Saturday, August 26, 2006

Medical blessings / needs

Yesterday morning I took my five year old, Tyler, into a brand new medical clinic so that he could have tubes put in his ears. As we sat there together just after 6 a.m. and waiting for the nurse to call us back, I could tell he was a little scared so I had him cuddle up real close to me as I assured him that he would be ok. It was a quiet moment and I was so glad to be able to give Tyler that comfort. I reminded him how our family had put our hands on Tyler the night before and we had prayed for him. We knew we had an excellent doctor and we were at an excellent facility. It all gave me flashbacks to over five years ago when Tyler and I had a similar but much more overwhelming moment.

On the morning of December 20th of 2000, Tyler entered this world through an emergency c-section procedure in Kampala, Uganda. It was a scary moment for all involved but he and Briley came through it and the first 24 hours of his life was spent in celebration, joy and recovery. Late on Dec. 21st, Tyler began having trouble breathing. We called the Ugandan nurses and they immediately scrambled to get assistance from the doctors. It was evident he had some type of infection, his fever was high and chest was heaving as he struggled to breathe. I was thankful for the new technology of cell phones as I went to the highest point of the hospital grounds and began consulting doctor friends we had here in the States. Our pediatrician teammate, Dr. Mark Hall, was on furlough in Lubbock so he was first on my list to call as he knew best the environment we were in. After getting that advice, we decided to rush Tyler to the best facilities and doctors in East Africa located in Nairobi, Kenya. Mark Moore and Jill and Greg Taylor packed our things from home in Jinja, brought our passports to Kampala, and made arrangements for an emergency flight to Nairobi early on the 22nd. Greg and my other cousin, Terri Taylor, would bring our 2 year old, Easton, by truck in a few days.

As day was breaking and a thunderstorm with a strong downpour rolled through at Uganda's international airport, we tried our best to load up Briley, still recovering from major surgery. They took two seats out of the six seater plane so Briley could lay on her back for the flight. Tyler was accompanied by a Ugandan female doctor, who we were very impressed with, in the backseat. I sat right behind the European pilot and Briley laid on the floor with her head just a few feet from the pilot's feet. It took less than an hour and a half to reach one of Nairobi's airports where we were met by an ambulance and our nurse friend, Carolyn Schrage. We wove through the heavy morning Nairobi traffic and first arrived at the Children's hospital. We were assured that some of the best pediatricians in all of Africa would be seeing us. Briley went on to stay at Aga Khan hospital for three days (they discharged her on Christmas Day when she got the best Christmas gift of her life, being reunited with her newborn son) where she learned that she lost so much blood she should have had a transfusion. We were glad she didn't! Tyler stayed in his hospital for over a week recovering from his staph infection.

It was at that check-in moment at the children's hospital, though, that was so surreal to me. I was operating on about 3 hours sleep over the previous 72 hours, sitting in a quiet room, holding my newborn son Tyler, and praying over him and giving him my love and hope that he would turn out to be just fine. He did, and I've become so thankful for the medical opportunities that God has provided us in our lives.

That's why every night as the kids and us pray our bedtime prayers we thank God for clean water to drink, doctors to see when we're sick, a comfortable house and bed to sleep in, schools to attend with great teachers and on and on our prayers go. I remind them that there are many boys and girls in this world, like this seven year old girl I just read about from Kym Langford's great report from Jinja, that simply don't have those medical and other life opportunities that we are so blessed with.

While my heart is so thankful for the way God has provided for my family and I, my heart continues to ache for all of those children that have so few opportunities and therefore often die from simple illnesses.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Wineskins article

Thanks to New Wineskins, who has published photos and a new version of The Source Cafe story in Jinja, Uganda and are helping to promote the Business As Mission idea.