In the middle of the night during the first week that I had arrived in Togo, the phone rang next to my head. Delirous I answered the phone, and the voice on the other end of the phone beckoned me to come to the operating room. A woman had arrived from another hospital, having suffered horrible complications from childbirth. Our team worked on her until the early hours of the morning, pouring blood into her veins, and suturing her injuries. Her baby had died even before arriving at our hospital, and the lifeless body of her little baby was brought out to her family.
The next morning, as sunlight lit up my room and hot coffee waited in the dining area, I wondered if she had even survived the night. Even if she did survive, surely she would have a horrible infection or have other serious and potentially life-threatening complications. But when I arrived at the hospital she was sitting up in bed asking for something to eat. Not even 6 hours had passed since she had come out of surgery!
Over the course of the next week, she didn't even get a fever. Her kidneys were working just fine, and her laboratory tests and vital signs were completely normal.
Eight days later she was discharged from the hospital. Going through multiple translators, I explained her discharge instructions, her home care, and her follow up appointment to return in a week.
When we were nearly finished, she was told through the translators that God had saved her life. This message was translated from English to French and then to her language. She smiled, looked at me, and said back through the translators that yes, God had saved her life, but that she was also grateful to me and the other doctors who had helped to save her life. Her eyes were bright, and her near toothless smile was precious. She then said to me, in English, "Thank you!"
This would not be the first time that the degree of gratitude expressed by a patient caused my eyes to flood with tears, nor will it be the last. What was particularly touching, however, was that she had made such an incredible recovery, and yet her body had sustained such trauma. The explanation could not be in the skill of her physicians and nurses, but clearly she had been healed of her wounds. Her obvious gratitude was worth far more than any Hallmark card could ever convey.
One of the last items to be packed prior to my departure from Arizona to Togo was a set of navy blue scrubs gifted to me by a patient. She had embroidered Psalms 147:3 below my name on the scrubs. It was even more fitting that on the day that this patient was discharged from the hospital that the embroidered scrubs reminded me of this psalm.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
This woman's baby had not survived the birth, and for this she was brokenhearted. Her wounds had been divinely healed. Indeed He had healed the brokenhearted and bound and healed her wounds.