I’ve been working in the hospital for a little over 2 weeks, and have now unfortunately made my first cancer diagnosis. There seems to be a lot of cancer here. Lot’s of traumatic injuries as well. In particular, the Machete causes many of these injuries. There is seriously a machete wound of some sort that comes into the hospital almost every day. It’s like when you are a kid, you learn not to run around with scissors, or fiddle around with knives. Well, that message has not been circulated down in these parts, and when the knife you are toting is 2 1/2 feet long, and sharpened daily–and you’re carrying it while riding on a motorcycle on an uneven road, with a bag of groceries in your other hand, and another adult riding on the back, and it’s pouring sheets of rain, and then you crash–well, that machete invariably ends up lodged in your belly, or arm, or neck. But I digress, because I was talking about cancer.
So a sweet man named Jesus came in to see me. Not THE JESUS, although I did speak with Him as well earlier this morning. This hombre named Jesus, which is pronounced ‘Hey Zeus!’ lives in a nearby village.
Funny story about the name Jesus, I don’t think Jenny/Mize Trammell would mind me sharing. And I am likely to slaughter the story, and slightly(lavishly) embellish it: She was praying one morning when she heard the ping of her phone, signifying a message received. She closed her bible and flipped the phone over to reveal the text, and Lo and Behold, it said: ‘Hi Jen, this is Jesus, did you try calling me?’ Jen was floored… Why yes Jesus, I was just reading your word and offering up my prayers and supplication to You, but I didn’t expect you to respond in such a manner as this! I expected maybe a gut feeling about some decision I was contemplating, or a Friends gentle encouragement about one of my struggles. But a text message? Amazing, Lord, how you sometimes communicate with us!!
Then Jesus responded, ‘Uh, well actually Jen, this Jesus (Hey-zeus) Hernandez, you know, the guy who does Bathroom remodels? Yeah, I have that estimate for you…”
Anyway, really, I swear, I will tell you about Hey-zeus from the nearby village. I will stop goofing around, because this is actually sad, yet touching.
Hey-zeus had 2 teeth pulled yesterday. Unfortunately, the previously occupied sockets decided not to stop bleeding. They bled all day yesterday, and all night, despite packing them with gauze continuously. He woke this morning with ongoing bleeding and feeling weak. And so, he and his 2 daughters made the 7 mile dirt road trek to our hospital this morning to see if we could help him.
I looked back in his chart and he had been seen a few weeks earlier for blood in his urine, and some abdominal and back pain. It was presumed to have been a kidney stone, and treated as such (we don’t have that shiny expensive machine called a C-A-T S-C-A-N.) Well, I had a bad feeling about this and so ordered some typical lab work to assess his liver and blood. In the meantime, we started some fluids and I called my favorite dentist/cousin in Yakima (Dr. Trammell), for some advice on how to stop the bleeding.
His lab work eventually returned, confirming my suspicions of something being wrong with his blood cells, and hence not working in an appropriate manner to clot/coagulate his blood. He has Leukemia. And he has evidence of liver involvement, which is not a great prognostic indicator.
So, I prepared to tell he and his daughters the news. I recruited the help of Christy, the nursing supervisor who speaks Spanish as well as she speaks English, to help deliver this difficult news and navigate our options. With her help, I advised him of our diagnosis. He didn’t flinch, or shudder, or shed a tear. The first words out of his mouth were, ‘Soy Christiano.’ I’m a Christian. He went on to tell us of his involvement with the music/worship team of a local church. He told us how he is not worried, that his life is in God’s hands.
Wow. That is character. I hope that there comes a day when I have the faith and confidence in the Lord to not break down and wail when I am told that I will likely die soon. Although he appears physically feeble, I was humbled by the strength and conviction in his voice as he proclaimed the reason for his confidence.
As my friend Dan Ashe used to quote: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ Which I have just now discovered is a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr. —cool.
Please pray for Hey-zeus as he and his family grapple with his disease, and as we navigate how to get him appropriate care.
And now, some more pics: