For over a month we have been trying to solve the mystery of the ‘ghost stench.’ There is a foul, sickeningly ripe odor that emanates from the refrigerator every time we open the door. Our investigation of this enigma started with cleaning the entire fridge out, looking for that long, lost, slightly-opened tupperware container of rotting Phad Thai. This failed to reveal the pungent source. So our ironic trips to the refrigerator for some savory morsel of yumminess continued to be thwarted by the putrid bouquet that accompanied every attempt to open the door.
I bet something has died in this old rusty ice box, Heidi offered. So I literally crawled on top of the appliance and looked down the back side of it. I pulled it out a bit, and scoped the sides. I laid on the floor and stuck my nose as close to the bottom vent as possible, hoping my schnoz would detect the vulgarity. No dice.
Then, finally, thankfully, Heidi turned her attention to the wall just to the left of our refrigerator. To an innocent appearing electrical socket. That’s when we discovered our little rotting gecko friend. He was bloated. dead…
We know where the little corpse is now, but I’m afraid to extract him. I want to put some tweezers in there and just pop him out like a little sliver, but I can just imagine a bolt of electricity shaking my body (like a polaroid pictchuh), and me becoming the second rotting corpse to end up stinking up the refrigerator hallway. So for now we just hold our breath as we open the door, get in and out quick, and run away.
Speaking of rotting corpses, we have some interesting road kill just down the way from our hospital. Unfortunately, it’s not a possum or coyote. It’s a dead horse. Heidi was out on a 5:30 am run last week and discovered it (she goes early to beat the heat and avoid all the dust that is kicked up when ‘traffic’ picks up).
Everyone drives inappropriately fast down these dirt roads, so it’s not hard to imagine someone slamming into one of the feral horses that wander through the palm oil groves and banana orchards, occasionally crossing the dirt roads.
Unfortunately, our assumption was wrong. Mike, our maintenance chief, tells us that some local guy just shot them for fun. Apparently there’s another one down somewhere else in the jungle. sad…
To continue down my Debbie Downer pathway, I will share with you about a sweet lady named Maria who is only 56 (everyone is named Maria–when I look at the hospital list of patients for the day, there is usualy about 15 Marias). She came to me with a diagnosis of cervical cancer. She had received some care in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, chemo and radiation. Apparently halfway through the treatment she decided she couldn’t tolerate it any longer so she quit. She felt better for awhile but when her symptoms recurred she went to a ‘gynecologist’ near her home, who did a couple ultrasounds which he read as ‘normal,’ but eventually told her to come to our hospital to get surgery. She was assured that surgery would ‘cure’ her. She came, but didn’t have any of her records, no biopsy reports, etc. We did a little more investigation including a Catscan, which she had done in La Ceiba. It became clear that her cancer could not be cured by surgical means. She needed to go back and get chemo and radiation again. She was certainly disappointed, since she was putting her hope in our ability to surgically fix the problem. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to afford it either.
Her husband had died a few years prior and had left her a home, but she had to sell it in order to pay for her medical care. Her only family member is a daughter who has a job but can only just make enough to support their own family. Also she just wasn’t sure she could tolerate the treatment again.
The best I could do was to write her a reference letter requesting special assistance due to her financial situation. And we prayed for her. And you can pray for her as well. What is saddest here to me is that she seems to have a lonely road ahead of her. I think the worst thing about Cancer might be the feeling that you have to face it by yourself, without support from friends and family.
One last thought that has occurred to Heidi and I: Are you a twenty something year old, single young man? Do you love Jesus? Well let me tell you something, we have some amazing, lovely, incredible young women serving down here. Any one of them is a total catch. And they are working hard, making a difference, serving God and the Honduran people. Where are you guys? College, you say? Well come down for the summer. Working? You can do that the rest of your life. You young men need to step up, take a leap of faith, come on down here and serve. And maybe you just might meet the girl of your dreams. Just sayin…
Thanks for stopping by. Next issue: Shot… duh, duh, dunnnnn!
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