They've moved Liz.!..!..!. Please excuse my strange punctuation...it's only because I'm still not sure whether that's disappointing or exciting. On Friday I was quite surprised to find out that the doctors here in Mbale suddenly decided they needed to transfer Liz to the main government hospital in Kampala, the capital. Mulago is the hospital where they transfer most serious cases to within the first week, but for some reason, Liz was kept here at Mbale main hospital until almost a full month after she was admitted, and then she was suddenly and unexpectedly moved.
I'm excited that she should be receiving better care at Mulago now (read more experienced doctors and staff, better facilities, ect.), but I'm also really disappointed that I can't keep visiting her. I'm also disappointed that she might not be able to use the gel sent for her either...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up.
About a week ago a friend in the states had heard about Liz's case and sent over some great burn gel. Initially, the nurses had basically said if you want to use your own medicine, just take your patient and leave the hospital. On Monday, with my knees shaking and my voice trembling, I went to the hospital early in the morning to request that the doctors use it in Liz's dressings instead of just the Vaseline they had been using. I sought an audience with the main doctor, and after waiting for several hours, I finally got to sit and talk with him. I was surprised to find out that he himself was only an intern, having received his M.D. just last year. He said that he didn't have the authority to grant my request, and I should come back the next day with documentation on the gel to speak to the consultants (big wigs) of the hospital who visit once a week.
Tuesday found me back at the hospital perhaps even more nervous than before with print outs of all the documentation I could find on both the gel, and why using Vaseline on 2nd and 3rd degree burns actually aggravates infection. As I did my best to humbly present my request to the 5 doctors before me, I was so nervous! Surprisingly, they were really friendly and receptive! They agreed to use the gel instead of Vaseline and invited me to come as they examined the patient and instructed the nurses on her new treatment. As I fought to restrain myself from dancing and leaping for joy out of the hospital, I still didn't quite manage to subdue the grin on my face.
It was such a good day. Not only did the doctors accept to use the gel, but her auntie Mary invited me back to the family house! We went and saw their home as well as a picture album stocked full of Liz's family pictures. Recently her family had been using the gel on Liz's face, and it was showing incredible improvement. The open wounds were now closed, the skin was growing back on her lips, and the discolored areas were also returning to normal. Even so, I was surprised to see the recent pictures of her. If I had met her on the street, I wouldn't have recognized her. She had been a beautiful girl, and I just pray that the Lord will restore what was destroyed....with added inward beauty!!
With the small victories and hopes of more to come, I was so hopeful and excited! Which is why it was such a surprise to find Liz had been moved. I still don't know what to think. But I am convinced of this: my God is the one holding every fiber of her being together, and He does not change. Today makes exactly one month since the fire. It is truly a miracle she has survived thus far, and I believe in a God of miracles who will continue to work!
As far as my role in her life goes, I have her auntie's phone numbers and I will try to keep up on her progress by phone as much as I'm able. I don't have any idea if I will ever have that relationship with Liz again, but I can only pray that the Lord would work in her heart and that He might use what time I had with her to bring her back to Him.
I know that I'm different now. My comfort zone has been stretched beyond anything I could have imagined. My stomach has been proved stronger (through desperate prayer!!!) than I would have believed possible. And my heart has been broken yet again for the desperate need of these people for a growing, living relationship with their Savior. I am beyond thankful for the privilege of being here and participating in that work!