Today was a gorgeous day in France, but I’ll save that for later. For now, let me get back to my story. I was in Accra, at the hospital, standing outside Tanika’s doctor filled room listening to Neal tell me that my son had been hit by a truck.
I returned to the room and as calmly as I could, explained to Tanika what had happened. She immediately fought tears and asked if Trae was OK before I could get it all out. The doctors – in their infinite wisdom – all assured us that Trae would be fine and that all would be well. As soon as they left, Tanika and I prayed for Trae and the situation as we knew it. And for ourselves. Then we had some tea and toast and went to sleep.
The next morning, Dr. Isaac, the doctor from the airplane came and brought me a SIM card for my phone, along with phone credit. He was a great guy. We immediately called Neal to find out what was happening there. Neal spent the night in the hospital with Trae. The news was that the doctor would be coming to ‘pop’ the bones into place by pushing Trae’s shoulders back. Yikes! Then they would put it in a brace and it would heal. The gouge in his back where the truck hit him was stitched together, and the left side of his body was bruised. There was also a big chunk missing from his heel—he was wearing flip-flops! But they were to be released to go home that day.
Meanwhile, Tanika and I were taken by ambulance to see the ophthalmologist. The vision test revealed that she could see movement and color. The very nice doctor gave her the lovely dilating drops and looked in here eyes every which way. He said he suspected that her optical nerve was inflamed but couldn’t be sure. He wanted her to have an MRI. Sounds good, except that the MRI machine in Ghana was broken. Well, a CT scan would have to do. So that was scheduled for the next day – nothing in Africa moves too quickly.
Back to the hospital we went. Tanika and I sat on the bed, wondering what to do with ourselves. In fact I do believe we were beginning to feel sorry for ourselves. And we felt lonely. We looked at each other and started laughing because we were both crying. I grabbed my Bible – she couldn’t read at this point so was subject to whatever I wanted her to hear. We read some verses, and I read to her from a book we had started at home called “Christ the Healer”. Then we put some good worship music on my Ipod and put on our headphones. We began to feel better, and I remembered that I had the phone number of some missionaries in Accra that we met about 10 years ago, and used to live in Nigeria so are friends with Neal’s parents. We met them that one time – 10 years ago, and haven’t seen them since. I wondered if I should call them. Ten years is a long time. Tanika begged me too. We were bored! I called Donna’s cell number and she answered. I was so glad I did. She sounded genuinely happy to hear from us, and said she was hoping we’d call. She made plans to visit us that evening with 3 of her 6 children. It was great to have a visit from them. And it was a big deal for them to get to the hospital, considering traffic in Accra! So that made our day. Then, to top it off, we got a call from my parents. It was good to talk with them. We were feeling better.
Back on the homefront… I made another call to Neal. (I was the official ‘phone caller’ as we discovered that I could make international calls the cheapest from Ghana). They had had countless visitors, including Trae’s English class from school. (Made Tanika and I just a bit jealous, but we were happy for Trae!) Turns out the doctor there never showed up, even after they went searching for him. The hospital told Neal they’d have to stay another night. So they decided to take matters into their own hands. They heard of a Belgian bone doctor in Niamey so they went and showed him the xray. He said it wasn’t a very good xray, but he didn’t know why they kept Trae in the hospital, that he could go home. He would give him a strap. They checked out of the money seeking hospital against medical advice, (Niger medical advice) and went home.
Tanika and I slept in the Accra hospital, and Neal and Trae were back at home. Tanika and I wanted as many details as possible. We were trying to imagine how Trae was, broken bone, bruised with stitches, trying to sleep. And it was very odd to me that this had happened and I hadn’t even seen Trae yet, but everyone else had.
I realized that it is for times like this that you prepare yourself for battle. You don’t wait until the day of the fight to get ready. That’s all done in advance. But then you still have to choose to use your training. I can’t tell you how often I had to ‘pull down’ vain imaginations and replace them with promises from the word of God. I had 2 kids in hospitals in 2 different countries for goodness sake!