Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Health Care in Congo

During the last two weeks my husband and I have been preparing for his upcoming surgery in two days, which includes office visits, consultations, viewing a DVD re various types of anesthesia, speaking with the anesthesiologist, getting registered at Beaumont, lab work, an EKG, and another round of antibiotics after a final ultrasound. Insurance benefits were reviewed by the hospital. Questions have been raised and answered. All in all having surgery involves process, education, and procedure.

Congo, on the other hand, is another story. In our driving back and forth from one office to another, an incident that occurred years ago in Congo has haunted me this week. I cannot shake its horror.

I wish it were fiction.

It's not.

It happened at a remote clinic with no sterile conditions. By remote, I mean remote. No electricity--ever. No running water. 450 miles due east from the capital city of Kinshasa, known as the bush. Topography of savannah, plains, rolling hills, no paved roads, no grocery stores, no gas stations, no department stores, no Home Depot, no Target (oh my), few cars, few trucks (ours), no big airports, no hospitals, no pharmacies, no drug stores. I told you it was remote.

The State of Congo owns the clinic. It was the only place the teen could get any "help," She complained of abdominal pain, discomfort, and other symptoms which drove her to seek relief. The clinic was up the hill and down the road from our mission.

Her options: a 2 1/2 day walk to the medical mission of Vanga or a 9 hour truck ride over holey "roads" that her body would not endure. So. . . off she went.

No lab available to check out possible blood abnormalities or clues as to whether she had an infection of any kind. No microscope to examine her blood. No lab tech to even try to make an educated guess.

It was night time. It gets very dark in Congo after 6 p.m. Only 300 miles south of the equator.

She entered the dimly lit room. Put on a filthy robe used by who knows how many other patients preceding her. Climbed onto the table.

The "doctor" in no simple terms told her not to scream. "I don't want any crying. Do you understand?" he yelled at her.

She trembled with dread and fear and promised to comply.

"Shut your mouth, and don't you dare scream," he said.

He turned up the volume of his short wave radio and made an incision in her unanesthetized body. Found nothing wrong with her. Sewed her all up.

No sedation. No antibiotics to fight the infection that would more than likely follow. No bedside manner. No kind words. No advice. No pain pills.

No liability insurance so she could not sue the inept inhumane monster.

To this day I am amazed she survived.

I found myself raising my right hand in the car many a time lately while driving here or there, praising God for the difference between here and Congo, for the blessings of living in America, for the incredible advances medically we benefit from, for the skillful, brilliant doctors and more than competent nurses we have access to here.

We don't deserve the incredible care we get here any more than she deserved the incompetent, heinous treatment she received.

Lord, hasten the day when Laban can build a medical health facility to Your glory, so that the Congolese people don't have to suffer under such dastardly conditions? How many more have to endure such deplorable, abominable treatment? Hasten the day, Lord, when our hospital can be a haven, a refuge, a center of healing physically and spiritually. We surrender to Your will and the mercy of Your people.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Going under the knife

Please, will you pray for my husband, Jim. He is going to have major surgery on Friday, January 15 a William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI. Thank you so much. The fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Ever Women's Tea for Laban Ministries

On Saturday, January 30 at 1:30 p.m., we are meeting at First Presbyterian Church of Trenton located at 2799 West Road. The purpose of this event is to help women in the Congo disrobe their shroud of ignorance, despair, and hopelessness to be donned in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and experience the transforming power of His Word.

The Women's Literacy Center at the mission campus of Nkara-Ewa trains these special ladies for 3 years. The Bible is the sacred text, and it is the first book they learn to read. Their lives are never the same again.

Come and meet some of them. They are very lovable, great moms, grateful in spirit, and beautiful people inside and out.

Music will be provided by Jack and Molly Smith, and Shawn Lantz will is the featured speaker.

Tickets are $10. To reserve your spot, call Molly at 313 292 5445. Hope to see you there! Nancy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Abiding under thr shadow of the Almighty

My husband has always been a very strong individual physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Walking for miles in the plains and savannahs of Africa, climbing hills, fording streams, and crossing rough terrain, including jungle, have kept his constitution thriving. In 1982 while on furlough while being evaluated at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, he peddled a bicycle upside down and, to the amazement of the staff, kept going as they increased the speed and intensity of the ride. They were astounded at the strength of his heart.

His keen interest and respect of the Word of God, resiliancy and profound walk with God have enabled him to soar to heights Tonight I choose to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He is my fortress, my buckler, and my shield. My God, in Whom I will trust. The Rock of Ages. The Great I Am. My Portion, the maintainer of my lot, my sustainer. My King and my God. My deliverer, comforter, peace, and righteousness. Just a few characteristics of the God I have walked with now for more than 55 years. My favorite is The Ancient of Days.

I am clinging to these truths tonight because the reality of the fact that my husband, Jim, will be operated on in a little more than a week has really settled into my being over the last couple of days. As the surgeon went over risks he said atrocious things like, "healthy people have actually died on the operating table with no explanation, severe bleeding could follow the procedure, life changes could occur, unforeseen things can take place while operating. . ."