Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dragons Slayed

I guess I kinda owe everybody an update on our situation and my dragon-slaying wife.

Thursday morning, the Prefet sent word via the district medical officer that he would be calling his brother, the prime minister, and asking him to call the American ambassador, requesting we be removed from Tchad.

When my wife heard this, she went back on her strike. But she felt bad for the ladies on the maternity ward, so she went and did rounds on her 16 patients. But she kinda then felt bad for the post-op patients, so she rounded on those 12 patients too. Well, and there were two elective surgeries that where waiting, so she did those too. Well, and she was presented four more patients needing elective surgery, so she lined them up for Friday.

Then today, she rounded on maternity and surgery again and then goes and performs five surgeries and consults a million more, getting home about 6pm on her strike day. (Her last patient came from Cameroon.)

Should you ever need a labor union leader... She is not the one you want.  Her compassion, in the face of the most torrid and unfounded accusations of racism, thievery, incompetence and deceit, awes and humbles me.

Thursday, after hearing the Prefet would have the ambassador throw us out, I went rapidly to the hospital to grab my computer. Trying to make a quick escape home, I was stopped by a young man running after me.

He came from twelve hours away, taking multiple busses over dirt roads. I had been so mad, I didn't go to the hospital the day before. He had been waiting for me at the hospital for three days. I asked him what he wanted. He said, "Nothing." I've been in Tchad six years, everybody always wants something.

He had come to see me a few weeks prior. I had written some medicines for him and sent him home. He went the twelve hours home. Then he decided to come back and see me again. His chest pain, his cough, his fatigue... It was all gone. He was gaining weight again. I asked him why he had come back. He said he simply wanted to say, "Thank you." He had tried all the other hospitals, but this was the one, I was the doctor, that had cured him.

I left him and headed home again. Once again, before I could reach the safety of my front gate (we live on the hospital compound), a nurse from the ER got me. He had a fist full of medical booklets. He had patients he wanted me to see.

The first was a Muslim lady with her head covered. She had a bellyache. Literally. I wrote for some medicines. She and her husband told me they had spent twelve hours on multiple busses to come see me. They too had waited a few days to see me. The lady uncovered her head so I could see her eyes. They were welling up. Her husband began to speak. They had heard about the Prefet's threats. They wanted to personally apologize for the words of another and beg me not to leave Tchad. Who would take care of them? They thanked me repeatedly.

The next patient was the same story. Another twelve hour trip on multiple busses. Sorry about the grief the authorities are giving you. Please don't leave.

When I finished in the ER, the nurse from medicine caught me and begged me to see her patients. I have never said no to a nurse asking me to see a patient, so I suppose I shouldn't start now.

I rounded on medicine. Patient after patient grabbed my hand and thanked me and asked me to stay.

By the time rounds were finished, all I could do was to nod my head and grunt, afraid anything more and my voice might betray my emotions.

Later last night, my church elder came to my door to beg me not to leave. While speaking with the church elder, Danae went up to check on a patient. (She's the world's worst striker.)

Danae came back and said a nurse took her in private and begged her to stay. That wasn't surprising. What's surprising is it was the nurse we thought didn't even like us!

So while we remain threatened by silly people for silly and unfounded things, we have been sent encouragers. We have been told that we matter. We have been told we make a difference. We have been told we help. We have been told we are wanted.

And while we don't work for human accolades... It helps.

So we don't know yet what will become of us... But it's Friday night here, which is our Sabbath, our day of rest. Our day to put all our troubles behind us.

Why worry about tomorrow, what I will eat or what I will drink? Sufficient were the troubles of today.

For those of you who are the praying type, feel free to keep us in your prayers as things play out this next week.


  1. I will definitely be praying! You have both blessed thousands of people and saved hundreds of lives. The Devil is at work, but God is stronger!!

  2. I will be praying for you for wisdom, courage, forgiveness for those who have falsely accused you, that God's love will continue to be poured out through you, and that the truth will set you free! I have been so encouraged and inspired by your blog since I learned about it a couple years ago. God is using you for His glory! ~ Amelia

  3. You have over 200 student prayer warriors that are daily praying for you and your family Olen, including this teacher!

  4. Any update? Been praying for you all.

  5. I'm a third year resident in the states, have been following your blog for a few years.. Anyways, just wanted to let you know that you guys, the lives you lead, what you do, truly inspires me. Will be praying.

  6. I came to read your blog after assisting with your case today. I think it's amazing work what your do. Wish you well and pray for health and strength for you to continue what God has called you to do.