Amid all the changes and visitors coming and going, clinic still proceeds. A few weeks ago, a young mother whom we have known for several years came into Chiminisijuan. I had not seen her for a while and she had lost quite a bit of weight and had a huge belly. On ultrasound we found that she had ascites (liquid that accumulates in the abdomen) which often means some sort of malignancy. We sent her to our friend Dr. Heidi who happened to be in Chichicastenango to do GYN surgeries. They did all sorts of tests and did not find any cancer. They drained the fluid and sent her home without a diagnosis but with advice to seek help in the City (which I knew she would not do).
About 10 days later, Heidi called me with the really good news that some of her exams had come back and that she had tuberculosis...pretty advanced but still treatable. So we contacted her husband and her sister to let them know, gave them all the instruction about where they could get treatment and trusted that they would do that. The next week I asked several from their village if she had gone, tried to call her again, spoke with her daughter but still they did not take her. In their defense, she would have had to be carried up a steep mountain on a stretcher between 4 men, then rent a truck to take her the 4 hours to the hospital - at the cost of about $150. They have 6 children and very little food, much less money to rent a car. And they had tried...her husband had taken her 3 times into the government clinic, once to the hospital, and then to us. They had little hope that anyone would actually help them.
This weekend, I saw Isabella's husband on the street in San Andres. When I asked him about her, he said that she was dying, that she could no longer eat and was in severe pain. We went together to the government clinic to ask if they might be able to pick her up in the ambulance and get her into the hospital. The doctor in charge said, no, that the hospital was full. There were no options. Isabella has asked Jesus into her heart, so I know that soon her suffering will be over. There is a pretty good possibility though, that her children may have tuberculosis. And, if they go to be tested, will they get treatment?
God keeps confirming over and over the importance of getting this hospital up and running. It seems pretty overwhelming most days but we wait on Him for we know that "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31