Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ebola Eyes..... Patients Have "The Look" as The Soul Retreats

As America reels at each new controversy surrounding the ebola crisis i.e.: should we ban flights from West Africa, quarantine health care workers, quarantine military, quarantine vs isolation, personal protective equipment that fully covers the skin, how exactly is ebola transmitted, etc; the reality of the evil of ebola continues to raze the West African nations.  In West Africa there is no time for controversy. The death toll is accelerating and the dying are desperately clinging to minimally effective, makeshift clinics erected in war ravaged and resourceless communities.

America is just now realizing the need, while the people of West Africa have been burying the dead since March of this year.  Way back on Sept 2 Medicines Sans Frontiers  called for civilian and military help to combat the relentless evasion of ebola. Almost two months later, after three Americans  and one West African National tested positive for ebola on American soil, Americans seem to be getting the message of urgency to address the enemy at it's epicenter; West Africa.

Humanitarian workers have been in West Africa from the very beginning, working among the dusty roads, cutting iv tubing to make straws for the people to drink from, risking their lives while being suspiciously eyed by the villagers who have equated the increase in disease with their protective, alien looking garb and the the spray of their disinfection canisters.  It was this suspicion that caused villagers to kill eight health care workers  hiding their bodies in the septic systems on Sept 19th.

The temperatures are unbearable, and inside the suits the workers body temps increase dangerously, allowing only limited time to be in contact with the patients. If you were to pass out from the heat, it would be virtually impossible to remove your protective equipment safely.

Samaritan's Purse has been fighting this fight since the very beginning as well. The Samaritan's Purse, an international relief effort  based off of Luke 10:30-36,  gained media attention when Dr. Kent Brantley overcame the unspeakable infirmity known as ebola and gave all the glory to God.

“As I lay in my bed in Liberia for the following nine days, getting sicker and weaker each day, I prayed that God would help me to be faithful even in my illness, and I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified,” he said. (Dr. Kent Brantley) 

As I dug for information on what was actually happening with the people of West Africa, a similar phrase used among health care worker emerged; "ebola eyes" or "the look".  Although it is typical for the eyes to turn red from the leaking of blood from the tiny capillaries, this is not what I am describing. The look is the knowing that the flesh is separating from the soul.  This is described as a look of impending doom, the slipping away of the soul and the inevitable succumbing to the enemy.  Tewa, a child in Sierra Leone, who lost her father to ebola and subsequently lost her fight had "the look" before she died, said a health care worker who pleaded for help after 5 months of fighting ebola.  Nurses tell of caring for mothers that have lost as high as ten children,  adjusting intravenous sites that while providing hydration, they are also draining the life source as the bleeding from the site cannot be stopped. A nurse describes desperately trying to get the name of new patient that arrived in an ambulance before she died, (all that was gotten was that she was married). Sorrow can be lifted from the pages as they talk of walking infants and children's bodies to the morgue. Small rays of light such as watching the sun rise, dancing and singing in the ward and the joyous release of an ebola free patient sustain these weary warriors that have given weeks of life away from friends and family. They all speak of watching the "white board" for the names of their patients who have tested positive or passed away. Some days they see the names of their fellow nurses who have tested positive or passed away, a sobering reminder of the invisible, microbial war that is being waged.

As I am writing a call is stirring inside of me, should I answer the call to help the dying? I am  a nurse. Can I leave my friends and family? Can I risk my life? My life has been well spent for God and He will direct my path. If I were to contract the illness could I have the faith that Dr. Brantley exhibited facing life or death?  If I do not go, am I enabling the enemy to cross the waters of Africa to America, placing my friends and family at risk? These are questions I am sure every health care worker is grappling with. Nurses especially, because that is what we do... we care for others.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The tears of War

When I took the position of the Director of Nursing at St Mary's in Lafayette, IN, I noticed a dutiful, and quiet soul that took care of the residents in a compassionate and respectful way. She was a nun, still bound to St. Mary's on her visa to America, even though the Sisters had sold the facility and it was no longer Catholic.  She was very hard working and would pick up extra shifts and while I spent my three years there, Sr. Andrea completed her RN and became one of my nurses.

