Tuesday, April 6, 2010
1 Year Anniversary
Br. Paul threw an "Irish Party" in the hospital- I stopped him from dying my IV bag Green!
It got a little rowdy! :)
Br. Damiano!! (he gave me his hat and glasses for the pic! Guess I wasn't looking my best! )
World Class Patient :)
My brothers- being my brothers!
Seeing my Dad!
Today is the one year anniversary of having my appendix out! Now that doesn’t seem like the noteworthy anniversary- but for me it was a life-changing experience! On Monday April 6th 2009 I was living in Comayagua, Honduras. The day happened to be Monday of Holy Week, and started with a 4 hour trip up to the mountains to drop a team off for the Semana Santa mission. 2 hours into the trip I began to vomit uncontrollably and started having this pain that felt like a really bad flu, it began to worsen as the hours passed. I was determined to make it to drop off the team; it is not easy getting 12 people up to the mountains! But as I got worse and worse Carol, the head of the mission in Honduras decided I needed to get to a doctor, and found a way to get the team the rest of the way up(I think they rode a chicken bus ), and we began our descent home. Unpaved roads, a bumpy truck, and vomiting- I’ll leave it at that! MJ and Carol cared for me and loved me as we stopped every 20 minutes on the side of the road.
After a very eventful trip to a hole in the wall clinic- a few shots- and a Doctor who was “a bit shady” to say the least, we finally made it back to Comayagua. I went for all different tests and came to the hospital to see Dr. Eleana, where after reading the results told me that she had called the surgeon because she thought it might be appendicitis! I had never had an IV before let alone surgery! I have assisted in OR’s in Honduras- and there is no comparison between them and the US standard of care. I sat there and realized what she had just said, and I felt fear like I never have before. I lay on the examining table as the Dr’s spoke- and could hardly believe that I was going to have surgery in Honduras! I started to Freak Out to say the least! Dr. Eleana who is a dear friend told me that she would sit with me through the whole surgery but that I needed to calm down- she brought me into her office and as I walked in the door sitting there IN A CLINIC- IN HONDURAS were my Dad, Greg, and Dave!
I BURST into tears! They had been planning to surprise me for a few months, and happened to arrive the day I got Appendicitis! To be comforted by “my boys” the three most important men in my life was unbelievable…literally. All of a sudden the thought of going through surgery in a third world country was still scary but BEARABLE- I was not alone! If you know my brothers and my Dad- They kept it real…squeezing my IV bag so it would “go in faster”, and just being them! My Dad was with me before surgery (Greg and Dave were killing a lamb with the Friars for Holy Thursday dinner!) and the last thing the Doctor said to my Dad was “25 minutes and we’ll have her out! It’s a really short surgery!” Well, a little over 2+ hours later they wheeled me into the recovery room. As it turned out my appendix had ruptured. He quickly opened me old fashioned style (a nice 4 in. scar to accompany the other 1in. one he had made first!). When I woke up he asked me why I had to be so complicated! So a one day hospital stay turned into 4.
During those 4 days I experienced Semana Santa in a new way. There weren’t pain meds like we have at home, and it was a really hard week. I remember waking at 3am the night after surgery not realizing I had been crying until Dr. Wilmer- an incredible man-father-and Doctor was wiping the tears from my face. So many moments of thinking I just couldn’t do it…feeling so helpless on top of the pain. But looking back I know one thing. I was able to experience a small portion of the pain that so many of my patient’s in Honduras experience daily. The uncertainly- lack of medicine- magnitude of the number sick and small numbers of doctor’s who will see them. I understand some portion of that. I am able to love them and serve them better because I KNOW them. A year later looking back the raw pain and the fear have blurred but what stands so vibrant is the reality that I was not in control, and had no control over what happened that week. But I do know that somehow while God was trying to find a cure for Cancer and dealing with World Peace He knew that I was in Comayagua, Honduras. He knew that I was so afraid and I needed my Dad and brothers- and He orchestrated the whole thing! I know LOVE.
Every time I see this scar I not only remember the fear and pain, but more so the faithfulness of God. 2 weeks after surgery the incision became infected, and they were deciding whether to open me up again, but I should not have been surprised when a wound care specialist “happened” to be on a mission in Honduras that week- and Christine Songy gave me the best of care! As I went for my last visit with the surgeon he commented to me how fortunate I was, how many other directions this could have taken. I can only thank God- a year later- for showing me the fragility of my life. I was given a gift, and now I’m trying my best to live it OUT LOUD! Nothing held back! So on this One year anniversary I want to say thank-you!