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Is Insulin a Christmas Gift?

January 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Most of us wouldn’t think of insulin as a Christmas gift, but to Miguel it was the best gift of all.

The Monday after Christmas, Maria and I drove 3 hours to see Miguel, age 23, who had lived in the USA for a few years, and actually knew a good bit of English.

Miguel has severe diabetes and I had first met him a month earlier when I was with Maria, one of our ministry workers while we were with a few of our village patients at the Hermano Pedro Hospital in Antigua.

When we had first met him, he was so very sick because he hadn’t had money to buy sufficient insulin that he must take to stay alive. Maria and I had been horrified to see that he was so sickly and so emaciated that he looked like a skeleton.

He was not able to walk unassisted and could only speak in a soft whisper.
His family was very poor, and he was slowly dying from lack of insulin.
That day, I went home and returned to the hospital with some insulin we were storing in the fridge.

Now we were on our way to see him, to see if he was still alive, and possibly had become healthier. And, importantly, we were bringing some more of the insulin he needed but could not afford.

He was so happy to see us when we arrived at the door of the simple adobe house where he lives with his parents and several younger brothers. His small, dirt-floor room had only a bed and he had no table or any other furniture.

He stood up to greet us, smiled and in a surprisingly clear voice told us that he felt so much better.

He had finished the insulin we had given him last month, and he was so excited to see that we were now here, bringing some more. Someone had donated donated food and blankets for his family as a way to help them out because they have almost nothing.

Miguel is gaining strength and weight and can now walk again. I was able to connect him with a medical clinic run by an American man only thirty minutes away. His entire family thanked us and prayed for us before we left. With a continuing insulin supply now assured, he should be able to lead a productive life and help his family.

What a great day!
As I drove the three hours back home, I thought of how thankful I am to all of you who give support to make it possible to do what we do in our ministry.
Merry Christmas, Miguel!

Christmas Miracle in the Village

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog, Stories and Photos

Small house is home We had our first Christmas miracle on the Saturday before Christmas.

I got a late-night call Wednesday, and learned that a mother who was 8 1/2 months pregnant was experiencing
preeclampsia. This is a possible fatal condition affecting both mother and child. I told the husband to call an
ambulance immediately and we would pay the ambulance later.

Thursday morning as we drove slowly on the mountain roads to go to our clinic, the father was nervously waiting along the side of the road for us in the village of Santa Marta and said his wife had been too scared to go to the hospital as I had insisted. I was very worried.

I parked the pickup truck, and Dr. Efrian and I climbed a steep hill to their simple cement block home. The mother was in very serious shape because she also had a heart condition. Her body was swollen and she had trouble moving and breathing. We could not hear the baby’s heartbeat and we assumed the baby had died.

We called the ambulance to come and decided to wait. (Over the years, we had made friends with the ambulance drivers and they now come when I call them – a little extra “payment” helps us to get good service. )

The ambulance rushed her to the Guatemala City hospital but they warned us that it looked like the mom was not going to make it.

Well, we had 79 patients that day in clinic and ended the day too tired to check out anything further. We did talk to a family member later that day who said the mother and baby were still alive but the mother was quite sick.

By Saturday, not having heard any update on the mother and baby, I drove to the village to check on them.

I was so surprised to see the father smiling, carrying the most beautiful baby boy! The baby was doing fine; they had just returned from the hospital. He told me the doctors said that the mother needs heart surgery and will remain in the hospital for a while, but she will survive.

I rushed to the clinic to get formula and warm blankets for the baby (it had been 36 F at night). I truly believe
it is miracle that they are both alive. A Christmas miracle in the village, with a new baby!

God is good and we are so happy.