This week I’m back

I don’t know, it has been almost two months since I posted.  It is not as if I have nothing to say, just that saying it publicly seems to have lost its urgency.  But since I do want to share some of my experience in the Congo, this does seem a good place to do it.

young boy

The kids out there are great.  As you can see they are not camera shy and they loved getting their pictures taken and then seeing them on the digital screen. This is one of the boys from the neighbourhood in Gemena where I spent a week.  Every day when we returned from class, the kids would come running to greet us.

World Vision is starting up a project in this area of the Congo.  More on this another post.

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Filed under Africa, Photos

What’s Going On Here?


I did not expect to wake up to this!


It is a good day for a Sabbath. 

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Filed under Day to Day, Photos

Another turn around the loop

Every day of this new gig of mine up in Edmonton feels as if it is another loop of a high speed roller coaster ride.  I step into the seat and strap myself in as I leave PA. That first day of five and a half hours of travel is just the warm up.  At this point there is just me and my bags in the seat.  But the next day we pick up speed and hit the top of the next loop by noon.  From that dizzying height we start on the really wild part of the ride and by the time we hit bottom at full speed I am wondering if I will survive the pace. 

Today the loop was smaller.  I had a traveller with me for the uphill ride this morning, another joined me in the afternoon and the rest of the day was mostly a breeze.  Getting an order of service ready seemed pretty tame. 

Tomorrow we head around another loop in this three week ride.  A long loop anticipated and the speeds may exceed that of Monday.  No, maybe nothing can beat that.

Its good.  Its exhausting.  It seems as if God shows up around every bend in his incredible ways. 

Now, if I didn’t have a long paper and a final exam looming in the next few weeks it would be perfect.

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Filed under church, Ministry, Studying

It always happens on a Friday

That is when the really interesting cases show up.  Or the ones that have not come for the past eight years. 

Today was about bleeding profusely.  Now some bleeding is normal after an extraction but it should not keep up for three days.  Everyone was quite concerned.  I was too.  And I was very happy that I had not done the surgery.  That had been the oral surgeons job. 

So I called him and got the usual advice about pressure, etc and packing the socket.  Stuff I already knew.  I was hoping for some magic trick.  Instead I did pretty much as advised.  Removed suture, packed and replaced suture. Perhaps it was the adrenalin in the local anaesthetic, maybe the tighter suture or even the firmly held pressure, but it did finally stop bleeding.

Then we went on with the rest of our backed up day.

It reminded me again of working in the Congo.  I learned the hard way to stop bleeding one night.  The extraction had been difficult and some tearing had occurred down on the inside of the last bottom molar.  It was nicely stitched back up but that night I got a call from the clinic nurse.   — was bleeding, please come.  So off I went  and by lamp light examined my patient.  Indeed there was blood!  The nurse set up an IV of saline. That time I also had to reapply sutures and lots of pressure.  I recall sitting there with my finger on the bleeding wound like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the leaking dike.  And praying.  For all I was worth.  And we all survived. 

Bleeding can be scary.  I learned to be very cautious if I had a lingual tear.  I learned that a patient can lose a significant quantity of blood from a tooth socket.  I learned that pressure can stop most any bleeding.  And I learned that God hangs around while I learn my lessons and lets me lean on him. 

And those scary lessons learned have over time transformed into confidence which lets me  in turn calm the anxieties of my patients.  Maturity has got to count for something.

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Filed under Dealing with stuff, Dental

Blogging hiatus

It has been over a month.

Something about blogging just does not call to me like it used to. I guess that is just the way things go. I still enjoy reading the blogs of the friends I know here but even that I am not so faithful at. Forgive me.

Life has just gotten in the way and it has become less important to write about it than to spend time just doing it.

But still there is something about writing out the thoughts of my heart that I want to do. It is good for me to do too. So I will try and return here.

The focus may change. That is, you may get more contemplative thoughts. If I have them.

Less activities. Maybe I will get back to photos again since they record things I feel in a visual way.


Talk to you later – hopefully not a month from now. I’ll try and do better than that.

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Filed under Day to Day, Photos

Red Sky


Yesterday I made a trip to Saskatoon for the White Coat Ceremony for the 2nd year students at the College of Dentistry.  This is basically a time before they begin treating live patients when they vow to practice their new profession ethically.  This year the first class of the college was invited to cloak the students since this is our 40th anniversary since graduating. 

As I pointed out to the other 6 of my classmates who were there, we left behind our own legacy, notably the “Boot Play” trophy which is still passed on to the student who makes the biggest gaff of the year.  Like we did – to the student who left us to join the Med students.  We had other disasters we celebrated later with much laughter – the gold crown getting its final polish that was sucked up into the vacuum system and the long hair that got entangled in the old belt driven slow speed handpiece.  Those were the days!

Our class were the pioneers, making do in temporary quarters, learning to improvise when we lacked some tool.  Good training.  As Jim said we were a “first class” first class.  Yesterday seven of us were there for the ceremony but all ten of us are living and the seven of us that were there still are practicing to some degree. 

I spent the rest of the day applying for a new passport, had supper with Sara and saw her new lodging – way out on the south end of Saskatoon – a place that did not exist the last time I drove south of town.  Then decided to spend the evening with Dave, Annette and kids; watched a movie and slept over. 

Which is why I was up and driving home when the sun came up.  I took advantage of a day with no fixed agenda to drive off the beaten track and snap the red sky as the sun came over the fields and forest.

IMGP0966 second rev

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Filed under Day to Day, Dental, Family, Photos, Travels

Semi-retirement perks

I was only in the dental office one day this week, only spent one real day at the church plus a few hours here and there.  The rest of the week I have been getting ready. I have been able to clean a bit in my office at home – much needed.  Wrapped all the presents.  Usually I’m doing that last minute while yelling at everyone to stay out of the bedroom.  Since no one else was homeI got to do my wrapping this year on the dining room table. Way better than the bedroom floor.

Tomorrow the kids come home – except for Rachelle, Asen and Ronin (sigh).  They will be home in a couple of weeks though. 

We should be 22 around the table(s) tomorrow night.  Then we all will head over to the church for the candlelight Christmas Eve service.  Back home after for our gift opening.  We will be up very late I suspect.  Sunday morning we will (Leo and I at least) get up for a casual breakfast/Sunday/Christmas Day service.  It will be good to worship our Saviour with the other brave souls who venture out.

Then I will crash and just chill out the rest of the day.  If I get my way.


It would have been nice to have some snow for Christmas but they are predicting +2 or so and I suspect not much snow will remain.  Shouldn’t complain – better than –40.

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Filed under Christmas, church, Family