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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Naaman visits La Fuente

A few weeks ago, my friend and clinical director, Nathan, received a phone call from the U. S. Consulate in Cusco. An American citizen had been travelling through our area and broken a tooth. As you can imagine, seeking medical care in different country can provoke some level of anxiety. This man was looking for an American dentist in Cusco, and fortunately we had one (me).

Through the Consulate office we were able to talk to this man's assistant in New York, who arranged the appointment. We noticed that his business address at the bottom of the emails was Madison, Ave. Later, via Google, we discovered that our patient was a very successful investment manager of some notoriety. I started getting a little nervous about having such a powerful and successful person as a patient but knew that God had brought him here to see us.

Keep in mind, our clinic is not in the beautiful and historic downtown Cusco. To get to La Fuente (The Source) clinic, you have to drive out about 45 minutes through several dusty suburbs. The further out you drive the more trash and wild dogs you will see in the streets. As I rode with Nathan to the clinic, the morning of the appointment, I wondered if our patient would just keep on driving past our front gate (made of mud/straw adobe). We're not much to look at from the outside, to be sure. 

I felt a little like Elisha from the Old Testament story of Naaman the Syrian. Naaman was a powerful general of the Syrian army. But, Naaman was also afflicted with leprosy. One of Naaman's slaves was a little Hebrew girl, presumably captured and taken off by Naaman in a raid against Israel. This little girl had compassion for her captor and told him that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal him from his leprous condition. Can you imagine? A slave girl from an enemy nation advising you to return to that land in humility, to seek healing from the prophet of a foreign God!  I can't believe Naaman believed her, but he did. I guess he was desperate to be saved from the ravages of an incurable disease. So he left Syria, and traveled to Israel where he met Elisha. Elisha's prescription was for Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan river.  The Jordan can be a muddy creek at different times in the year, and Naaman was shocked by this directive.  He actually named off two rivers of Syria that are bigger and better than the lowly Jordan. But he obeyed anyway and his leprosy was healed. Perhaps our patient, like Naaman, was somewhat dubious  when he arrived at our clinic door. 

Our appointment was not more than an hour.  The fracture was worse than expected, but we had something to work with.  I bonded the fragment in place as a short term fix, hoping it would last until he returned. I enjoyed our conversation very much.  He is Jewish man, but not religious; born and bred in New York City. I did ask him a few questions about the U.S. economy and market projections (how could I not?).  He asked me about the clinic and its history. At one point, he wanted to know if my religion affected how I voted.  I responded, "I would rather say that my faith affects everything I do, including voting; not that that makes choosing a candidate any easier." He responded that he admired people who had consistent convictions from their faith, although he himself did not have any faith to speak of. Perhaps that may change from his visit, I certainly have prayed for that.

In the end, I thanked him for coming and for our visit.  He wanted to pay us, but I told him that if he were my father, I would hope another dentist would patch him together as a courtesy. He insisted on donating to the clinic, and we were encouraged by the gift he left with us. Later, I told Nathan that I was taking November off, seeing as I had made my quota for the month.... :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Praises to God During this Trial

From Dace (Darcy's brother) on Friday morning

When you spend over six hours alone in an ICU unit at night with your sister you have a lot of time to think, reflect, and evaluate...

Hello Everyone,

Nobody likes a long email-- my apologies-- but when you have a moment-- here's a few things worth reflecting upon.

No doubt that we are all focused on the road to Darcy's recovery and the obstacles t
hat lay ahead-- but I want to take a moment to point out a couple remarkable blessings and pivotal moments that God has provided thus far--And praise Him for them:

1. Praise God that Darcy was IN the hospital when her aneurysm broke. She had only been admitted two minutes earlier. The docs say she would not have survived this event even from the parking lot.

2. Praise God that they arrived to deliver baby Elliot right at the shift change of nurses and doctors. This may sound counter-intuitive at first, but they actually had all the manpower they could find working on her. There were between 20-30 sets of hands that peformed the emergency delivery and tackled the bleeding issues that Darcy was up against. The doctor said she would not have survived with less. It required all.

3. Praise God that there were two key doctors on hand-- one of which was not supposed to be there that morning-- and the other who was just about to leave the hospital-- BUT both were on deck when Darcy's trauma occurred. I was told by a second hand source that they prayed over Darcy the entire time they were working on her. And that without their efforts she would not have made it out of the OBGYN.

4. Praise God that though she flat-lined after the emergency surgery, they were able to bring her back through CPR.

5. Praise God that she survived the helicopter flight from St. Frances to Penrose Main-- which doctors said was really tough on her.