Sr. Andrea was from Nigeria. She had a love and devotion to her country and her loved ones that she had left there. She came to America to be educated in her vocation of nursing so that she could take those skills back to Nigeria where they were so urgently needed. Sr. Andrea told me that she was a midwife in Nigeria and she delivered many dead babies due to the lack of prenatal and proper medical care or facilities. She was grieved and knew that there had to be a better way. She was torn always about her obligations to her education and the urgency to return home to Nigeria to help these women and children.

Sr. Andrea was able to return home over the Christmas holidays last year. I was very concerned because of the danger and atrocities towards women, especially Christian women. Sr. Andrea's two toned blue habit would reveal her as a very clear target. Sr. Andrea desired to see her mother and the rest of her family that she had not seen in several years now. She did go and she did return safely and I let out a sigh of relief that God had heard our prayers.

Since then the atrocities of the Boko Haram and the Ansura, the two terrorist groups that have declared Jihad and bloodshed against Westerners and any Nigerians that in there opinion are not following Islamic law, including the Nigerian government, have alarmingly increased. In July of 2010 the Boko Haram, which means, "Western education is forbidden", joined in solidarity with Al-Qa'ida.

The latest attack of the mis-motivated Islamic militants was against civilian villagers in Izge.  Witnesses describe the horrific scene saying that the Boko Haram arrived on Sunday morning, riding in on trucks and motorcycles. They gathered the men of the village in the midst of the village and proceeded to shoot and hack the men to death. They then proceeded door to door, killing any villagers they found, setting off explosives and burning down houses.  The estimated dead ranges from 60 - 100. It is an estimation because the villagers had to flee and leave the bodies in the street to save their lives. The governor of this ill-fated region, Kashim Shettima, says the Boko Haram is more heavily armed then the Nigerian soldiers. Shettima says given the current state of affairs,  the Boko Haram will "overrun communities and butcher innocent souls" despite the army presence. 

What evil possesses a group to believe that they are providing a necessary cleansing of the "infidels"? I cannot for the life of me understand how one can shed the blood of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of Jihad. I know from the history books that this is an old war that goes back to the foundation of man when two nations and two manners of people wrestled in the womb of Rebekah Ge 25:23. Regardless, I cannot understand the apathy of bloodshed. Do we remain barbaric and primal, that our disagreements are settled with blood? G_d forbid. Yet that is what happens, daily, not just in Nigeria but around the world. 

War..... "the blood of the soldiers is the elixir of freedom" was a slogan that I read on a military site while visiting my son. War.... I cannot tell you the grief of spirit I felt as I saw my son deploy to the battlefields of this war that  continues from the day of the crusaders. War... the same demonic force that caused the arch angel Michael to wrestle with the prince of the kingdom of Persia thus delaying Daniel's prayer. 

Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Da 10:12 & 13

Is that what is going on? Are the angels both of light and of dark warring in the heavens? That is the only explanation that I can perceive for the delay in the deliverance of my brother and sister Christians that are enduring these atrocities by the hand of blood-thirsty warmongers in the name of their god. Or is the delay of deliverance due to the apathy of American Christians? How many have assembled in a solemn fast demanding the deliverance of our brothers and sisters? How many turn the page because they can't handle the information? How many stand silent? 

The American church needs to wake up. This blood-thirsty evil has already come upon us. 911 is not forgotten. Apathy and, even worse, embracing the enemy and allowing them unprecedented access to the Holy pulpit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  According to Sun Tzu, The Art of War, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

Join me in prayer, join me in publishing the hard truths of today. Join me in a fast for our brothers and sisters, however the Lord instructs you, do something! Do not be a part of the apathy. 

      And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; ...I Co12:26