Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On foot

"He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.  But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot."
Matthew 15:13...

Some nights on call I pray for nothing to happen.  Some nights so many things are happening that I find myself getting irritated when the phone rings, yet again, summoning me to another ill patient that I may or may not be able to help.  Sometimes I just want to get to a nice deserted place.

Lavina went into labor with her third child on a rainy Monday.  She felt pain come and go for eight days.  At that point, her baby presented its arm into her birth canal.  The baby was laying sideways and couldn't come out, so she went to her local health center in the Jimi valley outside of Kudjip. 

The Jimi sits north of Kudjip across a mountain range.  Most patients who come to Kudjip from Jimi spend two or three days walking through the mountains before getting access to a car that can take them the rest of the way here.  Though not deserted - it is certainly remote.

Kudjip to Hagen is 50 kilometers, on a road it takes an hour

At the health center, the nursing officer recognized that Lavina's baby had probably already passed away, and that it could not deliver vaginally which put Lavina's life in danger.  He referred her to our hospital.  Three days later she made it to Kudjip arriving in the middle of last Friday night, the 11th.

30 miles of this terrain, on foot, between the Jimi valley and Kudjip

I've recently started performing my own C-sections without surgical assistance from the other doctors on station.  On meeting Lavina in our delivery bay, my heart raced as I thought of managing this difficult operation for a baby that had already passed away and a mother whose life might be in jeopardy as well.  During Lavina's surgery, her blood pressure hovered precariously low.  Her baby had died, but Lavina survived her surgery.  I scrubbed my hands clean and went home after what was an exhausting night of call.

The next morning, Saturday, I got a call to evaluate Lavina before rounds.  She was gasping for breath with a low blood pressure.  I couldn't for the life of me come up with the reason she had done so poorly since her surgery.  I gave her medicine to reverse narcotic overdose and adrenaline to increase her blood pressure.  I left Lavina in the care of Dr Erin for the remainder of the day.

Two days later, on Monday, I quickly scanned the ward to Lavina's bed and dreadfully saw a different woman there.  Convinced she had died despite my best efforts, I started rounds.  When I got to bed number five, I was stunned to realize that Lavina, in fact, sat before me looking an entirely different person.  Her husband Daniel was at her side.  Rachel, one of our nurses, explained.  "Dr Mark, she never woke up on Saturday, but God touched her like magic.  Sunday morning she woke up and felt fine."

Lavina and Daniel, a miraculous healing

 I will, I hope, never pretend to understand why Daniel and Lavina have lost their child.  But I also hope that I never presume to take credit for the miraculous healings that happen in this place.  I don't feel God called me to heal everyone who walks through the doors at Kudjip.  However, I believe He moves His people with compassion - and that I have a responsibility to give my efforts for those He directs here.

Thank you for joining us and being part of the medicine and ministry here.

"... and when Jesus went out He saw the great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick."
Matthew 15:14

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