A Man on His Way to Rest

There is a reason why we are here, and it is not always to cure people in the hospital or to teach them in the school.  Here is a touching story from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.

The uncurable patient


Tears at the End of a Long Day

After a long, hard day, Dr. Luz Pena  and Dr. Martina John are almost done,  only one more patient to see but this last case seems quite complicated. A young man shows them a large tumor that has been eating its way through the wall of his chest. “We can’t help you here,“  Doctor John tells him, “You need to get to the big cancer hospital in Lima as soon as possible“. The patient shakes his head. “I´ve been there. The doctors there sent me to you at Diospi Suyana!“ Martina John suddenly realises that there is a reason the man  took the 17 hour bus trip to Curahuasi and asks him to wait  while she gets something.

A few minutes later, the  dying patient is holding a tract about faith and the book containing the story of Diospi Suyana in his hands. There they stand in the  empty waiting room,  the two doctors, a young man who has already reached the end of his life, his wife and brother.

The missionary doctor comes straight to the point: “You know,  when I cross the Panamericana out there, a car could knock me down and kill me and then where would I be going?“ Until then the waiting room had seemed  completely deserted but then there is a shift in the atmosphere. “I know where, “she continues, “because Jesus died on the cross for my sins heaven would be waiting for me. Do you want to go there too?“

As the patient nods his head the doctor bends down to him and slowly formulates a prayer, which he repeats sentence by sentence, placing his life in the hands of the God of Love he has never met. Tears run down every face.. the man, his wife and brother weep… and the two doctors. But these are not tears of despair or self-pity. It is what happens when five people sense the holy presence of God in the midst of a waiting room, surrounded by 120 empty chairs.

The Weekend.

We had a nice weekend.  Friday evening as I was leaving the hospital, we heard a friend was up on top of a local overlook called Rumi Capitan.  She had gone up with a friend and her two small kids, and the kids were too tired to come down.  They were hoping for a ride down, so David and I went up to get them.  We were glad to go because it was a very clear day, and the views from the top our incredible.  Unfortunately I put the first dent in our car on the way down as we tried to squeeze through a tight spot where a recent small avalanche had occurred.  I was pretty bummed about that, but it was bound to happen as the roads here are pretty rough, especially in the rainy season.  I was on call on Saturday, and although it was busy, it was a Saturday well spent.  The first patient of the morning came in with mastitis with fever and severe breast pain.  There was no abcess on ultrasound, so I treated her with some IV antibiotics and then sent her home to return on Monday to be sure all was still OK.  The next patient was a very sick woman (who surprisingly did not look that bad).  She had HELLP syndrome which is a very dangerous complication of pregnancy.  It is a severe form of pre-eclampsia.  She spontaneously started to bleed from her nose, so we took her back for a ceasarean section.  She has responded well and has had no problems since her surgery.  Her baby is doing great as well.  A little later in the afternoon a man came in with a huge scrotum.  It was probably just swelling from a recent operation for a hernia, but I could not be sure.  I admitted him for antibiotics, pain medication, and for a review by the surgeon.  Then later another woman presented to the hospital in active labor and proceeded to have a normal delivery and a healthy baby.  Poor David spend a few hours riding his bike around the hospital while I saw the first two patients.  We had come down together to wash the car.  When I was called in for the first emergency, I had him finish washing the car on his own thinking I would finish quickly.  However as the obstetric emergency came in, David was left to find something else to do as he waited for me to finish.  When all the morning patients were taken care of, David and I rode into town to pay the internet bill at the local bank (we have to go to the bank to pay our bills since there is no way to pay online, and there is no local mail system) and to buy some much needed butter.  Then we headed home.  Sunday morning, I came home from spending the night in the hospital and we went to our little church.  After church, like always, we went to the big Sunday market to load up for the week with fruits and vegetables.  Then in the afternoon we were pleased to receive a call from the Hassfeld family to meet them at the local spring fed pool to pass a little time in the afternoon.  This little pool is ice cold, but refreshing and tolerable as all your limbs get numb from the chilly water.  There is a nice little grassy area around the pool, but today some young guys were practicing their motocross skills by racing around the pool which made us parents a little anxious.  In the evening, Allison and Peter made us some chocolate soufflés.  What a surprise to have some french desserts here in Curahuasi!  They turned out great, which I think was an unexpected treat for all of us.  Thanks for keeping up with us and enjoy some pictures from what is a pretty typical weekend in the Caire household.

