God Cares for the Elderly
“Oh Lord, You are so wonderful!” I say the words over and over, my breath catching in my throat, and tears glistening in my eyes. I am looking outside at a sudden downpour of rain.
Now this may not sound so wonderful to you, but I had just returned from a long walk to LaGlah village and there had been no rain whatsoever from 8 a.m. until now, 3p.m.! That is a miracle this time of year for sure, but that is not the only miracle! Just let me back up and tell the entire wonderful story exactly as it unfolded.
BletJaw has not been here for 3 days, and Breck has also gone. I am doing the best I can by myself with my meager language skills! It is a little nerve wracking when you see the patients lined up in the waiting room and on the porch. But God has helped me communicate with them all. I really believe every patient has been cared for adequately! I am so thankful.
Last night SayHtu, 22, from WahSueTah came to talk with me. I know SayHtu well because he has brought his 3 year old son in for medicine and breathing treatments countless times with asthma. This poor little boy always has labored breathing, but put a common cold in on the equation and there is real trouble.
Now SayHtu is asking me to go to LaGlah village and help his grandmother, she has a large piece of pork stuck deep in her throat and has not been able to eat or drink for 3 days!!! She has no teeth. He seems a little concerned, but not nearly as concerned as he should be if he knew the real danger and enormous difficulty of such a thing way out here in the rain soaked jungle! My head spins. This is life threatening – a real emergency, and during the rainy season we cannot take her out –no way. To top it all off this dear lady is over 90 years old! I feel so sorry for her!
It is now 6:30 p.m. and raining hard. I hear myself telling SayHtu that I will go to LaGlah to see her in the morning. SayHtu is very happy. These dear people think I can do anything, and make any situation better. But inside my heart I dread to go in all this rain, I dread to go without BletJaw and do all the communicating myself, and most of all I dread to see this lady and witness the inevitable outcome from my inexperienced hands trying to use my inadequate instruments to try to extricate a chunk of meat! Pork no less!
I review the facts in my mind. If the bolus of food has not gone down by itself in 24 hours, (Tomorrow it will be the 4th day), it is a medical emergency and should be transported to the nearest medical facility immediately, where trained gastroenterologists use their greatest skills and instruments to either push the bolus down or pull it out using a suction or other instruments. Even in the best case scenarios they meet with failure sometimes. If they try to push it down they must make a left hand turn or else it will occlude the trachea. A blocked trachea is way more life threatening than a blocked esophagus! Of course any move with an instrument, or just the pressure of pulling it out could rupture the esophagus which causes the person to bleed to death in short order! There is also a chance that she has developed rings around her esophagus which constrict with age, making it even harder to swallow or to remove food that has been lodged. The surgeon has to dilate the rings with special instruments.
I fall on my knees and pray for this dear lady and for help. “Oh Dear Lord, I do not want to be in this situation, You know I cannot do anything, this is way past me, but I am all they have, there is no one else. You are all I have, Lord. There is no one else. You are enough! I am trusting in You. I know You will help me.”
I read: “Let all move forward courageously, trusting in God to supply their needs according to the riches of His goodness…Before those who trust and obey Him, He will open ways of advance. In emergencies, He will give them special help!!”
I will go forward courageously. This promise is for me! I pack my things, thinking carefully about how I will go about this. I have a tongue re-tractor, alligator forceps, hemostats (though not long enough), olive oil, an injection for nausea which should relax the GI tract and make the patient sleepy, (Maybe that will help a little), and a dental mirror. I don’t know how in the world I would use a dental mirror way down there in the depths of someone’s throat, but I bring it.
I go to the school quickly to try to email my Sister to pray for us. I am amazed that the internet is actually working tonight, plus my old computer connected just long enough for my message. This does not usually happen!
Now I prayed that the Lord would stop the rain.
SawHtu and his little brother, DeaJayCa meet me at eight a.m. SawHtu shoulders my backpack of medicine for the village. They are happy. They think I am going to solve all their problems!
We start out.
The rain stops!
When we arrive at the phone calling place, I call BletJaw so that he will pray. I ask him explain to SawHtu that this is an emergency that should have been seen in the hospital over 3 days ago! There is not a lot of hope. I want him to know the truth. Tell him that because of his grandmother’s age and the length of time it has been lodged in her throat that there are extreme dangers, and I explain the trachea, bleeding and strictures.
I am told that the family thinks she is too old and probably won’t live anyway, but they really want to see what I can do.
I enter the dark little hut. The lady is lying on a heap of rags. She is hungry and thirsty. She has severe pain in her throat and up through her right ear and head. Many people crowd in. I prepare my things. First I tell the people that this is impossible for me to get out, but not for God! He can do all things. I told them I will pray to God and ask Him to get it out. I poured my heart out to God asking Him to please show these dear people His power so that they will see it and believe on Jesus! I gave the patient a little olive oil to try to get down one little sip for lubrication. Then I gave her the injection. I let her wait 15-20 minutes. Then with my headlamp and glasses on, I resolutely placed the re-tractor down her throat with my left hand and poised the bayonet forceps in my right hand. I peered down her throat. She choked. Three times I went down with that re-tractor and made ready with my forceps. Three times she choked. On the third time the woman made a mighty choke and that large chunk of meat popped right out!
Nobody present understood the greatness of that miracle. They just trusted in me and praised me. I quickly told them that it was NOT me. God had answered our prayer. He is mighty. God did what no human being could do. He saved her life. He tenderly cares for the elderly. I tell them that we must now pray again and this time thank God for the miracle that He just performed.
Everybody around me is happy. The dead silence that had covered that room like a cloud before, now broke forth in laughter and talking. Nobody is happier than the elderly lady who has been freed from her burden. Now her great thirst and hunger can be satisfied. I tell them to cook her some very soft rice and vegetables. No meat! She must only eat soft foods.
We treated patients in that village for the next 2 hours before walking home. I praised God and sang all the way back home. I think about all the Providences of the Lord.
It had not rained on us the whole day, but as I stepped into my house on returning home and began to put things away, there was a sudden heavy rain! “Oh Lord, You are so wonderful.” I cry out with all my heart.
(I found out later that my Sister had received the email. It was Sabbath morning for her, so that day she asked her Sabbath School class at church to pray for us. Then in church she had the entire church pray. When the members of God’s true church pray, there is power! The Lord is not slack concerning His promises)!