Monday, June 20, 2011

The Doctor is In

Sometimes it's easy for me to take for granted what my husband John does for all of his patients. Take Excellent, for example. He is a Haitian man in his fifities who for an unknown reason, has a large amount of fluid in the space around his heart. When John was in Haiti on his last trip, he saw Excellent and all of the fluid was making it very difficult for him to breathe. So John put a needle in Excellent's chest and drained off a lot of this fluid. This was a brave thing for John to do and a brave thing for Excellent to endure. It is no small thing to insert a needle in the chest without the benefit of xray to help guide the process. But it paid off, and Excellent was much improved. He could breath easily again, and he and his wife were very grateful to John.

This was enough in my book to qualify for amazing. But once John was home he continued to call Haiti for reports on how Excellent was doing. Unfortunately, his pericardial space was filling up with fluid once again. Now, there was no doctor in Excellent's town who was able to drain away the fluid. Even though he was in the United States, John considered Excellent his patient, and he feels an obligation to his patients. John made many phone calls and sent many emails to Florida and Port-au-Prince, and he found a clinic in the capital city with doctors willing to see Excellent and possibly drain the fluid out of his chest. John made many more calls to Haiti and arranged for a bus to transport Excellent, his wife, and an escort the five hours from his home to Port-au-Prince. And last week, Excellent was once again breathing easier because, thanks to John's advocacy and efforts and the skilled doctors at the clinic, Excellent got the fluid that is choking his breath drained from his chest.

I am very proud of John for his efforts on behalf of Excellent. It is humbling to me too, because I think of all the times I haven't gone the extra mile, or even the extra inch for someone in need. Wouldn't it be great if we all derived such passion and joy from using our talents and opportunities to serve those most in need of them? What a world it would be! Thanks John for living this lesson.

In the picture above, John removes the stitches from the forehead of a neighbor.

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