Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sequel #3 (positive) to July/August 2010 Update:

I promised that today I would fill you faithful prayer warriors in with the 1st of some “mini-updates” about current positive answers to your priceless prayers for this work. I didn’t expect that today would be nearly over before that answer would be ready to report.Pastor José López' surgery we’ve all been praying for is finally behind us! Let me say up front that if you EVER thought about supporting the cause of socialized medicine, think again. I will spare you most of the agonizing details of the past 7 days spent in a hospital FULL to the brim of very sick and hurting people with next to NOTHING to offer them. There is NO medication available in the hospital (not even scripts for the residents to write out the prescriptions on). I had to run to the pharmacy daily to buy José’s IV antibiotics, pain meds, and bandages. The stainless steel sputnik (external fixator) had to be rented privately. There was not even a wheel chair available to wheel him out of the hospital to the truck for transportation to the village of Loma Alta where the brothers are going to care for him during recuperation. Each patient is responsible for providing his/her own family-member assistant for all personal needs, and the assistant “sleeps” on the floor, or not at all, in rooms full of 6-8 patients with absolutely no attention to privacy or patient contagion; nurses are only for changing IVs, and if the patient's assistant is not assertive, that might never happen. There is no soap anywhere for hand washing, no towel for drying, no tissue in the one bathroom that serves the entire floor, and I never saw one single person (doctor, nurse, assistant) wash hands before, in between or after patient visits.

So what’s the positive news? First, due to obvious racial profiling, I have been able to make friends with and share my reason for donating a solid week of my time to help an old Huichol man through the bureaucratic hoops with 2 doctors, 3 residents, 2 nurses, 2 social workers for indigenous patients, 2 pharmacists, myriad patients and assistants, the director of the pathology lab, the director of the hospital, and at long last, the orderly who finally for our departure, located a rusty old wheel chair that was missing one foot rest and the rubber rim around one wheel. Second, I made arrangements for 5 Huichol brothers from the 2 villages closest to Tepic to come to town to stay one night each with José during his hospitalization. Every one of them is one of José’s spiritual sons, and when I mentioned that fact to each one as he arrived for my little hospital orientation pep talk and to take over and do his “service” for the night duty, José and “sons,” Miguel, Elivorio, Refugio, Valente, and Toño’s eyes welled up with tears of gratitude for the privilege. Each “son” got one-on-one time with the “teacher” as the sleepless nights were spent reading from the Huichol New Testament and hearing his exposition of the select passages. And finally, after starting the discharge process at 8:30 this morning, at long last, we managed to jump through all the hoops and leave the hospital at 6:15 p.m.!

Now, we need to get moving on getting José a follow-up appointment in the next 2 weeks. Please pray with me that the recuperation will be rapid, that he will heal with no infection or stray clots, and that soon he will be back at his jobs of Old Testament translation and of spreading the Gospel of Peace to every remote corner of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Here you can see a slideshow of a “Memory Album” I’m making for José...if you have the stomach for it!

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