Saturday, August 6, 2016


My wife is a dragon-slayer. Let me tell you why...

Yesterday was a bad day. Our leading local authority accused us publicly of killing patients with expired medicines, accused our surgeon of killing patients because he's too old (anybody who's spent a day in the OR with him would scoff at the thought) and that our surgeon could be replaced with somebody two years out of high school who could do a better job, accused us of being here for the money, and accused us of being racist, using the local equivalent of "nigger". Then he lectured us on the Ten Commandments.

My wife was distraught. We fought, built, sent people to school, sacrificed paycheck and status and professional advancement, time with family. We have seen all four of our kids suffer from malaria. We have watched our son seize with malaria. We have stayed up innumerable nights watching our kids get IV quinine. We have vomited more in the last six years than in the first 31. We have sobbed, we have bled, we have sweat. We live in a tiny house, rarely less than 95 degrees inside. Our electricity and our plumbing is spotty. None of this will ever make us leave the mission field.

But now to be accused of this, my wife was done. We talked about packing up and leaving last night. We talked about going on strike and only treating the urgent cases that arrive. We were at our lowest. We prayed.

This morning I woke up to my wife cuddling hard against me, despite the heat. I thought maybe she needed some emotional reassurance. It turned out she needed to feel warm. She began to shiver violently. She was burning up. She has malaria. She is nauseated, but she is taking her pills. She is dizzy, but she is drinking a little water and eating canned peaches.

We prayed. We read Luke 12. My wife went back to bed.

A nurse knocked on the door. The midwife. I told Danae. Danae said she was on strike. I got the story of a woman who delivered at home three days ago, was bleeding from multiple vaginal lacerations and one torn into her urethra, and the nurse couldn't fix it. Her hemoglobin was three.

I relayed the story to Danae, who told them to apply pressure. The midwife went back to work.

Minutes later, Danae came out of the bedroom. She didn't even put on her scrubs. She went up to the hospital. She stopped the bleeding. She saved a life.

She came home and put on her scrubs. I asked her what happened to the strike. She explained to me there was a man with a non-urgent hernia waiting for surgery. But he had been waiting for three days. She felt badly for him.

Then there was an older woman needing a hysterectomy. It's a big surgery. My wife has malaria. And an extremely heavy heart. The sickness is causing the old woman to be in pain. It's nothing that will ever kill her. But Danae sees her. Danae agrees to do the surgery today. Another non-urgent surgery. While Danae has malaria. And while people are saying she's a racist. And while people are saying she's here for the money, she is off doing a hysterectomy for $80, 100% of which goes to the hospital. Not a single dime from this surgery will ever end up in Danae's pocket. And while people are saying she's killing patients. She doesn't care. She knows the truth.

And she knows this woman is innocent. Just another old woman in pain. From something Danae can fix. If they are in pain, and Danae can fix it, Danae will fix it, regardless how the world may be falling around her.

This is my wife. This is my hero. From the first day I met her. She has not changed.

I don't know if we will stay in Tchad or not. But it doesn't really matter. If people want us here, we will stay. If they don't, we won't.

It doesn't matter because my wife has already proven that her love beats the pants off whatever it is you have.

She has slain your dragon. And she will slay them all.

Because that's what she is.

My wife is a dragon-slayer.

1 comment:

  1. I hear the disappointment, the anger, the frustration at the unfairness, and I hear your respect for Danae. You and your family are still in God's hands. He sees and hears everything that is done and said about you and to you. And inasmuch as you've done it for the least of those you meet, you did it for and to Jesus. He sees that too.