The final stages...
And just like that it's all over! On arrival 7 weeks in PNG sounded like a fairly sizeable amount of time - longer than I'd ever done outside the UK before. But now on the other side of the trip, I can't quite believe it's already finished.
What a blessing this experience has been! I've learned loads and also had a fantastic time doing so.
Since my last update work in the hospital has continued to be exciting and unpredictable. One of the best things about working in a fairly small and very supportive team has been getting to try new things with close supervision - I am grateful for the chance to have drained some abscesses, debrided some wounds, done way more suturing than I have done previously, as well as assisting in some remarkable operations. Perhaps most notably was removing a 15 kg (yes 15 kg!) pus-filled kidney secondary to likely abdominal TB - one of those 'I'll almost certainly never see this again' moments.
I have also been on another health patrol to the bush, this time to a place called Malumanda. We spent 3 days there seeing a variety of patients. Amid a number of other opportunities, I got the chance to perform my first ultrasound-guided knee aspiration - we were able to drain about 70 mLs of fluid. Their knee looked much less swollen for it! We reckon the fluid was probably associated with previous trauma and possible ligament rupture, but in the bush it's hard to get confirmation of these things! We were able to bring a mother late on in a high-risk pregnancy back to Kompiam District Hospital with us for supervised delivery as well as child who was a very perplexing case. Whilst there we screened a documentary on HIV as part of an ongoing patrol educational initiative. Patrols are also a great time for rubbing shoulders closely with the ways local people live (eating in cookhouses, washing in the river etc).
Outside the medicine joining in with footy, volleyball, basketball, river trips and so on has been great fun. I am sad my time leading the teenage lads' Bible study has come to an end, but thank the Lord for another doctor arriving just as I was leaving who will take over from me.
For me now it's back to the UK for my sister's wedding, some camping and getting involved with a Christian camp before starting as an FY1 in late July.
Thank you so much for your prayer support. Some concluding prayer requests:
1) Thank the Lord for a great trip!
2) Pray for the ongoing work at Kompiam - healthcare, Bible studies, evangelistic opportunities etc
3) Pray for the team there to keep serving Lord wholeheartedly and sacrificially (some of them pictured below - team cannula practice session)
4) Thank God I've got to the end of the trip and am left wanting more - and pray for wisdom for what I do with that feeling in the future!