17 weeks was the number of weeks the Africa Mercy spent doing surgery on patients here in Togo. I have had the amazing privilege of being a part of these amazing transformations:
Edem. We removed this tumour from his face. One evening, as he was drinking, he suddenly began to choke and his nurse grabbed him as he was bent over vomiting on the floor and then gasping for breath. We ran to get suction for her and she stuck the yanker sucker in his mouth and said, desperation in her voice, “There’s something at the back of his throat!”
I ran to the cupboard and got some forceps and his nurse Jaclyn held him steady while I reach down the back of his throat and pulled the string I saw. The tail of the gauze packing in his sinus had fallen down the back of his throat just far enough to make him gag and wretch. Once i was able to grab the string with the forceps and pull it to the outside of his mouth, he calmed down and we sat him up on his bed. I called the Dr and got the plan for what to do. We needed to stick some scissors to the back of his throat and cut the string off from where it had fallen. With someone holding his head still, someone holding his arms and legs down, someone holding a flashlight, someone holding a tongue depressor and then someone with the scissors, he lay there scared out of his wits, while we cut that string off. As soon as the scissors came out of his mouth and everyone let go, he sat up and said in a small voice, “Akpe!” (thank you in Ewe) Oh! What a sweet boy!
Although the final photo of him isn’t perfect, his face will still change and the extra skin will continue to shrink. But the best thing is, he won’t suffocate! He has a lot of life left to live!
Then there is Toyi. He came to us with no nose.
He and his friend Payakey, another patient who had the same surgeries, journeyed through it all together.
And over a process of two operations and several weeks in the ward with us, he came out with this wonderful new nose:
And here is Payakey after his operation was complete. Two new beautiful noses.
I will continue to write more stories but for now I have to concentrate on my job in the ward. You see, my previous Ward Nurse Maxilla Facial Team Leader, Ali, has gone home to the States in preparation for having her baby! And I offered to take her place for the remained of the field service. So for these last two weeks I have stepped into big shoes!
Surgery has now finished and we are trying to wrap things up in the hospital. In fact there are only 4 days left for the hospital to be open! And we desperately need prayer for some patients to heal before Friday! Here they are:
Sweet baby Chara.
And lovely Esther (in the middle)
Please be praying for their wound healing and follow up plans after we are no longer able to look after them. I will write more on their stories soon. I can almost count the number of days on my fingers that I have left in Togo!