Monday, October 7, 2013

A Beautiful Day...

What a beautiful Monday afternoon!  It's felt so Fall-ish here lately, making me antsy to rake leaves or winterize a garden, though I'm quite certain we have no worries of snow in the forecast here to prepare for...:) 

Last Friday seemed especially gorgeous- strikingly green foliage against such a blue sky... 
A perfect day to get out and make a house call, which was what we were headed off to do!
Often on Fridays, Dr. Felix comes up from Ti Goave to help with more special medical cases at the clinic, and like on this occasion, a special house call case. 
You might remember other fairly recent posts about Elvie, the older lady who Dr. Felix has performed several paracentesis' on to remove all the fluid buildup from her stomach.
 The last couple times some of us had visited her, she was notably much worse.  Her stomach was swollen full of fluid again, and the rest of her body shrunken to almost nothing with severe dehydration and starvation. 
So this time Glendon, Miss Leda, Rhoda, and I left early afternoon right after clinic to make another trip to visit her, this time with the Dr, to remove the fluid once more; making her last few days as comfortable as we can...
We drove the gator to Bassinguette, where we parked it and hiked the rest of the rocky, winding trail down the mountain to her house.  Every time we walk into her house, it amazes me to see that she's still alive.  She must be well under 100 lb now; my hand easily fits around her upper arm.  But there she was still lying on her bed of blankets on the floor, and as always, greeting us with a very weary but peaceful smile. 
After Rhoda and I gently lifted her frail body up and laid her on the bed, Mis Leda put an IV in her arm, and then Dr. Felix performed the paracentesis. 
He drained about 4,000ml off this time.  A lot, but not all that there was.  He stopped cause of how much pain she was in.  She kept groaning and crying out things like, "Jesus, help!  Deliver me from my misery.  Don't give me any more breath.  Let me die!  Jesus, Jesus!"  
It's very sad to see someone suffer like that, but I found myself asking God with her that He would take her home quickly.  Jesus is her only joy, heaven her only hope. 
Life isn't perfect, but it has so many beautiful things that we enjoy; friendships, music, nature, and endless simple pleasures that make us happy just to be alive.  But when you see someone at the end of their life, wasting away in incredible pain, not able to enjoy any more of the things we value so much now, it really puts life-purpose in perspective.
    It's made me ask myself more often lately, "What am I living for?"  I often find myself living with selfish desires and purposes, and those are revealed when they're thwarted and I find out that my joy is circumstantial.  I'm amazed at how easily I forget to keep my eyes on Jesus!  When He consumes my thoughts, He becomes my deepest desire, and the pleasures of life become secondary.  With or without them, the joy in knowing Jesus, and the hope of an eternity with Him is what truly makes life beautiful!

On our hike back up the mountain, the Dr and Mis Leda were getting tired, so they stopped on the trail overlooking a house and started calling down to the few people there asking what they had for food. 
They didn't have bananas or chicken, but they did have a stick of sugarcane, which an older man soon brought up for them.  Dr. Felix used it for a walking stick til we got back to Bassinguette, where we met another man with a machete who cut it into four sticks for us.  I really enjoy that aspect of life here... I mean, not the sugarcane (though I've enjoyed my fair share of that too:), but the neighborly way of sharing and helping each other like that. 

All for now,
~Whitney