, radio!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clinic Day 2&3

Many of you donated to the Surf-A-Thon last year, and here is the result – Eddie’s house on campus.  I never got to see it completed.  Just two days ago, there was an electrical fire in the breaker box, but thank God Eddie was just outside, heard the popping, and was able to put it out.   The whole house could’ve easily gone up in flames.  Needless to say, we’ll be seeing about getting that fixed!  Ugh.

Yesterday was another interesting day with two surgical cases.  One was a fifteen year old girl with a rare tumor above one of her front teeth, which was a retained baby tooth, causing her front lip to protrude.  Her permanent tooth was  impacted by the tumor.  The tumor consists of dozens of what are like "tiny teeth".  After she heals and I leave, the clinic will make her a partial denture to replace the tooth.  (Black and white to make it a little less gory)

The other case was a man who had a fat tumor (lipoma) in his cheek  for seven years.  He probably is hating us today, but should be thankful in a few weeks.  Today is a couple of more “routine” dental surgeries (if there’s such a thing in Liberia).

Monday, October 22, 2012

First Day of Clinic

Not only is the clinic is running like a well-oiled machine, the team seems to really be enjoying their work.  The practitioners saw 35 toothaches today (Mondays no appointments are given because so many toothaches come from over the weekend) and I helped out and completed the first surgery of the week and screened a few other patients for surgery. We broadcast my time here on the radio today, so we could have a major influx of surgical cases to schedule tomorrow.
Me and the new boss, Eddie.
One of nurses, Garmai, thanked her “boss” this morning.  I smirked thinking she was talking about me, but she was actually talking about Eddie, our practitioner, who has been a great leader and arranged for many of the staff members to attend Garmai’s uncle’s funeral this weekend.  Eddie not only seems to be a natural clinician, but a natural leader as well.

OUCH - The gentleman below was our surgical case today and has had this swelling for almost two months.  Below it was a piece of dead bone from his jaw that had died from a tooth infection.  We were able to drain this and get the bone out the same day so that he doesn’t have to have any further surgery.  A relief for both of us.  
Meet Trinity Dental Clinic's new staff members:
Helena and Archie are our new dental assistants, Archie is in training to take over for Esther, who leaves for India for training as a denture technician.
Esther and Archie
 This is Jaylee, who has a management degree from the Univ. of Liberia and serves as our receptionist and cashier.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Liberia 1st Day

If the humidity isn’t enough, nothing makes the reality that your back in Liberia hit home like the chaos (understatement of the year) of the Robertsfield International Airport baggage claim, where my friend Deb and I wrestled our fellow passengers for over an hour.  If you listen closely, you hear me get in trouble for videoing, but I had to try and capture a bit. Doesn't do it justice
The clinic looks as good as or better than the day I left it. Pictures will come once there’s actually people in it.  This was outside the clinic when I arrived, so either the hospital is now doing stress tests or the staff is trying to tell me something (knowing I’ve been in the U.S. with access to affordable ice cream for six months).
Today I enjoyed a Liberia fruit smoothie in the morning, lots of catching up with friends (and our old dogs), fire ant bites, a renewed passion for the sport of Liberian driving, and this: