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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 10)

March 2, 2008 – Day 10

We ate, we napped, we did paperwork and blogged. Nothing interesting happened.

Tim’s Lesson of the Day:
“Sleep when you can”

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 9)

March 1, 2008 – Day 9

We were all looking forward to a well deserved weekend away from the hospital. Again we started the day with a French toast breakfast with warm syrup. Kingsford (Bill’s driver), came by to pick us up for a day of local shopping.

We dropped into an art shop and some fabric shops prior to lunch. Kingsford was a masterful shopper providing us with much needed savings. The shop owners didn’t have a chance when he started in with his strong-armed negotiation tactics. They have the brightest fabrics with the most vibrant colours here. All the local women wear them fabulously. After spending our cash, we managed to save enough for lunch at the Net Café. Not surprisingly, the internet connection was down again and Pauletta’s academic prowess was slowed by the lack of communication. We made a couple of other quick purchases prior to heading back to the guesthouse.

We had to say farewell to our fearless IVU leader Catherine as she had to return to the U.S. Again, Ezekil was kind enough to drive one of us back to Abuja to catch her return flights. And then there were five…

Bill returned to the guesthouse to take us to the local school’s carnival for the elementary students. Hillcrest School has approximately 250 students(K through 12) and the grounds were impressive for such a small number of students. They follow the California curriculum and many of the students (both missionary and local) carry on to college – either Nigerian, American or European. This private school certainly provides a good education and multicultural experience for all who attend. The carnival, put on by the high schoolers, seemed to hit the mark with all.

We then returned to Bill’s house (on the Evangel Hospital grounds) for another meal. We were very happy to spend the afternoon and evening meal with his 4 kids and his wife Dorothy. After some chili, we had a pleasant conversation with the 2 of them. Bill had told us a little of his surgical experience, but we were all impressed by Dorothy’s good work. There isn’t room here to explain all of her exploits, but her most recent projects – Seeds of Life(to feed the widows and orphans) and recycling wedding dresses(including hers) to give the widows a chance to get back on their feet are worth mentioning. After a fascinating and insightful evening with Jos’ “power couple”J, Bill was kind enough to return us back to the guesthouse.
Tim’s Lesson of the Day:
“It’s true that one person can change the world”

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 8)

Feb 29, 2008 – Day 8

I have never eaten as many hearty breakfasts as I have on this trip….again with a large serving of scrambled eggs and toast. We can’t seem to get away from eating big meals at each sitting. We have a large lunch each day served by the staff at the hospital. All of us feel guilty if we don’t have it, not that Simon gives us a choice : ). I suspect that we will all put on a couple of pounds over these 2 weeks….when we return everyone will ask – did you leave any for the starving children? Obviously not.

We started the list as Tom joined Bill for his cysto list. He performed a cysto with dilation and DVIU for a proximal bulbar stricture. One of our VVF patients required a cysto for what we thought might be an ectopic ureter but it turned out to be a severe case of schistosomiasis. She had a large inflammatory mass in her bladder, with punctuate calcifications and a golf hole ureteric orifice. Very interesting!!!

We also performed our planned buccal mucosal augmented vaginoplasty without any problems. The harvested graft was a reasonable size and the graft looked good after being laid into place. We also performed a few more PV slings with facia lata which we demonstrated for the VVF team.

Continuing with the theme of overeating, we went out for a dinner with the VVF team. This was traditionally done towards the end of the trip, but with Catherine leaving tomorrow we decided to have it tonight. We went to the Elysar restaurant for a traditional Lebanese-Chinese fusion meal. It was a great meal (filled with kibbe, spring rolls, beef, shrimp, chicken) with the food seeming to go on and on. The company was very pleasant and we were sad for it to come to an end (although we were tired from the week’s work). We said farewell to the VVF team and retired to the guesthouse.

Tim’s Lesson of the Day:
“When you come to Africa, bring pants with elastic waistbands”

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 7)

Feb 28, 2008 – Day 7

We scarfed down a quick breakfast of hot biscuits with jam… there is something very comforting about warm carb-filled food. Suprisingly we didn’t fall asleep on the ride to the hospital. We got there early to start a pediatric laparoscopy for bilateral undescended testes at 8AM, but we didn’t get going ‘til about 10AM. Here in Nigeria they are on Africa time and things happen at a certain pace, so it is best to relax and go with the flow…

We assisted with multiple VVF and vesico-uterine fistula repairs (all secondary to obstetrical complications). It was very interesting to see the techniques used by Drs. Langmeng and Chima to repair these so called straight forward cases. I would hate to see the complicated cases!!

