Warning. This one is highly medical and therefore considered too much gore for some of you. Read at your own risk. And not during lunch.
It is one of those questions that seem so simple. “How is your day going?” That and, “What is your average day like?” Sigh. Here in the jungle no day is really average and some are highly above average, and at times I feel like you might be sorry to hear the answer. So I mumble. I had one of those weeks lately where the days were way beyond average and mumbling was par for the course. Having survived that, having cleaned up the aftermath, and having seen God’s hand at work I can now shout a bit.
Sunday. Our work week starts on Sunday due to the Muslim culture and the decision of the Bangladesh government. Urmi Sing Rakhine was a routine delivery, so I was surprised when they called me to the delivery room and explained that the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. I followed our protocols using several different medications and other “tricks” to no avail. I called our surgeon who also tried similar methods with no results. Our surgeon decided to take her to the OR to see if we could make any more progress. While on the OR table, Urmi’s heart stopped for at least 5 minutes. She was resuscitated with medications and chest compressions. By the grace of God, she came back and survived her emergency hysterectomy as well as 5 units of blood. She was with us for another week and went home with a beautiful healthy girl, having heard the good news. God had spared her life.
The next couple days were a blur, but I do remember that on Thursday, as I was headed home for lunch, a Mru woman arrived. She had been in labor for 3 days. When they finally realized that she wasn’t making any progress, they put her in a blanket stretcher and carried her for about 12 hours. At last they reached a town near the road, and she was brought by van to our hospital. Let me just say that she exhibited a most unpleasant smell, a result of infection from being in labor so long. We rushed to the OR and delivered a living girl. Mom had a difficult post op course but finally went home about 10 days later with her little girl. She had been waiting for a child for 10 years.
I happened to be on call that next weekend, and so Saturday they called me with a Tong Chonga patient. She had taken organophosphate poisoning after a family disagreement. She took 24 hours to get from her village to our hospital. When she arrived she was frothing at the mouth and her oxygen levels were half normal and not consistent with retaining brain function. She was intubated and stabilized and spent the next two weeks recovering while her family pleaded that we let them take her home to die. She also walked out with a smile, and again she had heard truth: God gives life.
Just three of the more than one hundred people I saw that week. All reminders that God is working in Bangladesh. I praise Him. I am reminded as I see victories in these areas that God is more than able to succeed in the challenges of our lives. Indeed He is Victor and Life-Giver.
Submitted with joy by Dr. Heather Fowler