Well, this is our last week in Soddo for a while.  It is really hard to believe that we have spent the entire year of 2011 in Africa and several months on either side.  When we left America in November 2010, I couldn’t even put my hair in a pony tail…and now it is 5 inches past my shoulders.  We have been here a long time.  When we left America, Lydia couldn’t walk and now she does everything by herself, runs everywhere and has an amazing vocab.  When we left America, Nathan wasn’t peeing on the potty and now both kids are pretty much fully potty trained.  When we left America, Paul had never been hospitalized and now he has had several hospital bed experiences.  When we left America, the PAACS apartment building was still a dream and a few hundred thousand dollars from becoming a reality, and now they are about to pour the foundation.

It has been good to be here so long and have so much continuity in what we have been working on and see so many things happen at the hospital and with the PAACS program.  We are looking forward to our time at home and to sharing a lot of these details with you.  We have sent out our latest news letter and many of you should get it this week.  I will post it online later this week, which will include our stateside schedule.

We have many things planned for this week.  The hospital kitchen staff will have us over for lunch and a coffee ceremony.  We will finish packing up our bags and packing up our house, since other people will live here while we are gone.  Paul has several big cases this week, including a man with a sublingual salivary gland cancer that will require splitting his mandible to resect, followed by a neck dissection, and will probably need a pectoralis major myocutaneous flap to reconstruct the floor of his mouth…wow.  And he is trying to organize a few projects before he leaves too.  I have a tube feed patient that I have been making food for and I will need to train someone to do that before I leave.  The patient has tetanus from something he stepped on and is basically unconscious, unable to swallow and has very bad spasms.  Paul put in a G-tube for feeding and the internist said he will probably be out of it for about 2 weeks.  Pray for him to not get pneumonia or any complications from the feeding and that he will be able to turn the corner soon.  So, here is your local public service announcement…if you haven’t gotten a tetanus shot in the last 10 years, go and do it!

Here is a sneak peek at our home schedule:

We have also planned an open house in Houston for anyone in the Houston area to come by and visit us.  It will be near downtown Houston on Saturday, March 24th from 11am to 3pm.  Come and go as you like and kids are welcome.  For the exact address please email us at paulandbecca@gmail.com. We would love to see any of you in the Houston area, our time there is short…so please let me know if you can come on the 24th!

Look forward to seeing many of you face to face soon!

love,

Becca and Paul

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