A few months ago when the rest of the American staff started discussing their “summer break” plans, I made the decision to stay in the Dominican Republic for the few weeks we had off. I felt like it was important to really reinforce that San Juan is my home. Plus, I knew this would give me an opportunity to stretch myself outside of my comfort zone and work towards being more independent. I set a few goals for myself over the break: not to spend a lot of time at my apartment – to get out and be surrounded by the culture and language; familiarize myself more with driving in San Juan; and to expand and deepen my community here. I would say I achieved all these goals, just not in the way that I originally thought…
(Before I briefly explain how I’ve spent the past few weeks, I want to preface with the fact that I have gotten permission to share this story). Jess is another American missionary living and working in the DR. One of her children is a two-year-old daughter, Cami. A few days into our break I received a message from Jess that Cami was really sick, could I possibly come over to check her out? I went right over, and it was clear that Cami needed some medical attention, so I stayed with Jess’s other children while she took Cami to the ER. Fast forward two days and Cami is getting surgery. Fast forward another week and Cami is getting another emergent surgery, this time at a children’s hospital in the capital. There were a lot of bumps in the road along the way but after a 10 day stay at the hospital in Santo Domingo, I am so happy to share that Cami is back home in San Juan.
It was amazing to see people step up and stay with Jess’s other children so she could remain in the hospital with Cami. This also meant that I was able to be at the hospital with Jess for support but also to be her medical resource person. I have never been so thankful that I worked in surgery prior to moving here! Not only because my experience in surgery helped me to explain things to Jess, but also because my surgical background allowed me to go back to the OR with Cami while she went to sleep for her first surgery (I still can’t believe they let me do that!). Then you have our friend, Hannah, who brought Jess coffee every morning and food throughout the day. Hannah and her husband, Alejandro, also agreed to take care of Arlo and Osa at very short notice so that I could hop in the back of an ambulance with Cami and Jess to go to the capital when things took a turn for the worse. It is a beautiful thing to see people come together in a time of need! I guess I should mention that during all of this I had my first experience of having an intestinal parasite as well as some kind of bacterial infection…just a little something to add to the craziness! To say that the past few weeks have been rough would be putting things very mildly, but through it all we have repeatedly seen God’s goodness and I am so thankful to be a part of this community.
Another takeaway from this whole experience has been all that I have learned about the healthcare system here in the DR. I was able to see first-hand the care available in both San Juan and Santo Domingo and the differences between public and private hospitals. This whole experience has left me even more excited and hopeful for our new clinic. It is called the REVOLUTION project for a reason…this hospital truly does have the ability to revolutionize healthcare here!
While Cami has been a major focus of mine over the last few weeks, regular life still carried on. I still had emails to send and reply to, a surgical team to prepare for, and Spanish lessons to attend. I was able to observe a day of surgery in our clinic and enjoy some sunshine at the pool one day with Hannah, Alejandro, and their nephew. Arlo and I were also happy to have Osa staying with us while Tyler was in the States – those two dogs are best friends and just the greatest company I could have asked for after some long days.
I will end this blog with a Bible verse that has been on my heart over the past few weeks:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
In all things God works for our good. No matter how rough things get or how bad a situation may seem, we can always find good because God is good, always.
- Continued healing for Cami
- Smooth, successful weeks of service for our upcoming medical and surgical teams
- Safe travels as I make a quick trip back to the US at the end of this month for a friend’s wedding