A day of Zeros

Zero – The Cd4 immune cell count of a young HIV positive man with a brain full of fungus. We’ve got a thousand of these CD4 immune cells, he’s got Zero. He was nearly dead when he arrived, but after some strong medication that hit his kidneys pretty hard, he made an incredible recovery!


His fungus under a microscope – psychadelic!

Zero – My experience with sickle cell disease before coming here. With this disease, your red blood cells change shape from a circle to a crescent moon, which causes all kinds of problems. My day began by seeing 4 unhappy, crying kids with the unfortunate condition. Luckily these kids generally bounce back well.


Normal Red Cell                    “Sickled” red cell

Zero – The number of platelets (blood clotting cells) another young man has. If you can’t clot your blood, you bleed everywhere. His red eyes, bleeding nose and bruised arm in the shape of our blood pressure cuff (oops) testified to that! Luckily 4 family members gave their blood for him and it looks like he’s going to be ‘good as’.

Patient Zero – Or we hope not. But its hard not to be a little bit scared of Ebola when an unconscious man who just came from the Congo (the home of many scary diseases) is bleeding from his nose in front of you. This hospital has a massive fear of Ebola as a massive outbreak in 2000 killed 13 staff.

Zero – The number of people that died on Lacor Medicine ward today – no small victory.

Thank God for a good day.

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3 Responses to A day of Zeros

  1. Jean Catherine Hollis says:

    Thank you for your powerful blog, Nick. Zero words to appropriately respond, but an increased sense of gratitude for the medical care that is available in NZ. We are so fortunate. Blessings my friend and may you have the strength to continue to be a blessing to others.

  2. Kaye says:

    It’s great that you’re able to remind us how fortunate we are Nick to be living in a country free of such diseases and poverty that we can only imagine. The people of Gulu are so fortunate to have you and the other medics there to provide healthcare that they otherwise wouldn’t receive. Kia Kaha.

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