The Kindle and Young Adult Literature

A brief illness provided some reading time this week and so I read four kids’ books in one day: Sarah, Plain and Tall; The Giver; The Sign of the Beaver; and Anastasia Krupnik.  I have really enjoyed revisiting books from my youth (Cheaper by the Dozen) and reading new ones.  I love this part of my new job as the continuing English education teacher.

Classic children’s books are quality reads.  The only problem with them is that they are too short.  As soon as you start getting to know the characters and caring about what happens to them, the book is over.

So I started reading The Lord of the Rings.  That should solve that.  (I’m copying you, Doug Jackson.  I felt a twinge of jealousy when I read your post.)

I composed the following short poem (?) while reading:

O Kindle, friend in a foreign land

Joy in reading

Painful reality in your reflective surface

Such a bad angle while

propped up in bed or

sitting with you on my lap

I want to hear from you, friend.  What are you favorite children’s literature books?  What do you remember reading as a kid?  What have your kids read and enjoyed?

Diospi Suyana Photos

From the Hospital Diospi Suyana website.

Some of the reasons we are here

Some of the reasons we are here

Waiting in the hospital

Waiting in the hospital



Kids Clubs

Kids Clubs

Dr. Tina Klaus doing a medical outreach.

Dr. Tina John doing a medical outreach.

More reasons we are here.

More reasons we are here.

The inaugaracion ceremony.

The inaugaracion ceremony.

The hospital with patients filing in.

The hospital with patients filing in.

Insects and Bites and Surprises in the Night

We have lots of creepy crawlers in our home.  One thing we deal with more here is scorpions.  We kill scorpions every day.  I have also suffered an bite in the middle of the night which is an interesting thing to have wake you up.  The clothes are hung outside to dry, and the ants like using the clotheslines to crawl from one side of the yard to the other.  So if you don’t shake out the linens well, you might find a surprise in your sheets.  It can also be more than a surprise.  I deal with insect bites almost every day at the hospital.  Scabies is very common.  Fleas and biting flies also cause a lot of irritation.  But the worst are the spider bites.  There are lots of black widows around, and their bite is very toxic.  There are some good photos on the Diospi Suyana Hospital website that show some of the side effects and the extraordinary surgical measures that are sometimes needed to cure these bites.  Read below about a recent patient.

Do you have a spider phobia?Spinne-900x330Then please do not read more

This black spider is very common in Curahuasi. It has a noble appearance of red- black color, but it is highly toxic. Everyone takes around her. Unfortunately in houses and the outdoors spiders of any kind can be dangerousness. When Maria Caceres (name changed) was bitten by a spider two weeks ago, she gave the matter no attention at first. Although it did hurt a lot, the people in the mountains of Peru are tough.

Left, the tissue over a large area (length ~ 10 cm) is dead. Right to recognize the bite site.

Left, the tissue over a large area (length ~ 10 cm) is dead. Right to recognize the bite site.

But her calf was changing rapidly. Maria began to limp. Finally, on a recommendation of a friend she sought help in the hospital Diospi Suyana .  The venom of the spider had killed skin and muscle tissue. The day before yesterday she was operated on by Dr. Annette Hair and Dr. Reinhard Kühn. The surgeons did the right thing and cut away all the dead tissue from the leg.  The wound will take weeks to heal. A vacuum system helps to speed up this process.

The dead tissue is cut out. The wound is treated with a vacuum system.

The dead tissue is cut out. The wound is treated with a vacuum system.

Love Does Make a Good Read

If you are looking for an inspirational book, I’ve got one for you: Love Does by Bob Goff. Goff_Love_Does__89653_zoomWill read it first, of course, and he kept reading me little parts and saying, “This guy is crazy!” I have to admit that I hardly ever finish any book that falls into the category “Christian Living” unless I am accountable to a book club, but Will assured me that this book was highly entertaining and he was right.

Bob Goff is one of those “to the beat of his own drum” individuals who also has a passion for serving the Lord. Each chapter tells a crazy story from his life which he uses to illustrate a spiritual principle he learned. Here are a few quotes: “‘You’ve only got about a dime’s worth of life now. Come and trade up, come follow Me, and you can know God.’ In that sense, Jesus isn’t requesting a sacrifice at all. He’s asking us to play Bigger and Better, where we give up ourselves and end up with Him.”

