My posts since Tuesday have been intentionally cryptic in that things have been happening here that I simply was not prepared to write about in detail. We have come to the end of Camp LIFE, and we are preparing to have our final parties tomorrow. I think you need to know the following details to produce praise in you toward God and result in additional prayers for the trip home starting tomorrow night.
My Friday of Camp LIFE was completely different than the others except for Gretchen. As you see in the picture associated with this post, Gretchen is in a hospital room, and she has been there since Tuesday afternoon.
Before I share with you how we end our week in a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, I’m going to give you a list of things that are unique to this trip.
- Gretchen was a last minute addition to the group going to Zambia due to an available spot and funds.
- Meagan Graham wanted to come on this trip, but the list of participants was full until we offered to have her sleep with our girls.
- At no other times in our lives do we have instant access to a top-notch doctor.
- Due to our group’s association with Izzy’s House, we were given extra Zambian partners in three of our groups. Usually we have two partners, but these three groups had three.
- My family shared groups this week, so Trevor helped me with our boys and Kristin and Samantha helped Sara with her girls.
With these facts in mind, the following took place Tuesday afternoon. Gretchen began to feel abnormal tingling and felt nauseous and weak about 1pm Tuesday at which time Sarah Winebrenner gave her some nuts to eat. Our large group time started at 1:30pm, and Gretchen thought she had not drank enough water resulting in her feeling bad. She drank a whole 20 oz. container of water at the start of large group. Gretchen continued to feel bad whereby Sara Krupke was encouraging her to go to the clinic (instant access to best doctor in country).
After feeling like she was feeling better, Gretchen began to meet with her group to share the gospel when the same tingling feeling came back at which point she felt like she was going to faint. She knew she needed to get to the clinic right away. Mercy, one of her Zambian partners and one of Izzy’s House girls, guided her to the clinic, which was only yards away.
When she arrived, she described her condition to Dr. Brad Guffey, who made her drink a salty fluid suspecting that she was dehydrated. After making Gretchen lay down, she completed the first bottle full of liquid at which point Gretchen experienced a serious seizure. Her face turned purple, her hands turned purple, and she was described as frozen. Dr. Guffey went into immediate action to save Gretchen’s life. Yes, Dr. Guffey most definitely saved Gretchen’s life in the middle of Lusaka, Zambia on a Tuesday afternoon.
Just as a quick side note, it’s amazing how when one of your close friends has a real near death experience that it puts so many other events in their proper perspective. Our life is so short, and we have a tendency to become so wrapped up in the heat of the moment of our lives that we fail to remember that God is in control and that our life is incredibly short.
Dr. Guffey was able to stabilize Gretchen at which point she was rushed to the best and closest hospital in Lusaka where she has been ever since. As a result of this traumatic episode, Family Legacy and our group have been maintaining constant care of Gretchen by having someone stay with her in the hospital at all times, and Dr. Guffey has requested that one Family Legacy employee is always awake throughout the night watching Gretchen.
As another side note, Family Legacy has been fantastic! We have seen one employee after another take their turn in the hospital, which is something they never planned to do, but they come with smiles and loving hearts. Wow! Their goal of ministering to both the Zambian orphan and American family could not have been seen anymore better than this week.
So why those details above? Our group has had to share many responsibilities including spending the night in the hospital each night until we leave tomorrow. This would not be possible unless all those things above were true. God knew what we needed so far in advance that our only proper response is to praise Him.
Furthermore, consider with me the timing of this event. If Gretchen had this episode at any other time, in any other place, she likely doesn’t have the immediate medical care to save her life. If you just ponder these things, what can we do but overflow in thanksgiving for our loving Savior God Jesus Christ.
The rest of the group enjoyed their final day with the kids handing out their new backpacks, enjoying a balloon release, and giving them heart-felt, full of tears hugs. God is so good, and as God does every year, our hearts are full of His grace as He has moved in us while also blessing the Zambian orphans.
Please pray for our flights home tomorrow night. We will all be working together to ensure that Gretchen is cared for and monitored throughout both flights. Be watching Facebook to find out when we hit the ground safely in Houston Sunday afternoon.