Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How Connected We Are

Bundibugyo, Uganda
Volume 2, Issue 20
December 12, 2007

-How Connected We Are-
…when oceans seem like small puddles…

I have truly been amazed at the mass of e-mails and phone calls I’ve received over the past week. People from all over the world have reached across oceans and internet portals to encourage and connect. Phone calls from various doctors in Uganda, e-mails from mothers in California, words of encouragement from people in Washington, Bible references from a lady in Colorado, numerous e-mails from students at Arcadia University – all people I didn’t know, as least not until now. It’s truly phenomenal how wonderful your words have been.

Life continuous to go by, each day different than the previous, though all unexpected and bizarre in various ways. I do well when I have structure in my life, but since the Ebola outbreak my life has been anything but structured. Trying to plan months ahead is nearly impossible as I can barely figure what I am supposed to be doing today. Though, I must admit, the stress level has been extremely high yet there is such a sense of adventure and excitement in all this. Sure, there is a helping dose of reality that I am working in Ebola central and people are dying everyday, but when am I ever going to gain this experience again (hopefully never).

A word to the Arcadia University PA and PA/MSPH students out there – this could be you! I was sitting in that classroom in Brubaker Hall not that long ago, as I just graduated in 2006 with my MMS and MSPH degrees. Only a few years ago I was sitting in epidemiology class watching a video about Ebola, thinking to myself, this stuff is so theoretical and not that applicable to what I will be doing. Now here I am in the middle of an Ebola outbreak conversing with epidemiologists from WHO, CDC, MSF, and the Ministry of Health! Epidemiology seemed so incredibly boring and mundane as I was trying to figure it out as a student, but now, it’s so remarkable to see the first hand surveillance going on.

Today I was the primary clinician at the large HIV/ARV gathering, and I saw the patients in the pediatric ward (there was only 5). I even had to put an external jugular in a 1 year old because his hemoglobin was 3.0 and no one could get a vein anywhere else after two hours and seven multiple used canulas later….you just never know what each day is going to bring or how your life will meander. All this being said, good luck students during your final exams and rotations. I wish you all successful careers as Arcadia alum. My Arcadia University education has served me well.

Tonight I was playing with some local kids, the first time in many days as people have feared me and I have been very cognizant of this. Anyways, what ensued was well over an hour of flips, summersaults, literally rolling in the dirt, dancing, and complete chaos. It was wonderful!!! I may be nearly 30 years old, but I can still do flips and no hand cart wheels with the best of them! At one point all the kids tried to tackle me, and they definitely succeeded. Imagine me laying flat in the dirt as 15 little Ugandan kids are piled on top of me, laughing, enjoying life, and I know I was laughing the loudest as Ebola troubles were drowned by children’s screams of joy. I was covered in dirt, but life is so good. Even in difficult times, the innocence and playfulness of children is as refreshing as cool water to a man severely parched.


Familygal925 said...

I'm an Arcadia student, and I'm sitting in my apartment listening to Christmas music while studying for finals thinking "here I am lounging on my couch...What must this guy be going through?" There you are in a foreign country, seeing people die every single day, and yet you stay positive. I guess you have to stay positive in order to survive and help others survive. It must be such a great experience over there. It must be scary and yet so exciting. What you're doing is amazing and I hope that things get better for you and Uganda.

wendy said...

Hello Scott! Linda Layton, Kelly's mom, shared with us here in Baltimore about your situation. We are confident of God's provision and will, yet concerned as well for your protection and health. Please know that we are praying for you. When will you return to the states? Do you have to wait until the Ebola is minimized? If you are able to respond, please send it to

My name is Wendy Barton, and my husband, Todd, is the youth pastor here at Arlington Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. Our church family will continue to pray for you and your ministry there.

God Bless,

Donna Agnew said...

Your journal entries have always been motivational and none more than the past few weeks. I am sorry for both your personal and community's loss in Dr. Jonah's passing.
I also want to thank you for being so diligent about posting on your blog, as it serves as a daily reassurance to your friends that you are doing well.
May grace carry you through this difficult time and, until our paths cross again, know that you remain in our thoughts and prayers back here in Brubaker.
Donna Agnew