Well shortly after my return from Nabire the Lord answered Julie’s prayer while I was away. She was praying that she would stay healthy until I returned, and she did. But not 2 days after my return Julie was spending her first night in a local Merauke hospital. She woke up Saturday morning with stomach pain. Thinking it was something she ate we didn’t think to much of it. However, Sunday morning rolled around and the pain was still there and possibly worse. Fearing it could be as bad as a ruptured appendix we went to the emergency. The doctor there did their checks but it being Sunday and the following day was a holiday there was no one to run the ultrasound machine. So they admitted her and started her on some antibiotics and pain meds for the night. The next day the ultrasound revealed gallbladder stones which came as a relief as surgery was still likely, but no longer emergency like a ruptured appendix would be. So after one more night to finish the antibiotic treatment we went home to start looking into the next step to bringing health back to Julie. Indonesian local hospitals are set up a bit different in that someone stays with the patience. So the kids had two nights at home without mom and dad. Thankfully the house was still standing and we still had 3 kids when we got home. As we started to work through the process of getting pre approval for the next step, the next challenge arose. Thursday evening the fiber-optic line that brings life to all of Telkomsel’s forms of communication broke somewhere in the ocean. Cell phones, landline (not that there are many of those anymore), and internet all dead. At first not knowing how long this was going to be we waited until Sunday morning before making further plans. However, in the meantime Julie is not really getting any better. So using our newly installed sat tracker in the airplane (it’s a pretty cool device that can send emails and text messages) I was able to communicate with leadership in Sentani and the plan was made for us to travel to Sentani on Monday morning provided I could get tickets. There is another cellular provider in Merauke but due to the large overload on their system as everyone switched, this also became unreliable a good part of the time. Monday morning came and knowing that communications was difficult I went directly to the airport thinking I could purchase tickets directly from the airline. Yep, no go, the airlines don’t sell tickets direclty. Our usual travel agent doesn’t open until 9:00am and the plane departs at 9:30am so I guess we’ll have to go on Tuesday instead. Well as I was going home to tell the family to stand down we will need to wait another day I noticed a travel agent office open on the side of the road not far from home. So on a whem I whipped in and asked. Lion was full but he was going to check Garuada. So about 20 mins. later he called and confirmed that there were still seats available. I met him out front of the Garuada customer service office and handed him some cash and he texted me our booking number and we were off, well almost. Next came check in which reminded me of days long ago when people would hand write out boarding passes and luggage tags. Yes, that is correct, hand written boarding passes and luggage tags for all the passengers, my hand hurts just thinking about it. Then to top it off the last security check stop’s xray machine was broken so TSA was hand inspecting every piece of carry on? On a slight side note if you tell them someone in your party is ill you have to get examined before boarding the plane. So knowing what Julie had I didn’t want the hassle nor have her poked and probe anymore than needed. Julie did well putting on a good face walking through the airport not to get noticed that she was ill. By the time we got to Sentani however she was done.
In Sentani Julie was seen by Dr Di, she is such a blessing to have here in Papua. After seeing Dr. Di we made plans to get Julie to Jakarta for what most likley would be surgery. And at this point we could continue to communicate with insurance again as Sentani was not effected by our fiber-optic line break. Giving Julie an extra day of rest before travelling again we departed to Jakarta Thursday morning and again Julie did good getting to the gate. The trip however was pretty hard on her especially the taxi ride in Jakarta. From the airport we went directly to the hospital for Julie’s appointment. I think there were some strange looks as this family of bule’s (foreigners) walking into the hospital will all their luggage in tow. The kids did well watching our bags and playing on their tablets while I worked through the paper work and Julie did her best weathering the pain and uncomfortable waiting area chairs. Thankfully the Dr. admitted Julie into the hospital that afternoon so no more taxi rides for her until after the surgery. Friday (another holiday as well) morning Julie had her MRI and at which time the need for surgery was confirmed and scheduled for the following morning. Saturday morning Julie had her surgery which went well. Only a little stress for me as the Dr. tried to connect with us while we were at lunch and upon our return from lunch the Dr. was unavailable leaving me unaware of how the surgery went. And as one sits in a small waiting room for what seems like forever, one’s mind starts thinking unpleasant thoughts of worse case scenarios, or maybe that is just me that does that. Julie was released from the hospital on Monday. She is still doing well, gaining strength and stamina daily. We took advantage of the last two days in Jakarta and tried to take a bit of vacation. It’s interesting on days off how easily the rest of and relaxation can be quickly diminished with news of a stressful event back on base. I’ll leave the details of this out. Now as I finish up writing this blog we are in Sentani for a couple days to break up the trip and also have a few extra hours with internet access before heading back to Merauke. All in all the experience wasn’t too bad, good time of learning too trust more deeply in the One Who loves us more than we can ever image.
Blessings and thanksgiving from the Doles.