Friday, April 12, 2013

April 13th another day

The days are starting to look alike, I'm at the hospital today again trying to help Alena get back to Japan, a representative from the Japanese Embassy is on the way here to talk with Alena about her situation.

I might get a little philosophical here, quality of life is so much more important than the status we wear or the status other people assign to us. I can't imagine what it must be like away from home and incapacitated due to an illness and not have someone close around to be with you through the many periods of doubt or the unknown. Today, 75% of our team starts their journey home; depending upon the booking that was made; those of us on CheapoAir, have to leave tomorrow; it is Cheapoair what should you expect☺

Years ago when I served in the capacity of Associate Pastor at First United Methodist church in Ankeny, Iowa, I learned a lesson about caring and qualify of support. I went to the hospital in Des Moines, to visit a church member who was terminally ill. During my visit with this person he mentioned that he was afraid of dying and that he didn't want to die. As a new minister fresh out of Seminary, I thought I should have an answer for this expression of fear and concern about dying, but I had nothing and began to feel that I was failing him. I recall leaving the hospital thinking I must not be cut out for this, and questioned if I should stay in the ministry.

As I shared my concern of not being able to help a dying patient with the senior pastor Jim Russell, he said something to me that changed my life; "you don't need to have the answers, your job
Is to just be present and let God work." Jim called it the "ministry of presence." He was right, a few days after the patient died, his wife called me and thanked me so much for what I had done; her husband said he was comforted by my visit; all I did was sit with him, I had no answers.

Sitting here in the Kathmandu hospital with a friend is about the connections we make along the way in life, and the hope that our status has nothing to do with how we serve or get served in times of need.

A representative from the Japanese Embassy just stepped in this morning, Mr. Seiji Takahashi, to talk with Alena on how to get her out of the country soon. They are speaking Japanese along with me in the room, and not having a clue what is being said. I'm able to read body language and intonation, and getting some meaning, but not much. I've actually been here the last few days listening to Alena switch back in forth from English, Japanese, to Russian seamlessly.

As I think about my time in Nepal over these three and half weeks almost, I have been inundated with some of the inner workings of hospitals and the doctors themselves. I've met some very compassionate professionals who are putting their best forward to take care of patients who need their skills to deal with illness and or misfortune.

Last night I left the hospital to attend the final farewell dinner at the Rum Noodle restaurant here in Kathmandu. All were in attendance of course accept Alena. We had a wonderful time at this well known established place hidden down one the many back alleys that make up the Kathmandu city artery. To get to this place you walk down back alleys where two people could barely walk side by side at the same time.

Lots of speeches, lots of lessons learned, and tears and expressions of leaving it behind were shown in faces; we bonded through struggle, adversity, and triumph together. our group had some severe issues it had to deal with, and it still performed exemplary on all accounts. Everyone of us on this trip says they have accomplished something beyond what they thought they could. After this experience, none of us want to summit Everest, though I did get asked by the leaders of IMG (International Mountain Guides) if I was interested; I just felt my frost bitten like hands now three days after coming off the mountain, and my answer is "no" as we'll, this has been an achievement that moves me to expand my horizons of what's possible. Forget your age, forget your past, forget your failures, you are more than the sum
of all the things that attempt to define you, especially the messages from others, our self talk, and our attempts that get labeled as failures.

A representative from the American Embassy just walked in; that makes two foreign Embassy representatives in the same day that has visited and is attempting to help with this situation.

The weather is beautiful outside the hospital doors; a contrast of what it's like inside the hospital doors. The breeze
Coming through the open front doors of the hospital is almost Caribbean îlike.
The hospital is less chaotic today, it's the Sabbath, most people are off, the Trekkers and climbers coming through the doors has been minimal compared to the other days I've been here.

Okay, this situation is really turning international right now, the American Embassy representative is here, and the Japanese Embassy representative just showed up again. We are trying to get Alena out of the hospital as soon as possible, the insurance being an insurance company; will do this, but won't do that, then change their minds. Maybe with two Embassies helping, Alena may be able to get out of here soon, or else the costs continue to escalate and it's easy to see how a person could be emotionally and financially devastated with each passing day. The representative from the American Embassy is willing to take Alena home and hire a nurse to track her vitals until she can be evacuated; we're waiting for a doctor's consult.

I leave for the states tomorrow morning, this place called Nepal is beautiful and inviting, but it must be respected.

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