I Feel Super!

In the female ward Esther’s phone rang.   It was her older sister who had been at Esther’s bedside every day during her 3-week hospitalization.  I heard her speak to Esther in Liberian English then ask, “howa you?”  Esther, who one week earlier was fighting for her life, smiled brightly and answered, “I feel fine…I feel super!”  Esther (not her real name) was admitted to ELWA hospital in mid December after she developed a fever and collapsed.  Her sister told us that she had become increasingly weak over the past year and was vomiting frequently and losing weight.  In the ER she was fading in and out of consciousness with a temperature that exceeded 103 degrees.  Her blood work showed severe malaria and her HIV test was positive.  After a week of IV fluids, antibiotics and antimalarial medication, Esther became increasingly alert and was able to eat.  She was seen by the HIV counselors at the hospital.  After gaining a clear understanding of her illness and the importance of taking her medication, she began anti-HIV therapy.  Shortly after starting the medication, Esther became critically ill again, a condition brought about by the reconstitution of her ailing immune system. With diligent nursing care and continued antibiotics and fluids, slowly her strength returned.

IMG_2317Little C.K. is a one-month old infant who is pictured here on his day of discharge from the hospital.  C.K. presented to the emergency room with sepsis and severe malaria.  (One in twelve children in Liberia die before the age of 5 and the most common cause is malaria.  This disease is responsible for taking the lives of nearly 4 thousand Liberians each year).  Little C.K. had not fed well for a week and by the time we saw him he had a high fever and was barely conscious.  After a week of aggressive care in the hospital he began to recover.  He was vigorous, feeding well and gaining weight at the time of discharge.  What this photo does not capture is the huge smile of relief on mom’s face.  She realized that her child had come close to death and she left the hospital repeatedly giving thanks to God for saving her child.

It is a blessing to be here in Liberia, caring for patients like Esther and C.K. whose lives have been touched by the caring staff at ELWA hospital.  We see infants with malaria, typhoid, diarrhea and sepsis, children who have been struck by cars, and adults with stroke, HIV, abdominal infections and tetanus.  The intensity of illness and injuries here is a constant reminder of life’s fragile nature and the importance for our team here at ELWA hospital to continue to share Christ’s love with those that we serve.

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11 Comments

Filed under Family Updates

11 responses to “I Feel Super!

  1. Lynn Rastaetter

    John & Family,
    Thanks for this update on the wonderful work you and the staff at ELWA are providing…I will share with the congregation at OPC. Please know there are many of us keeping your family and
    your ministry in our prayers.
    Blessings ~ Lynn Rastaetter (Ojai Presbyterian Church)

  2. Art and Sonia Beals

    How rewarding this must be for you! A big difference from your serving as Medical Director of a large Ventura hospital to be on the “cutting-edge” of life-and-death medical crises. God’s affirmation of your obedience to His Call. Love you!

  3. Helen Ernt

    Love hearing the good news. In the midst of so much bad news, how wonderful to know that God has planted you in Liberia because He loves the Liberian people and wants to reveal Himself to them.

  4. Joanne Kegel

    Thank you for sharing your day to day life with us “. Be blessed and be a
    blessing “is speaking about your lives in Liberia.

  5. Robert and Fimy Durham

    It is good to know how you are making a difference in the lives of people in Liberia. I pray that all is well with you and your family.

  6. Huebs are loving the posts! Keep them coming. Rich Blessings to the Fanks. xoxo

  7. Trula Kinseth

    It blesses my heart to hear of your work in Liberia. God has a plan of outrageous blessing for you and you family. He is already doing mighty things through you. Your willingness to go and serve is such an encouragement to us here. Know that you are not only making a difference in Liberia but, you are impacting us at home and at VCMC. Your work is touching the lives of so many that you are not aware of. Shalom and please, keep on posting, Trula

  8. Ruthanne Rusnak

    My heart rejoices in your report. You are able to do so much more than we could in 1981 in South Sudan with no hospital, doctors, electricity, not even running water. I look forward to more updates from the whole family.
    Ruth

  9. Bob Gonzalez

    I read your blog entry with tears in my eyes. I want to write some significant and meaningful note to you but my words fail me. Please know that I am so proud of what you are doing and see it as one of the most meaningful things that a family (and a doctor) can do to serve others in God’s name. I hope you have the time and energy to share more of your work and thoughts from Liberia. It inspires us all.

    Bob G.

  10. bebe betker

    God bless you for your work in Liberia–you are lifting up the whole human race!!!

  11. Jill Grosvenor

    Well done and thank you for doing this good work.

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