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.