Friday, September 24, 2010

Much Better Late Than Never

My little sister Kiersten is never early, fashionably and consistently late, but always good for her word. Before we left for Africa Kiersten and her husband Jason promised they would come visit. Twenty some months later they landed in Nairobi making good on their word. And what a wonderful visit it was.

Jason is an anethesiologist fellowship trained in regional blocks. As far as we know Kenya does not have any doctors trained in this subspecialty. Dr. Jason Ramirez was quickly popular, often grabbed by several anesthetists the moment he walked in the OR. Mornings he gave lectures to the 10-15 nurse anesthetists on anything from anatomy of regional blocks, to anesthesia in patients with head injury, to obstetrical anesthesia. Jason said the KRNA's "were like sponges..wanting to soak up information. But very quiet when asked a question, even though they knew the answer."

Jason's favorite part of medicine is managing the difficult issue of pain. Pain in Kenya I believe is often under-treated or not treated at all. Patients suffering from fractures lie in unpleasant wards for weeks in traction with little or no pain relief offered We assume Africans are tough or just prescribe a little paracetamol. Long acting regional nerve blocks to the upper and lower extremities placed by Dr. Jason had one child smiling and eating for the first time in days and another chronic pain patient walking comfortably (or at least assumed so as he could not be found bedside on rounds).

Below Jason is teaching the KRNAs how to give a patient a long lasting femoral nerve block before knee surgery.

Kiersten, an RN with masters in international health spent time with the community health HIV outreach team helping with medications. Kiersten learned to make Samosas and ran the trails with Sara. We also celebrated Kiersten's 3rd anniversary of her 29th birthday. She reclaimed the ever changing title of Amelia and Meredith's new favorite Auntie!

Kiersten and Jason did find time for visits to Safari (Kiersten said they couldn't stop smiling), Masai Market, Carnivore Restaurant, and above at Kazuri beads (Kazuri means little and beautiful... Jason's new nickname for Kiersten).

The best part of having Kiersten & Jason in Africa was that we remarkably became reacquainted in a way that would not happen in America. Without distractions, I remembered what a delightful little sister I have and what a joyful couple Kiersten & Jason have become. They were a blessing and encouragement to us. We will miss them.


Rhett, Megan, Claire, Ford & Gus said...

It has been a blessing for us to meet so many members of your family this last year! Kiersten and Jason fit right in (hint, hint) and we loved getting to know them a little bit while they were here!

Anonymous said...

I love this post, Malin. It gives me such a good introduction to Kiersten and Jason as a couple and all that they have to offer in the world. I understand that they loved their visit with you, Sara, and the girls and that it was difficult for them to leave you all. I have a family with ties like this and know the importance and the joy.

Thank you for the phone call while you were in town. I do hope that someday we can all sit around the same table and enjoy each other. Until then I will remain on my knees for your work and your lives.

I preciously call you and your family my Friends -
Kathy in Bend

Anonymous said...

They did have a wonderful time. We
saw their pictures on the TV last night in Denver. They shared a little bit of all that they saw and did with you and your family. Thanks so much for having them.
Mom F

Anonymous said...

In sticking with the better late then never theme, I thought it's about time I comment:) Thanks for the nice blog! I keep meaning to tell you that we didn't end up going to Carnivore's. We were short on time and talked out of it by our driver. Too expensive and all they have now is chicken, pork, beef, and ostrich:( We had pizza instead! Fun memories for sure! Love you,