There were several medical events this week in which Tom was involved because the patients were all Francophones and the Area Medical Advisor doesn’t speak French. A brother’s wife was ill with stomach pains, so they were asked to come (slowly) to the Area office where there is a small exam room. She had been told she had “ulcers” in the past (but apparently a lot of people get that diagnosis locally without any evidence to support it). She also had a fever, had thrown up (no blood), and the pain was going into her back. Her temp was 38.5 C, mid/upper abdominal tenderness but no guarding or rebound. Normal bowel sounds. We were able to do a spot test for malaria which was negative. We had a working differential diagnosis of GI flu versus gallstones, with an outside chance of early pancreatitis. What to do? The labs used locally were closed by then and the hospital would be too expensive (no option for a WBC count or amylase or ultrasound). We loaded her up with antacids and an H1 blocker, and added a pain killer with instructions to take her to the hospital if things got a lot worse overnight. The next day she was much better. Another young sister fainted in the temple after a session. Without any other signs or symptoms and a brief exam, she was advised to go back to the Ancillary building to rest and take some fluids. She did another session later the same day. The AMA saw some other patients from the group and did diagnose one case of malaria.
A local church leader from Kumasi, the only member in his family, went home last Saturday for the funeral of his older brother. Funerals are a big event in Ghana. Sometimes the deceased are kept in a cooler for months while the family saves up enough for the traditional events. As part of the ceremonies for this family, the men remove their shirts and go bare-chested. In order to avoid having to do that, because of the garment, he decided to wear a jumpsuit. When he arrived, he was kidded about wearing a jumpsuit like the first Ghanaian president (Nkrumah) liked to do, but he didn’t go bare-chested. The next morning he decided to slip in to the local stake conference, where Elder Bednar was speaking. He was recognised by someone on the stand, invited to sit there, and later in the meeting was asked by the Area President to speak spontaneously on “tradition versus the gospel”. He had some wonderful things to say about his own experience.
As part of the Africa Wide Day of Service yesterday, our ward went to a local school for handicapped children to do some general cleaning. There are no government-provided services for the handicapped in Ghana so this is a private school. Children are currently out for summer vacation until Sept. 5. We were provided the famous yellow Helping Hands vests and did a lot of sweeping of rooms, dusting, washing windows, mowing lawns, etc. Although by the time school starts again there will probably be more dust and leaves to gather up, we did expend lots of energy and felt it was a much cleaner place when we left. On our way home we passed another group in yellow vests cleaning up a roundabout.
Tom was working in the temple one evening when the proxy presented a deceased name of Anna -with a distinctly Ukrainian family name - who was born in 1908 in Alberta. Her parents would have been in the first wave of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada. How that name came to the Accra Temple is a mystery (neither of us has seen temple file names from Alberta before) but Tom felt that she was present in spirit to be a part of that ordinance, and that he was privileged to participate, being one of the few here who would have any connection to her name.
Sue recently concluded the washings and anointing for 2 women on the Proctor line from 1688. Friday evening we were in a Temple Sealing with Elder Nash from the AWA Presidency. At the altar, I could feel those women saying thank you . It is with deep humility that we participate in the Lord’s work.