Updates and More Bike Rides

I apologize for the inconsistency of my blogging in the last few weeks. Life seems to be in a state of flux ever since we returned from the U.S.: someone is sick, plans are altered, staffing is changed, etc...

The last few weeks, writing has been more difficult than normal. I sense some strange combination of lack of inspiration, difficulty remaining focused, and an underlying tension I am yet to find the root of. I have been writing a lot, but the ideas require more work before they are ready to share. They will come together soon.

Physically, I am feeling great: thin, strong, and fast. I have been rising early to run at first light 3-4 days a week. The mornings are quiet, peaceful, and cool. The hot weather is allegedly breaking, but I am skeptical. Almost daily, I wish that I had my camera with me on my morning run as the sun rises and the fog burns off. Susan is even rising to run with me once a week.

Improvement, Change, and Excitement.

Patient Changes

  • One of our patients has returned home after 2 months of treatment for TB of the brain. 
  • A newer patient was admitted for possible re-infection with Cryptococcal Meningitis and abnormal blood work (this is a fungal infection of the brain that people with healthy immune systems do not get) . We hope for a quick return and that her treatment is effective.
  • A staff member found a weeks worth of medicines of one of our younger patients in his room. It is both frustrating and sad because he needs to take them every day to treat significant infections.  However, I am sure the side effects are awful and he takes nearly 50 pills per day. I hope we can teach him why the medicines are important and that we hope they are temporary, but his health is so precarious that that may not be true.

Other Updates 

  • Antonia (our primary, local support person) returns from her retreat today, we look forward to seeing her. 
  • A driver and a care center staff have both decided to leave the foundation this month. We will miss them and wish them well. Luckily our staff numbers are strong and the workload remains manageable.
  • I visited Sr. Mary on Tuesday and she appears to be in good form. Susan joined me for the visit as I drew her blood there was plenty of laughter. 
  • 2 staff members are having blessing ceremonies for their new houses. Koo Kate and her family will have had their house blessed by the time you read this. P. Bon is extremely excited to move into her home with her son, daughter, and granddaughter.

Another Bike Ride

Last night, Susan and I had quite an eventful bike ride. It was much like the last one I spoke of with high humidity and the smoke from houses hanging low, but a lot more talking. We visited a spot that I like to take pictures at, and then extended our ride though it was getting late.

We turned a corner and a man was walking his water buffalo - a common sight. As I passed, I noticed a curious look on one of the buffalo's faces and then he began to run toward us. We both stopped and stood behind our bikes and shouted "Yoot!" (stop). He stopped, and then we started to re-mount our bikes and it started at us again. I say started at 'us', but I think it was after Susan. The owner then walked toward it and raised his hand, sending it scattering away. For such giant animals, it seemed remarkably agile and fast.

Perhaps the bad omen should have turned us directly toward home, but we don't often heed signs of warning. We cruised along a common route, the sun was setting, and it was beautiful and stuff. We began to ride faster along the red clay road and Susan turned to take an action shot of the stationary sky. I turned forward and recognized the unmistakable sound of a loss of control, wipe-out, and slide - multitasking. Stopping and running back, I saw Susan wrapped in her bicycle and red clay, while posed like Pete Rose with neither hand on a base. Scuffed but not broken, she got up slowly and then I struggled to place chain back on sprocket.

A short 15 minutes later we resumed our return home in quickly receding light. She covered in red clay and scuff-marks, me covered in chain oil - a pair made for touching nothing, certainly not a camera. But the delay was not without reward. The fleeting light treated us to one of the most magnificent sunsets in memory. Vibrant oranges, subtle purples, and sharp fuchias against a teal backdrop; fading light painting the edges of clouds into a surreal mountain-scape. We made it home in near darkness: hungry, battered, dirty, but Whole.

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