Every Breath a Gift

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OperationThere were no medical facilities or physicians available even as far as Chittagong over the national holiday of Eid-ul-fitr. MCH was the only facility seeing patients, and we were busy. Late in the evening an elderly lady arrived with severe abdominal pain. She was quite sick. She needed an operation, but I knew she would be pretty sick for a while after surgery. Our oxygen concentrator was broken, and we only had a limited supply on hand with no way to get more until after the Eid holiday. We had a couple of other patients and several babies using oxygen. However, there was no other facility or surgeon available, and if we did not take care of her we knew she would die. God had brought her to our door, and so after praying that our oxygen would last I took her to the operating room and repaired a hole in her stomach from an ulcer that had eaten through.

Bagging Mom to keep her aliveAfter surgery she needed to have a breathing tube inserted to help her breathe. We do not have any ventilators so we taught the family how to squeeze the bag that would force oxygen-rich air into her lungs. All night long and into the next day they took shifts breathing for her. God did extend our oxygen and we lasted until we were able to get more bottles.

We were able to take the breathing tube out the following day, and she slowly improved. By day three she was sitting up at the side of her bed. The social workers spent time with her and her family, offering hope and encouragement. On day four, however, she suffered a heart attack, and I found her unresponsive and pulseless. God allowed us to bring her back from death with a few 'shocks'. She held on again long enough for her family to say goodbye before she slipped into eternity. We don't know why God brought her to us to save her life only to lose it in the end. It re-emphasized, though, that we cannot take any time – or any breath – for granted. We rely on our Life-giver and Sustainer.

By Dr. Nathan Piovesan

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