Shrocks on the Rock – Spring 2009
Thanks to everyone that prayed us through March! It was exhausting
but wonderful to hear from so many of you, and to know how much you
care about our family. Joy is doing awesome and even the doctor
couldn’t believe she wasn’t coughing when she had her checkup.
He said she had the worst case of pneumonia he’d seen all year.
Not all of you get our blog updates so it’s doubling as our March
update. Remember this is written by my husband who fought not to be
a missionary especially to Africa! Wow did God do a heart transplant!
Blessings, Karen 🙂
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 01, 2009
This is long, but I am heartbroken!
I am continually reminded that yes, this is Africa and that you are living in a country that seems like a first world country, but is still tied to third world Africa. There is a distinct difference between those who have money and those who don’t.
Many of you know that our daughter, Joy, was hospitalized for ten days with pneumonia. We had gone to a clinic when she first got sick, and easily got a doctor’s referral when she needed to be hospitalized. It was easy to get in the private hospital as we had some money saved, but being American they assumed we had plenty of money. Little did they really know. While there I watched blacks and whites with money come to the emergency clinic and get help and easy referrals to the hospital.
This last week though I got an opportunity to see what the system is like for those that have to endure the free clinics because they don’t have money for private medicine. I received a call from one of the families that we work with. Nomsa said that her sister was ill and that they needed a ride to the clinic with hopes of going to the hospital. I picked her up on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and we went to the clinic at her request. Margaret was very sick. She could barely hold her head up, let alone sit upright. She had been sick for a long time and had probably lost 35 pounds. She was literally skin and bones. When we arrived at the clinic, I drove to the emergency entrance to get a wheel chair to take her in. I waited with Margaret while Nomsa went through the line to register her. We gave the paperwork to the Sister (nurse) and she told us to sit in the line and wait our turn. We requested a gurney for Margaret to lie on as she was having trouble sitting up in the chair. They let us lay her down to rest while she waited. We were early enough that we fortunately didn’t have to wait very long to begin the treatment for her. Her blood pressure was around 86/56 and a temp of 104.2 so they started an IV and gave antibiotics and something to try to bring the temp down. This was nearly 7:30 p.m. when we began the long process of waiting. In the hallway mind you, as there is no room in the emergency room for them to have someone sitting around with an IV in for hours.
While sitting and waiting I learned some tough things, and did A LOT OF PRAYING! A man drove in very fast to the emergency entrance. He jumped out of his truck, ran in and grabbed a gurney and wheeled it to the passenger side of the truck. He grabbed his unconscious female companion and rushed her directly into the emergency room only to be told by the Sister to take her out and go and register her. He brought her back out and asked the security man where to go to register. He left her there alone and ran to the desk to register the lady. When he came back, he gave the paperwork to the Sister. She told him to have a seat and wait his turn. She was unconscious and barely breathing and not one person even looked at her. He sat down in the line to wait with the rest of us. I couldn’t stand her just lying there and no one doing anything, especially since I am an emergency first aid trainer. I approached the lady and asked the security man if I could check her as I am a first aid trainer. He told me that I am not allowed and that only the Sisters could check her. At that I had to go for a short walk and pray. I came back and the security man stopped me and asked if I was stressed. I said that in the United States we would triage the people and take those who have emergency needs prior to those who are stabilized. He said that there are only three Sisters and they are doing the best they can. I told him that I am sure that they are, but they should have a person who selects the patients for the Sisters based on emergency criteria. I asked him then, since the man has been waiting for at least 25 minutes now, if he would have been better off just driving the 30 minutes directly to the hospital emergency room and bypassing the clinic. This is the really sad part!!! He said that to get to the hospital they have to come to the clinic and see a Sister to get to a Doctor to get a Doctor’s referral to the hospital. If he went straight to the Hospital without the referral, they would have sent him to an emergency clinic to get the referral to come back.
I asked him how many people die waiting in line to get referrals to get to the place they need to be to begin with. He said he understands and that is the most difficult part of his job, watching people with serious issues suffering and waiting to see a Sister. I spent a lot of time praying over people as they came in to wait in the line with us. Back to Margaret; she finished her first IV and we went back in to see the Sister and get checked out. This time her blood pressure was 66/44 and she had a 104.8 temp. I thought for sure that we would be on our way to the hospital! It is now nearing midnight and we are starting our second IV, another round of antibiotics and more pain relievers to see if they can stabilize her. You see, if she stabilizes they will send her home to come back on Monday when the clinic is open; this is only the weekend emergency room. With a 66/44 blood pressure they are still planning on sending this woman home for the weekend! Anyway back to the line while she is in the hallway with IV number two. More prayer to be lifted up now–I hope she survives through this second one!
Within the next two hours, I saw a multitude of people being brought in. I learned that if you come by ambulance or police you go straight into the emergency room to be looked at by the Sisters, but if you are not a desperate case, they still send you out to wait your turn. The only reason they are seen is because the Sister has to sign a release form stating that they are now taking custody of the patient from the paramedic. I heard a lot of “Please go back into the Queue (line).” At 2:00 a.m. God sent me a much needed lift. A gentleman who had been sitting on a bench outside the doors to the emergency exit waved me over to him. When I approached he said “Thank you”. I smiled and asked for what? He said that he had been watching me for hours and he said, “I can tell that you care for us. You have spent much of your time here heartbroken for our people. You’re not even black and you show more care and concern for us than we do for ourselves.” I thanked him and said that I am a missionary, something like a Pastor and brought some friends here that were in need. He said, “That explains it. There is something different about you and it is God in you.” He again said thank you and before we could say much more, he said it was time to go home and got up and left. Thank you Lord, I needed that!
The emergency entrance on a Friday night is not a great place to have to sit for hours on end. You get a lot of time to talk to God on the behalf of people who are living in darkness. I saw so many drunks, car accident victims and people torn up due to fighting that made me really depressed. I have a new respect for that security guy that stands there hour upon hour, day by day. We are now approaching 3:00 a.m., and we get called back into the emergency room as Margaret’s IV is done. She is still 82/66 with a temp of 104 so the Sister is going to consult with the Doctor about sending her to the hospital. “Since her temperature isn’t coming down we think she should go.”, says the Sister. So after nine hours in an emergency clinic we get to go to the hospital to get the care that should have happened eight hours sooner. I get home at 4:00 a.m. and fall into bed, but this is a night that will stay with me for a while. I can see why so many dread going through the process to go to the hospital.
For our blog updates you can find us at tmishrock.blogspot.com.
~ Finances for our vehicle that broke down and Joy’s medical bills.
~ God will open doors for our new Motorcycle Sunday School Ministry outreach.
~ For our daughter Jennifer who is struggling with health issues.
~ For Nomsa and her family as they go through all this medical mayhem.
~ That we can continue to learn about this culture and how to be effective evangelists to the lost.
~ Joy is doing awesome!
~ God is changing lives through our student’s outreaches.
~ That people see Jesus in us!
Grace and Peace,
Jason, Karen, Joy and Jolie