We also watched a couple of vaginoplasties for FGM. We put our heads together and thought that a buccal graft to augment the dilated vagina might be helpful so we will perform one tomorrow. One of the local gynecologists had a case of a mullerian abnormaility with a shortened vagina which we all agreed likely needed an intrabdominal procedure to bring down the uterus (after some vaginal dilation).

We left the OR well after dark and were back to the guesthouse by around 845 PM. We settled down to a Mexican feast. Sherri was especially excited by the tacos, as she had made the request the previous day. We were tired, so no chichat or Sodoku, and we were off to bed (to the sweet melodies of the local dogs).

Lesson of the Day:
When the OR lighting is dependant on the daylight from the windows, try to finish before dark.

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 6)

Feb 27, 2008 – Day 6

Awoke with French toast and syrup on the table, we were all ready for a hearty breakfast knowing that another long day lay ahead….

The majority of the physicians’ time was now being spent at the OR, with Pauletta slaving away at the urodynamics and Sherri trying desperately to keep us all organized. We started the day off with a mid-shaft hypospadias for which we performed a TIP repair with Bill Ardill, the general surgeon missionary from California, looking on. We carried out another PV sling (thankfully more straightforward), and a urethral dilation to finish off the shorter day in the OR than yesterday.

After dinner we were serenaded with music at a loud volume until about 10pm by the other group staying at the guesthouse. Sherri, 10th degree black belt in Soduku, challenged Tom (a lowly green belt) to winner takes all, battle royal, soduku cage match. It really ended up in a nasty way with pencils being thrown and bloody paper cuts on both sides. We managed to pull them both apart and send to their rooms for a timeout. We all fell asleep exhausted after a full day and evening activities.

Lesson of the Day:
Use C Batteries wisely, misuse may cause shocking and corrosive results!

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 5)

Feb 26, 2008 – Day 5

We started off the day with a hearty pancake breakfast. It is surprising how easily Rachel and Helen (our hosts here at the Baptist guesthouse) manage to put together authentic American cuisine each and every day for us. We packed down a couple of flapjacks and caught a ride with trusty Ezekil to the Evangel hospital.

We broke up into a couple of groups with Pauletta , aka Jummai(which is her Hausa name) carrying on with the urodynamics. She keeps telling us Jummai means Friday, but we are all pretty sure there is a more ominous meaning….

Sherri, Susan and Catherine carried on with seeing some patients who were not seen the previous day. They were again quite busy – the bature doctors are very popular here.

We were segregated along gender lines as the boyz(Tim, Tom and Kurt) went to the OR to start the first case of our trip – a urethroplasty. We managed to provide excellent exposure of the urethra prior to the placing the buccal graft in an onlay fashion that was a new technique to the surgeons here. Susan joined us for a couple of very difficult PV slings using fascia lata in women who had numerous VVF repairs. It was a reminder that operating on patients who have undergone multiple procedures is a humbling experience.

We returned to the guesthouse with one less team member, as Kurt had to return to the US for a conference. He will be missed by many, but not me. We learned over dinner that the constant sand in the air (causing dust and dirt to accumulate quite quickly on everything), is actually sand from the Sahara known as Harmatan. We with our brains full to the brim with all the information we can handle as we drop off to a restful sleep thinking of…………

Tim’s Lesson of the Day:
No matter how good the tissue looks, always remember the patient has had 3 previous repairs…

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 4)

Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times
Feb 25, 2008 – Day 4

We were up early enough this morning to eat and be off to the VVF center just after 8AM. Again another enthusiastic greeting from the patients at the center. We got off to a slow start, blowing dust off the UDS machine and setting up the area/corner of the office where we would be examining the women. We did have some difficulty with the UDS pump and blowing from fuses. After we had abandoned the pump and attempted to set up a system to document the patients, we began to examine the patients…

Despite some more hiccups in the system and some other changes we managed to see approximately 60 VVF patients in about 5 hours…not bad! During that time, we also saw 6 male patients. We booked a full OR day for tomorrow in the first 2 hours of seeing patients.

Lunch provided us with our first taste of pounded yam – the local staple. It is pretty bland, but they put a sauce on it to spice it up. It was served with an unknown meat and we didn’t ask. Everyone is so nice and accommodating, we really feel appreciated.

We returned to the guesthouse for a quick meal (including the last of the yummy chocolate cake), and we were off to the internet café. We were all suffering from a bad case of internet withdrawal and thought we should take care of the tremors prior to operating on anyone tomorrow. We all pitched in and helped Pauletta with her algebra, probably driving down her average. What do you get when you have 5 MDs doing algebra homework? Probably a D+….

