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Dedicated to Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua

Miriki Daktar

“God, I’m too young for this!” I said with my eyes looking up at the fast fading colors of sunset. 

To go, or not to go.  Once again, word had come that I had a patient in Santa Clara, and once again, the description was too vague to know what I was dealing with.  Was it an emergency? Could it wait?  As the current medical director, and the medical person with the most education, the decision fell to me as to whether to go, or to wait for morning.  I have to take care of myself, but it seems against my nature to say that I am going to watch out for me first, and then take care of you.  Could I live with myself if I waited until morning, then discovered that my patient had died during the night of something I might have been able to treat?  This is a decision I have to make, not too often, but too often for my liking.  But I remember Marilyn telling me never ever to go to Santa Clara at night.   That is exactly what I would have to do this time, if I made the decision to go.  Santos and Arrmando, two of my friends whose advice I respect, advised against it.  “Its not safe.  You should wait until morning.”

            I took their advice, but not without concern for what I would face in the morning.  In my thinking, until proved other wise every unknown case has to be treated to some extent, as an emergency.  When we got to Santa Clara the next morning, it was as it often is there…a crazy description of a common ailment, and definitely not an emergency, though something in need of treatment to be sure.    A lady had an abscess on her back, that when it is inflamed, hurts so bad, she can hardly walk.  I had attempted to drain one abscess before, with the help of a nurse practitioner.  It had made me woosy,  and she had to finish.  Now,…I was on my own, (though I did have an amazing assistant who was a great encouragement – Becky).   With prayer, consulting my ever ready medical books, and my assistant, I decided to go ahead with it.  I sent someone to get a scalpel from Minsa. (remember, this is the village where there is a MINSA without meds, and a nurse who appears to not like treating patients).  They sent a scalpel, so I began.  I did not have any way to anesthetize but the lady still wanted me to do it.  Then I discovered that the scalpel in the nicely sealed package, was the wrong type… it was a rounded, blunt tip.  I thought I might be able to make it work, but after a few attempts, gave up on that and sought other methods.  It took a long time, I had to sit down several times as it was making me dizzy.  I felt like a horrible Miriki Daktar for the pain I was inflicting.  It seemed to be taking forever.  My patient was crying.  I would work on her a few minutes, then let her have a short break before beginning again.  Finally, I had done the best  I could.  I cleaned up, and bandaged her back, and told her I was so sorry that I had been hurting her so badly.  I wanted to cry.  I felt so inadequate, and so cruel, She looked up at me with a compassionate face and said, “No honey, you helpin’ me.”

            Then I was amazed.  Here I have been working on this poor lady for what seems an eternity, inflicting great pain, treating without anesthetizing, doing something I have almost no experience with, and the lady is just grateful that I came, regardless of the pain.  I wanted to cry again, but this time for a different reason…from awe and amazement at the gratitude of the people I deal with.

            Here many people call me “Miriki Daktar”,  which is Miskitu for American Doctor.  Though I am not a doctor, I very much act as one right now, assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients.  I have the final say (at least of any human, thankfully God is all powerful and He truly has the final word).  For a 21 yr old nurse, that often is a heavy weight on my back.  I decide what treatment to give to the 3 yr old with amebic dysentery.  I decide whether or not the laceration needs stitches.  I decide whether or not to risk our safety to treat an unknown emergency.  It is not easy.  These decisions are nothing I was taught in nursing school.  I am so thankful that I am not alone, but that I have a Teacher, I have a Great Physician to consult.  I have a Great Physician to whom I can go with the patient I don’t know how to treat, and I can say, often with tears in my heart, “God, I don’t know what to do, but I have done my best.  Now You are going to have to take over.”  I tell my patients this as well.  I pray with my patients and tell them that I am only His helper.  God is the Doctor.

That is why I am here after all.  I am not here to just dispense medicine.  MINSA does that.  I am here to introduce my patients to the Real Doctor, the one who not only heals our bodies, but stitches up our torn hearts, and heals our broken lives, infuses our lonely empty vessels with abundant, life giving blood that rejuvenates and refreshes us. He removes our anxiety and worries, and transplants His peace.

Here is the thing though.  He says, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  With His blood and His peace, the more we give, the more he gives to us as well.  We need not worry whether we will have enough for ourselves.  So be a donor.  It is not like the Red Cross where you have to wait 8 weeks before giving again.  We can do it everyday.  Sure it is not ours, but we have been commissioned to share it with those around us. See how much richer your life becomes as well.  When was the last time you gave blood, the Blood that counts?