“I think life is like that banquet Jesus talked about. I think God sends out His messengers to tell everybody there’s plenty of room and there’s free food and conversation and adventure and a wonderful and generous host who has invited us by name… He keeps saying there’s more room to those who really want to be invited to where He is.”

In talking about serving behind the scenes, he says, “We all get a chance to be awesome if we want to be. Not surprisingly, the way to do it best is by being secretly incredible.” We’ve been telling our kids to “be awesome.”

This book made me want to know Jesus the way He truly is. It made me thankful for all the people in my life who have shown me their love by their deeds. It made me want to do something really challenging and outside of myself. It made me give myself a new job title and start praying differently. It is so positive and makes following Christ so exciting that you want to jump in and join the party. It deserves a yearly re-read– I have been snickering anew as look through it, writing this book report! Do yourself a favor and download it or order it or find it or borrow it, read it, then let Will and I know what your favorite part was.

The Soundtrack of our Lives

It has been interesting to me how important music has become to our family since we moved to Curahuasi. We have always enjoyed music, like almost everyone I am sure. However when we came here, with all the strangeness and culture shock, we found a new importance for music in how we managed our emotions through the transition. You might think as a missionary family that Christian music would be encouraging to us, and it is. Through some Facebook recommendations we have come to really enjoy Rend Collective Experiment, Ghost Ship, and Josh Garrels. Martin Smith and Delirious?, Michael W. Smith, and others are again on our frequent playlist. However, what has been a bit of a surprise to me is how we have all enjoyed old pop music and classic rock and roll, and how these older songs have brought comfort to our family. I think for me it reminds me of the peace of childhood and in some way makes me feel peaceful now. I had a really great childhood. Thanks Mom and Dad. Our kids have quickly memorized most of Michael Jackson’s best known songs. Peter is especially into Coldplay and U2. David prefers Sting and The Police. We all enjoy a little Elvis and The Beatles. The girls enjoy Phil Collins, especially Sussudio. And the songs of the movie “Frozen” are constantly sung, word for word, by our kids. Its comfort music, a little like comfort food. It makes the soul feel full and well cared for.

As we are all U2 fans in our house, we are looking forward to the new album coming out soon. In the anticipation of the new album I was pleased to find this link to their recent performance on The Tonight Show. I only watched a bit, because the internet cannot stream it fast enough, but I saw enough to enjoy the visuals and to look forward to what I hope is a good album. If you have recommendations of new albums or artists, let us know. We will check them out and make them part of the background music of our lives.

Keeping people happy…

Pizza time!

Pizza time!

… is easy to do when you feed them pizza. Here is something that can make our family’s day, any day, and it does so about once a week– it is a little piece of home and so yummy too. At first we were sad that there is not any good pizza in town, but now we are big fans of this recipe. I have found that pizza making is pretty enjoyable– the stretchy dough, the painting of the sauce, and the end result is certainly rewarding, making every member of the family happy at once.

This is a calzone recipe from Cuisine at Home, a magazine my sister-in-law recommended to me and I can heartily recommend to others. It makes two about 10” pizzas. We have started to need to make three!

Pizza Dough
1 c. warm water
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 c. flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Sprinkle yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar over warm water and let it sit for several minutes. When it is foamy, add the olive oil. In the meantime, put the flour, tablespoon of sugar, and salt into a food processor or large mixing bowl and combine. Add the yeast mixture and either process until it forms a ball or mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Now knead it on a lightly floured surface about 10 times. Put the dough into a bowl with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom and turn it over so that it gets oiled on top and bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for at least an hour. Cut the ball into two pieces and roll into whatever shape your cookie sheet or pizza pan is.
If you have a good working surface, don’t sprinkle much flour at all for rolling out your crust or it will spring back and you’ll never get a thin crust. I like it pretty thin, so I let it stick to the table until I get it the size I want. It peels off easily. I read on the Internet that you can turn a cookie sheet over and bake on it so that you can slide your pizza off. I put a tiny bit of corn flour (it’s like cornmeal only more fine) down first, peel the dough off the table, arrange it on the turned-over cookie sheet, and add a simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. This is an important tip, because if you build your pizza on your working surface instead of your baking surface, it is very hard to move the pizza onto your baking surface. I’ve learned that the hard way! We like pizza margherita, with just cheese and basil, or a few slices of ham. We haven’t gotten too crazy with the toppings yet, but there is more pizza to come, never fear… When you come to visit us, I’ll make you a hot, delicious, Allison’s Pizza Kitchen pizza!

Saturday Afternoon Drive