Barbara became ill in early January. She was diagnosed with several problems that required treatment. Then a confusing cacophony of symptoms appeared – layered one on top of another.
Somewhere in that chronology an infection had taken hold and settled down in her right kidney. The symptoms of this new infection continued undetected and were apparently masked by the treatment of the other problems and symptoms.
But on January 28th Barbara had entered a condition known as “sepsis”.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“Sepsis (/ˈsɛpsɨs/) is a whole-body inflammation caused by an infection.
 Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion.
 There may also be symptoms related to a specific infection such as a cough with pneumonia or painful urination, with a kidney infection. In the very young, old, and people with a weakened immune system, there may be no symptoms of a specific infection and the body temperature may be low or normal rather than high.
 Severe sepsis is sepsis causing poor organ function or insufficient blood flow. Insufficient blood flow may be evident by low blood pressure, high blood lactate, or low urine output. Septic shock is low blood pressure due to sepsis that does not improve after reasonable amounts of intravenous fluids are given.”
Barbara’s presentation was in the second order of symptoms and hid easily below the noise of her other problems. But as God’s providence had mysteriously led us into the wilderness, so His Gracious providence provided a way through the wilderness.
I suppose no one likes to be ill, and if we must be ill, we want to be home to recuperate. But like many missionaries, we found ourselves again in circumstances where one of us was gravely ill. Ill in a country where national health care is more infamous than famous.
On the afternoon of January 28th I was desperate for help. Barbara was laying on the floor next to the bed, conscious, but unresponsive and unable to cooperate. I called one of Barbara’s English students and asked him to send his mother to help me get Barbara back in bed. They both came and we were able to get her on the bed. I asked them to call an ambulance to transport her to a hospital. I learned then that only one hospital had an ambulance and they would not send it out without a doctor’s authorization. The doctor that had been treating Barbara was not affiliated with that hospital.
Rene (her student) kept making calls from the foot of Barbara’s bed and finally got an ambulance on the way. Transport had become important because at some point in these events Barbara had lost the ability to walk. I feared she had damaged her spine or hip. She had recently been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, so it seemed a likely possibility.
God was working into our lives what He had prepared for us.
The doctor that eventually authorized the sending of the ambulance turned out to be a good friend of Jacobo Ramos. Jacobo is a brother in Christ and dear companion in ministry. Dr. De Leon is a specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology. I came to know that he was indeed a God send. God uses “means” as well as miracles. The providential provision of means is often a miracle. When Jesus put clay on the blind man’s eyes it was not the clay that healed the man. Just so when He uses vessels of clay our confidence is not in the vessel but in the Savior.
Although (medically speaking) we have a ways to go before she is recovered; we are, it appears, well on the way, and by God’s grace Barbara will recover. She is able to get around without assistance, except when she is tired. She wants to assume as much of her routine as she can and does prepare our meals. I’m trying to keep her away from the heavier house work to protect her spine from further damage. We will have to deal with the Polymyalgia rheumatica and its (at times) debilitating pain. We can return our attention to this shortly.
We thank God for your prayers and His provision. His clay in our service for His Glory. The doctors and staff at Hospital Privado Quetzaltenango and ICU. Also for praying friends, neighbors, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 Peter 5:7-11 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”.
In the loving grace of God,
Jeff and Barbara Clark