Friday, July 19, 2019

Showers of Blessings

         When it rains, it pours. And in the midst of dry season any rain is a blessing. That is why we were so excited to unpack not one, not two, but FOUR shipping containers of donated supplies and equipment in the past few weeks. I have never seen so containers arrive at one time! Our new storeroom is overflowing with all the much-needed and generously donated supplies. 
    It started with a container of donated goods from Project S.A.V.E., a non-profit group that “collects, then re-distributes, quality recycled medical and dental equipment and supplies both locally and around the world, free of charge, in an effort to help people receive needed care who otherwise might not.” We were so excited to receive desperately needed bandages, surgery and anesthesia supplies, and much more. 

       The next container to arrive, from Nazarene Hospital Foundation, contained tons of donated medical equipment and supplies from a hospital in California that closed down last year. We have been blessed with an operating table and scrub sinks for the new Operating Theatre expansion, plus lots of equipment to outfit the new clinic and office areas. 

      Yesterday, we unpacked two containers simultaneously! The first was from Rotary Australia with donated patient beds for the new delivery ward expansion. The second is a container from Samaritan’s Purse with a new autoclave (sterilization machine) and parts to fix our broken one. 
  Today, a biomedical team from Samaritan’s Purse arrived to assemble the new machine and work on fixing the old one, along with sundry other machines that need new life around the hospital. What a huge shower of blessings! Praise God who supplies everything that we need in his perfect timing. Thank you to everyone who has worked diligently, donated, and prayed for these containers. They are a huge blessing that will enable the hospital to continue to reach out and touch lives for Christ. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

In God’s Hands

        Do you believe that God is in control? Do you believe all things happen for a reason?
Sometimes in the midst of heartache, pain, or grief it is difficult to completely trust the One who holds all things in His hands.  Last Friday was one of those days. The morning clinic ended early, so I caught up on some office work that had piled up in my absence. One of our surgical trainees was completing his weekly reading assignment on trauma, so we made plans to review those chapters after lunch. But on our way back from lunch, we were waylaid by an actual trauma in the Emergency Room. 
Kudjip Emergency Room
(photo credit: Matt Woodley)
      Three victims from a car accident were brought in simultaneously. Dr. Matt and Dr. Imelda immediately started assessing their injuries and triaging. When I saw the patient whom Dr. Imelda was examining, my heart sank. No matter how long you work in healthcare, nothing prepares you for seeing someone you know lying in the vulnerable position of a trauma patient in the Emergency Room.  Emilyn, a nursing student and daughter of Mr. White, the principle of our College of Nursing at Kudjip, appeared to be the most injured of the three. Dr. Imelda was just finishing an ultrasound scan which showed no signs of internal bleeding. Emilyn’s main complaints were neck and back pain along with a laceration on her forehead. I automatically started testing for sensation in her feet. 
       “Do you feel me pinching your feet?” 
My heart sank when she replied, “No.”
      “Move your toes”
      “I am moving them,” she responded, but there was no perceptible movement. 
She could feel the IV being placed in her arm, but her hands were very weak. 
      “No Lord!” I internally screamed. “Please don’t let her be paralyzed. Her family has already been through so much,” I silently pleaded as I remembered her mother’s funeral less than 2 years ago. Hearing her call my name, I looked up and without pause, the words slipped out of my mouth, “You’re going to be okay, Emilyn” 
         Oh no! Did I just make a promise I couldn’t keep?  I busied myself with finding a cervical collar and reviewing her paperwork and orders, but I couldn’t escape the question, would she be okay? The more I pondered this, the more I realized that the answer was not physical, but rather spiritual. No matter the physical outcome, do I believe that God is sovereign? Do I believe he has a plan for each of our lives? Do I believe God is faithful? Do I believe God is worthy of praise and honor and glory? Yes. No matter the physical outcome, Emilyn would be okay, because she knows and trusts the one who is faithful. 
          Recently, our pastor spoke about Job, a man who was righteous and blameless before God, yet lost all his possessions and his ten children in a single day. He didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this; rather it was a test of his faith. Would he turn and curse God? No. Job’s response in the midst of his grief was to fall on the ground and worship God. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21). Job trusted God so completely that he was able to release all his possessions and his family into God’s hands and simply worship God. What faith!
Dr. Imelda and I reviewing
an X-ray
         On a daily basis, I ask my patients to have the faith of Job, to release their cares, their sicknesses, their very lives into the hands of God and to worship Him whatever the outcome. My daily prayer over my patients is “Mipela lusim laip bilong em long han bilong yu, Bikpela, na yu ken kisim biknem long laip bilong em.” = We release their life into your hand, Lord, that you may receive glory through them. That was my prayer over Emilyn as well. No matter the outcome, may you be glorified in her, Lord. 
        I was slightly relieved when the x-rays showed no spinal fractures. I was even more encouraged when, a few hours later, Emilyn moved her big toe. We admitted her to the hospital with spinal precautions and lots of prayer. The next day, Emilyn was able to move her legs but not lift them against gravity. Then, she was able to sit up in a brace. The following day, she walked with assistance. Today, a week after her accident, she is back to full strength. Praise God for this miracle and answer to prayer!
Emelyn on her way to a full recovery.

       It is easy to praise God when we see his miraculous hand of healing and a good physical outcome. But recently one of my friends asked how I deal with the poor outcomes. My response: By remembering that God is sovereign. I treat with the best medical knowledge and skills that God has given me, placing the results in God’s hands. No matter the physical outcome, He is sovereign, He is faithful and He is worthy of praise.