Thursday, May 12, 2011

Whatever we are doing

... For the Lord ... COUNTS!
May 12, 2011

[My attempt to get Pam to be my guest blogger worked.  She seldom gets to enjoy firsthand many of the adventures I have here in Uganda.  She hears and reads about them in my blog.  She does so much and seldom gets headlines.  We wouldn't have these adventures without her.  I really wanted her to be a part of the continuing story of Joshua and his mother, and since our cook was sick today and we could eat late tonight, I invited her to go to the hospital with me.  Below are her reflections.  By the way ... I did get some photos of Joshua's mother, before, and presently.]

Near death yesterday
Sometimes you have to BE in the place of grace in order to receive it.  As Paul reported to me his adventure last night, of taking a dying woman from the village to the hospital,  I was sure I had missed something besides just being there with him.  I could see he had a grace for much that was distasteful and annoying.  To be honest, I wasn't so sure that I would have wanted to be there with him.  As he relayed the story of human suffering, gross neglect, and the corruption at the government hospital, I felt my own blood boil with the injustice of it all.  And as it boiled, I realized I did not have a measure of grace.  I was glad, for the nurse's sake, that I was NOT at the hospital at that very moment.

So today when Paul told me he was going to run by the hospital, to check on the condition of Joshua's mother, I asked if I could come along.  He had been thinking the same thing.  It's good to be IN the moment, instead of just hearing about it.  We found the woman in a private room, hooked up to a catheter and an IV and laying there with her eyes wide open.  Quiet, but awake.  She was being attended to by what I would call an angel.  He was a young man from the village where she was found.  He is not related to her, but he was caring for her.  He had stayed with her all night and except for one hour, had been with her all day.  He'll be there again through this second night.  His name is Daniel.  He is full of grace and we are grateful.

Survived!  The next 48 hours will tell the story
As we were at this clinic, we met several of the doctors and nurses who have been caring for this woman.  (And I just realized that I do not even know her name.)  Dr. Azhir was the main doctor who attended her.  He was not working last night, but 'just by chance' came by the clinic (which they refer to as a hospital)  for something.  His phone was off, and he had received no calls from the clinic.  As I was thinking that it was 'just by God' that he had come, he was thanking us for the way we had loved this woman and saved her life.  He was very clear that she would have died if she had not been rescued when she was.  In fact, he went on to say that if she survives the next 48 hours, she should be okay. Wow!  Unbelievable, considering the condition in which she was found.  She was seriously dehydrated, hypoglycemic, and one more term that I cannot remember.  She also suffered from a serious loss of  blood, and had already been given two units.

A read doctor with compassion for patients
The doctor reported that none of the nurses wanted to touch her due to the terrible condition in which she arrived.  She was dirty and had been without food or water for days.  She had all the complications of someone who has not been able to move from the ground to a toilet.  She needed some serious bathing.  But he said "Oh come on" as he pulled on his gloves and took preventive measures to deal with a patient who may be a carrier of some seriously contagious disease.  He led the way and when they saw him respond they followed his lead and began to care for her every need.  She has jiggers in her feet and legs.  It's a terrible condition.  Her feet and legs are currently covered in vaseline to soften her diseased skin for removal without causing bleeding.  She has to have drops put in her mouth to soften and heal her throat from the length of time she went without water.  She is in such a tenuous condition that she has to be propped up to take sips of water to prevent it from getting in her lungs.

Blair and Robyn and I spent the day today with Matt and Kristi doing some sightseeing and relaxing before they leave on Saturday to go home to the U.S.  Sitting in the late afternoon at the clinic was a mix of laughter, with Peter our driver who is terribly funny, and the seriousness across the small concrete patio, where the woman was being cared for and checked and her son Joshua who is fighting typhoid fever. It reminded me of life.  It's a constant mix of many things, some we love and some we are pained from.  But God gives us grace for each thing that comes our way.  Grace for good times, and grace for hard times.  Paul was given a grace to deal with the unexpected discovery of a dying woman in need.  My grace that day was for housekeeping, guests, and delays.

Jiggers ... a terrible condition
Our son, Jeff, had shared an encouragement with us the night before about the story of Dorcas.  His point was that  what God gives for each of us to do, counts for Him.  It's no small thing.  So don't compare what He gives you to do with what He gives others to do.  It all counts for Him.  I can rest in that.  And there is grace.

Joshua receiving treatment for painful typhoid fever

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