Friday, May 16, 2014

Had a long Obstetrical call a while back

4 Cesareans done that day and a referral from another hospital arrived in the early evening with a mother who had been in labor for a couple of days. When she arrived the baby had died and she had obstructed labor (baby too big to come out from below).

I knew it would be a difficult cesarean and asked Dr. Dabo to help.  He graciously came in to help.  When we opened her abdomen we found baseball size clots of blood in her abdomen.  We were sure she had ruptured her uterus but could find no rupture. After delivering her baby we found she had ruptured her spleen.

Neither Dr. Dabo or I had done a splenectomy recently (never) so we called in our orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lazare who, just happens to be our general surgeon too….. Dr. Lazare came in and performed the Splenectomy.  Mother did well post operatively and went home a week later. 

Needless to say my esteem for Dr. Dabo and Dr. Lazare went up a few notches that night J

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother’s Day Thoughts

One of my favorite things about Cameroon is the many names I have here. I am Madame, Sister, Doctor, Mom, Mami, Mama. I am also called “Mom of …”(insert any one of my children’s names). Almost no one calls me by my first name. Any person who has a child can be called Mami (pronounced mah-mi) and I use this frequently when I talk with patients. I think it gives a sense of familiarity, especially when I can’t remember the patient’s name.

There are a few staff at the hospital who always call me Mom. This is my favorite title. It is rather endearing and makes me feel needed and wanted. However, with that title comes responsibility. I then need to be a model of kindness, respect, and compassion, taking the time to listen to the patient and do whatever I am called to do with a positive attitude and a grateful heart.

A favorite song at Mass here is “Mama Maria, mama, eh mama…” Mary is called Maria in Pidgin English. When we think about the formal titles we have for Mary like the Virgin Mary and Mother of God, she may not seem as accessible as when she is called Mama. As Mama, she becomes one of us. We need her and want her to intercess for us.

I also see Mary in the many mothers we see here with sick and suffering children of all ages. Mary’s heart broke when she saw her Son suffer and die. I think of the countless mothers here who have lost a child or children and endure that seemingly unbearable pain. Mary, then, becomes a source of comfort.

As I struggle daily with the mother that I want to be, let me look to Mary as my inspiration.