We retired to the guesthouse and dropped into bed…. And thought of the first of a regular series…..“Tim’s Lesson of the Day”:

Dogs that look unhappy about your arrival during the day, like to bark all night (and by all night I mean from 9pm until 7am).

Tim “Blogman” Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 3)

Feb 24, 2008 – Day 3

After a legendary battle with an enormous mosquito, I dropped off to sleep….we were for the most part able to sleep well. We awoke to find Susan and Tom had successfully arrived on the 5:30am BA flight from London and joined us for a quick breakfast before we departed for Jos.

The ride to Jos was reminiscent of my last trip to Busch Gardens. We acted like a bunch of awkward fifth graders and decided to ride in gender segregated cars (Tom thought that the girls had cooties). The football chatter and grunting died down as we were humbled by the sights that surrounded us. No matter how many documentaries you have seen about Africa, you are astounded by how little these people have. It is impossible to put it into words the sights of the shacks that families share here. It didn’t help the mood in the car when we almost took our last breath with some crazy near death driving experiences. Fortunately, we were not around when a gasoline truck jackknifed on the road and was wedged between the hills surrounding the road. We had to detour through someone’s front lawn to get through. The biggest failure of the trip is we unsuccessfully tried to snap a pic of the oxen traveling alongside the road in several spots. A planted government forest was also interesting as the rows of the trees went on forever in perfectly straight lines. We arrived without a scratch and settled down at our guesthouse for the afternoon and evening.

Shortly after arriving we traveled down to the ECWA Evangel VVF center to drop off some supplies and were greeted by one of the most thankful group of patients. I have never experienced anything like that as a crowd of women are reaching out their hands. It was a glimpse of what celebrities experience. It truly touched each of us and I will never forget it. We then returned to the guesthouse for dinner. To our pleasure Dr. Sunday Lengmang and Sister Rose joined us for dessert. We sat and watched the outstanding movie by the IVUmed group and James Kenney – “The Women of Evangel”. After such a full day we were happy to drop off to a well deserved rest as we knew that we would have a long day ahead…..

Tim Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Tim’s Daily Nigerian Times (Day 1/2)

Feb 22/23, 2008 – Day 1/2

Welcome to the blog of the IVUmed trip to Nigeria of 2008. We have just arrived in Abuja (the capital of Nigeria) from various locations around the US. Sherry Young and Pauletta Hampton set off from Tucson…and without a hitch arrived at Chicago O’Hare. They were joined by Catherine deVries who also had an uneventful flight from Salt Lake City. I (Tim Davies) had flown in from Norfolk and spied 3 women who matched their descriptions (from the FBI’s most wanted list). I managed to get up the courage to speak to 3 lovely women, and for the first time in my life…a group of women didn’t tell me to get lost! Having made the introductions we caught our flight to Frankfurt.

On arrival in Frankfurt(at 6am local time), we stopped for a pleasant sit down breakfast with Pauletta choosing the Munich breakfast. Nothing like starting your day off with 2 boiled German sausages, a pretzel and some mustard! The rest of us wimped out with some more standard fare. However, all of us did get treated to the traditional European form of greeting known as the $30 breakfast. Danke!

A few hours later we caught our flight to Abuja and surprisingly arrived on time with all of our baggage. The flight from Frankfurt was beautiful – I can’t remember the last time I spent hours peeking outside the windows of an airplane. It started with the towering peaks of the Alps and the clear skies continued over the Mediterrean. I, having never been to Africa, was stunned by the never ending sand dunes of the Sahara desert.

After a benign trip through immigration and customs, we met our drivers, Ezekiel and Ben at the airport. We traveled into Abuja to spend the night at a local guesthouse run by a missionary couple. The car ride into town was eye opening. Fires and garbage by the (paved) roadside and vans/buses stopping on the shoulder as cars zip closely by at 60-70 mph. Lots of people everywhere – buying bags of water, sprinting across the street, waving hello, sharing a laugh at a roadside table.

We retired to the guesthouse to enjoy a meal of lip lik’n good chicken and fries. A few hours later, Kurt McCammon joined us here in Abuja after a trouble-free KLM flight from Norfolk via Amsterdam. He enjoyed the leftover fried chicken – made him feel like he had never left Virginia. But he did claim that he

Unfortunately, Tom Hicks and Susan Kalota were not as lucky. They had to reschedule their flights and were now traveling through London (instead of meeting Kurt in Amsterdam). We are planning to meet them first thing in the morning at the airport as we travel up to Jos tomorrow.

Tim Davies

~Catherine deVries

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Roadside market on the way to Kumasi



~Stephanya Shear

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