Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
Several days ago we admitted a very sick 19 year old who had been operated on three times over the past week at a nearby hospital and was referred to Tenwek. Her first surgery was a cesarean section, however, she was found to have large bilateral ovarian tumors. It wasn't clear why she had the second two surgeries. She was then brought to Tenwek. She was extremely ill with multi-organ failure.
On Tuesday night I asked the surgeons to see her due to an abnormality found on her imaging, and later that night they did a fourth surgery, only to discover that indeed her abdomen was completely filled with cancer. On Wednesday morning, after staff devotions, the surgeon, internist and respiratory therapist spoke with our team. The plan would be to meet with the patient's family and to begin the process of removing life support.
My medical student, Rose (pictured on the left in the picture), wants to be a critical care specialist or a nephrologist, or both. She is remarkably talented. After she had presented this morning in rounds, I spoke to them about how at this point how we now have multiple patients to care for. Not only do we have our patient who is dying, but now we have all of the family members as patients, as they are suffering and grieving the loss off their daughter, sister, friend. We also talked about how this is difficult for us as caregivers, and how we despise the face of death, where there is little else that we can do.
Yet, when we face death; when we go through very difficult times, God uses those moments for us to reflect on our own finite physical lives here on earth. God uses those times to change who we are, and to cause us to become more compassionate people. If we go to a party or a celebration, very little happens to us that changes our character; however, when we mourn and grieve, even if for others, God uses that pain and grieving to stir within us change deep inside of us; indeed to make us better people and more compassionate toward others.
The verse is worth repeating: "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart." Please keep this patient's family and my medical team in your prayers today.