Monday, February 1, 2010

Mzee

We really have no word quite like Mzee (prounounced Muh-zay) in English..but my patient is a Mzee. The word has many meanings including old man, elder male, respected leader, dignified, chief, grand-father, and ancestor; but I think the picture describes a Mzee better than words can. This Mzee had lived with a dental infection that progressed into a localized abscess and then a draining fistula our of his beard since August. I'll never know whether money, travel, misunderstanding, or denial prohibited him from visiting us for so long. The smell pretty much matched the sight and I can't imagine living this way for so many months.


Sara and I both fight pus quite frequently in our professions here at Kijabe. Sometimes it seems like pus is ubiquitous and that we do not always win the battle. Of course many treatment options exist. You can prescribe antibiotics and hope the pus is eliminated. You can directly incise the abscess and drain the pus. You can aspirate the pus using a needle and syringe. You can washout the pus with the liquid of your choice. Lastly, and probably the best treatment if possible is to remove the source of infection (usually for myself a tooth, for Sara a uterus, ovary, ectopic pregnancy, etc.) the necrotic tissue.

Sometimes, in the case of the Mzee we try everything including antibiotics, aspiration, incision and drainage, irrigation with Chlorohexidine and removing the diseased teeth and hope and pray it resolves.

7 comments:

Laffing Dawg said...

Wow. So hard to understand. Prayers will be with him.
Kathy

Jennifer said...

You and Darin could bond over stories of puss. :)

The Friess Family said...

I would agree..and sometimes we don't always win the battle with puss. I forgot the orthopedics favorite method of treatment is the washout--don't they say the key to pollution is dilution.

Sarah said...

Hi Dr. Friess,

I would LOVE to come back to Kenya. Hopefully someday, if not to live and do mission work, at least to visit. I think I was searching for pictures/info. about Kijabe Dental when I saw a picture of your family, it was unexpected and fun. Tell Naomi and the others 'hello' for me if you could! Thanks!

Sarah

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to see what people live with for who knows, as you said, what reasons. Pus, only one s, is one thing that would warrant a visit to the doctor just for the smell. Were you able to cure him or is it too early to know? You and Sara have had some very interesting blogs lately. Keep them coming.
Love, Grammie

hankwillisdds said...

Yep, only one "s" in pus. Gotta know how to spell "abscess", too.

But I love a good dental pus picture...

I've only had to deal with one extra-oral draining fistula (sinus tract stoma) in my career... that was fun to lance...

hankwillisdds said...

Oh, BTW, a good cheap way drain is a sterilized rubber band sutured in.