The Day God Did Not Answer

Rose Russell November 10 2017, 2:16 am

It all started when Mia invited us to see her village play another (more distant) village in a recent soccer tournament after rainy season ended. You could now run across the soccer field and not drown (I imagine running around for soccer is much preferable over paddling, but since I have yet to try, I digress.). Lorena drove us over to Mia’s house on the moto since I am a well known scaredy-cat when it comes to driving that thing, and we survived with only one major incident where she took a curve too fast and we ran completely off the road.
Once we were at Mia’s house, her adoptive mother invited us in for apples and water to help us cool down. One of the village grandpas, who has also adopted Mia, came in to talk and advise which trail to the soccer field was the least muddy and most likely for us to make it through alive and intact.
After getting our moto back upright (Lorena knocked it over), Lorena started off and I rode behind Mia on her moto (for personal safety reasons). The first trail under the school was kind of sketchy, but just then Grandpa drove up behind us and told us to turn around and try a different trail. As we followed him, a muslim couple and their child came up on a moto and stopped. They told us there had been an accident and a child had a hurt foot just up the road. Could we please come? Or at least that’s what we understood them to say. Unfortunately, I am still learning the language and though Mia is further along and able to understand, some things get lost in translation.
So off we went. Just up the road we drove in on, the other moto turned off, parked, and the woman motioned for us to follow her up into the closest door on stilts. Once I managed to get my shoes off, I followed, ducked through the doorway, over the child gate, and paused to let my eyes adjust to the dim light. In the middle of the room was a woman sitting by a tiny baby on the floor. The baby was laying on a yellow towel with a sarong partially covering her, and from what I could see in the dim light, something looked wrong with her foot. About then, I noticed the 20 or so women and children surrounding us and figured whatever was going on probably wasn’t good. Lorena stepped in and we both started assessing the baby while having Mia translate our questions to the mother and grandmother.
Once I determined I was not going to cause severe pain by touching the baby’s feet, I felt for any breaks or deformities. What I was not expecting was for the baby’s feet to be swollen like little water balloons. As I moved up her body during the assessment, I realized her arms and legs were swollen, she was making concerning noises on exhalation, and her eyes kept rolling back in her head. “Oh God, please help us figure out what’s wrong.” I kept repeating to myself as Lorena checked the baby’s eye reflexes.
“Here, can you check her pupils? I can’t tell if they’re reacting or not.” Lorena said as she handed me her phone with the flashlight on.
“They’re definitely constricting, but her eyes keep rolling back in her head.” I replied as I handed the phone back.
Little by little, we got the back story translated to us. The little girl was five months old and had had a fever for three or four days, but it had broken two or three days earlier and that is when the swelling started. Thankfully, the swelling had gone down some within the last day, but then around 1 pm that afternoon, she had started shaking and went unresponsive. They found us around 2:30.
“I really don’t know what kind of treatment she needs.” I told Mia. “There’s a slim chance I could get an IV in and give her a minute dose of a diuretic, but I have no idea what else to do. I think they should get her to a hospital.” While Mia talked to grandma, I wracked my brain and Lorena’s for anything briefly mentioned in nursing school that could give us an inkling of what was going on but absolutely nothing came to mind.
Mia finished talking with grandma and what was translated back to us was not encouraging.
“They want to go to the horrible hospital right down the road, and not the better one thirty minutes away. I’m not sure baby would survive the moto ride.” She said. “I have money saved for this sort of thing and I think we should send her by taxi to the capital where they have an excellent free hospital for children.”
“Alright. Let’s call Boaz and ask the name of the hospital and see what we can work out.”
We asked Lorena to call Boaz and ended up giving him a description of the situation. The phone ended up with Mia who arranged everything so Boaz would be waiting to meet the family at the hospital if that ended up being their decision.
When we informed the family of their options, they were quite emphatic that nothing could be done until the husband/father was home and then a decision could be made. So all we could do was have prayer over the baby begging God that she would either get better or live long enough to get to the hospital. After the prayer ended, Mia gave one of the aunts her phone number and encouraged them to call with the decision as soon as possible. And so we left.
Early this morning, Mia texted us saying that the baby girl had died during the night. And they had wanted to take the baby to the capital hospital today. But today was too late.
Honestly, at first it really didn’t hit me, but Lorena took it hard. But later in the afternoon, while talking on my phone to a friend, it finally did hit and I started sobbing. “I am not a doctor! I’m just a new nurse! These people come and I can’t do anything to help! I wish I had a magic pill I could give and everything would get better! But I don’t! I can’t even get them to go to the hospital to keep a baby girl from dying!”
Oftentimes, we are the best medical help available. My people are too poor to afford to go to the established clinics to be seen and get medicine they need. We are doing the best we can, but what happens when it’s not enough? If I did not know for a positive fact that my God has called and put me here for a reason, I think I would have left from this overwhelming work.
I feel so inadequate. But in my weakness, His strength is made perfect even when I’m sitting on the phone sobbing because I want to do more but can’t. Through my weakness, stupidity, trials, and errors He is showing himself to the Great River People. And He is showing me what it means to be broken so that His love and mercy can shine through and touch hearts for the kingdom. I can’t wait for the day when we get to Heaven and God shows how He was directing everything behind the scenes even when it felt like He did not answer.