“Trauma can be an isolating experience. It’s only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.” - Lightspring/Shutterstock
We may describe various events in our lives as “traumatic”: Seeing a spider. Watching a close basketball game. Almost running out of gas on the way home. We appreciate a listening ear as we describe our disturbing adventure. We’re thankful that we’re not alone.
At times, people experience significantly more traumatic events. In fact, a woman in a village near MCH was crushed by an elephant when it entered her front yard. In her effort to rescue a goat, ribs were fractured. Skin from her lower legs was ripped from deeper tissue. Within their small house, her family listened with horror to screams and bangs.
When she was carried to our hospital soon after, covered with bruises and abrasions, the outlook was grim. We welcomed her in, and our surgeons rushed her to the OR, but they couldn’t offer her family much hope. After surgeries and several skin grafts, she lived on IV feedings, eyes closed, breathing shallow. For a while, it seemed she wanted to die. Her only whispered words were of pain and misery. Her teenaged daughter sat beside her bed, day and night. Doctors checked progress. MCH nurses changed bandages. Physical therapists offered whirlpool baths to promote tissue healing. Social workers comforted and cajoled.
And then her mind cleared. After three months, she’s doing great. Now the PT team is helping her do mobility exercises so that she can gain full range of motion. When she took her first step with the walker, everyone- surgeons, nurses, nurse aides, and fellow patients- clapped. Painful though it was, this skinny lady smiled. Her first words were “When I walk out of here, I’ll go to the safari park and ride an elephant.” Everyone laughed.
One of our nurses reports, “She just waved at me from her bed. She's been up and walking with a walker and has been out in the sun a bit. She’s grinning, and we’re clapping. We thought she would die. Seems the Almighty has other plans.” The hospital staff predicts that she can go home this coming week.
Surely she and her family have seen love at MCH. She knows that our Almighty God cares personally for her. He Who created elephants is also her Life-Giver and her Great Physician. And whether we’re getting up or lying down, “in His presence is fullness of joy”.