Where I Get to be Me

Today was a great day. Today I enjoyed myself. Today I got to be me in so many different ways. One story I’d like to share what happened today, happened by chance. As I was down near the hospital helping decorate for our Children’s Center and Missionary Kids Christmas presentation and the Loma de Luz employee Christmas dinner, I was asked to help with a patient who needed her vision checked. I was told this lady had a tumor behind her eye that the MRI clearly showed was putting pressure on both her brain and her optic nerve. The patient claimed that she could see out of the affected eye but was unable to open it. The muscles of the eye lid had been severed years ago during another type of eye operation in Tegucigalpa. I simply needed to confirm that she indeed could see out of this eye before the surgeon committed to removing the tumor which would mean removing the eye as well.

As I arrived to the eye clinic I was given the patient’s history and her name. Her name blew me away….Maria Sanchez. She shared my mama’s name. Of course, I immediately told her that my mama’s name was Maria Sanchez and I started getting choked up. I listened to Maria for a while, holding her hand, rubbing her hair, while she told me her story. You see, here we are able to show Christ’s love in so many ways with patients. If you know me, you know that I am very ‘carinosa’ and that my love language is touch. Maria’s daughters were there with her, listening and helping her fill in any details. Suddenly I realized that I had not introduced myself. That is taboo and always the first thing I do with my patients; “Buenos Dias, mucho gusto, me llamo Marina.” I apologized and introduced myself, “Lo siento, me llamo Marina.” Immediately Maria’s daughters smiled up at me and told me with surprised faces, “Marina is her sister’s name!” I replied, “No me digas!” (“Nu huh!” in English) I told them we are practically family and gave Maria a big hug to which she gladly returned.

It is always hard to tell a patient that they will never see again, it breaks my heart. I have shared tears more than a few times with patients and their families over such news. The wonderful freedom that we have at Hospital Loma de Luz to share Christ, to encourage through the Spirit, and hold hands and pray beautifully lessens the blow of such news. Maria indeed could see light and shadows out of the affected eye, but more importantly, other than a seemingly normal cataract, her right eye is healthy. A biopsy was taken to determine if the tumor is malignant or benign, but either way it seems best to remove the painful tumor, which requires removing the eye as well. I prayed with the family and asked for wisdom and peace in their decision. I feel so privileged to “love on” patients and their families in such a way that I hope, with all my heart, they are shown the love Christ. (Written on 11/12/2018)

The precious lady above is not Maria, but Doña Hilda. Doña Hilda also had a tumor which required the removal of her eye. I so enjoyed ‘loving on’ Hilda as well. Here I am giving her a pair of sunglasses and telling her how “Guapa y con estilo” (beautiful and stylish) she looked in them. You can see both Ben, who was translating for Dr. Rick and Jill Reichert, and I smiling greatly. Doña Hilda so enjoyed being told that she was beautiful. Just a few months later Hilda was an in patient at the hospital for another surgery which allowed me to give her and her family more love, hugs, encouragement and prayer. I gotta be me!