6. Praise God that Darcy had a godly RN during the emergency trauma who apparently stepped into the bathroom, called her husband on the phone and said "I need you to get on your knees right now for this young woman. Nothing they are doing is working and she needs to live."

7. Praise God that this same nurse had the presence of mind to pull Dana Sue and I aside amidst the mayhem and tell us that the doctors were concerned about her lungs and we needed to be praying about her lungs right now!

8. Praise God that Darcy's God-fearing loved ones showed up and got down on their knees and cried out for her life from inside the ICU room-- and then proceeded to gather around her, hold hands and sing her favorite hymns. It was this night that the first steps of Darcy's healing began-- and one teary-eyed doctor called it a "miracle."

9. Praise God that a baby was born! Elliot was rescued, is doing well and getting stronger in the NICU. We continue to trust for his road to healthiness and release from the hospital.

10. And Praise God for you... for your prayers and cries have been heard by our Heavenly Father across the world. Your words and encouragement often lead us to tears and it is so comforting to know that we are not in this alone. As i said in an earlier email-- this week I have been proud of the Body of Christ and we are all so touched by your support. This is what it's supposed to look like. :)

Darcy is still "deep in the woods" on this journey towards optimal health, but I am so grateful for all that the Lord has accomplished thus far.

I know there's quite a buzz about Darcy's story. I've heard from a second hand source that Darcy is "all the talk" with doctors and nurses in both hospitals. There have actually been staff members from the other hospital coming over to see Darcy for themselves. We've been making friends with all sorts of new people who are praying for her across the country that we don't even know. I lost count of how many states have been represented. And there's even been a 10 year old boy in Khazikstan who had a dream that Darcy is getting better. It's an unpredictable course. And an emotionally difficult one. We love her dearly. Thanks for taking time to read this, rejoice in the blessings and keep forging ahead with the hurdles that remain.

Much love,

Miracles Never Cease

Pray for Darcy!

You may already know by now the crazy week we have experienced. Lee's sister-in-law, Darcy, who is married to his older brother Jeb, had an emergency C-section on Sunday morning. The baby was born with an apgar score of 1 (out of 10 which means VERY poor), and Darcy suffered an anerysm in her spleen and nearly died. In fact, none of us thought she would make it after receiving over 50 units of blood--over four times her body's blood volume. The doctors said there was nothing more they could do. We all prayed, wept, and cried out to God knowing he could save her, but not knowing if he would save her.  She miraculously made it through the night and so did little Elliot.

( To stay current on updates, visit Bridgemans In Peru. If you are not on facebook, simply close the popup login window to view the site. )

Jeb and Darcy, Emma (6), Everett (4), Esther (2), and baby Elliot (not-pictured)

An Amazing Story from the First Night

Here's a first-hand account of the first night from Dace, Darcy's brother. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation! Dace gives a great overview of the first day.

For those of you who have a moment, here's a quick story from the first day-- They allowed all of us (10-12) people in the intensive care unit room with Darcy on Sunday night. I've been in enough of these situations to know that they only allow for this when they think the end is near so that people can say their "goodbyes." We began praying on our knees, sobbing and Jeb prayed with such an agony of heart for his wife, that it still pierces me. I remember looking up and thinking this is such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. The entire time doctors and nurses were stepping over us and continuing to attend to my sister. We gathered around Darcy, held hands and sang her favorite hymns, including Be Thou My Vision-- which was their wedding song.

That night I began walking outside around the hospital crying out for my sister-- and felt compelled to pray for the doctors and that they would have a soft heart. They had given us a pretty grim report that there wasn't much room for hope.

During the night, the nurse kept calling the doctor as Darcy's stats improved. He did not believe the results could be accurate, so he had her run the tests multiple times and bring in new machines in case the others were not registering correctly. Even though he was supposed to be off after a week straight in the ICU, he came in first thing in the morning to see for himself what was happening. He told Jeb that after many years in the nation's largest trauma center in Houston, that he had never seen anything like this. He reviewed with us the procedures he performed, but said that none of that could have accounted for the improvement. He went on to say that he knows we were praying and singing-- and that he didn't know how else to account for the improvement and indicated it must be a "miracle." (Although I don't know his heart, Dana Sue and I's impression is that he is not a believer.)

He seemed choked up as he relayed this to Jeb and I, but i don't know his demeanor enough to be sure. As I watched him through the glass in the nurses station, I heard him say the word "miracle", shaking his head in disbelief and saw him tear up as the nurse gave him a hug. It was really a moving scene.

I know He is moving and calling people's hearts through this. Mine too. :)

Blessings to you all. We love the support. Thinking of you all on the east coast this morning.