Update on Seth–and Us

Dear R., I’m sorry for the delay in getting an update out. China has been reminding me daily that people will be needing to hear from us. I have many excuses, but I won’t bore you with them.

Wedesday, we had set aside the whole day for our Church Retreat. We were planning to spend it in study and discussion and prayer about the future of the church here. We had gotten only a few minutes into our book study, just a few pages read, when Seth came in screaming and bleeding. That was around 9:30.

Percy had borrowed the truck for the day, so Caleb and I took public transport to get Seth to Cusco and to find a surgeon. I walked several miles that day, looking for someone who could help us. Caleb noted it as a day of firsts for him: his first combi ride, moto ride, bus ride, taxi ride, his first walking around Cusco, his first time ever visiting five hospitals in one day, his first having to avoid stepping in blood while talking to the doctor who nearly stepped in vomit a few feet away–and so on.

I was very grateful for Caleb. He helped a lot by carrying Seth when I was too tired, by helping me think through things quickly about what to do next, and by simply being there not freaking out, which helped keep me calm. It is nice having another man around.

The Lord did lead us to a surgeon and anesthesiologist who could sew Seth up. I had to scrub up and go back with the surgeon to hold Seth down while they sedated him. Once he was asleep, I was allowed to leave the room. They were in surgery for almost exactly an hour.

The doctor said they had to remove tissue that was dirty and had splinters as well as some tissue that was already badly infected. They put in six or so stitches. They brought me back to the operating room to wait with Seth until he came out of sedation.

While I waited–with American Pop Rock booming around us–the surgeons prepped a man for cancer surgery, I believe. They removed quite a few masses in his lower intestines and sewed up a place that was ulcerative and hemorrhaging. I got to watch it all through the open door. They had the camera in the man’s abdomen casting to a large screen on the wall, also, so I was able to moniter the whole surgery. They did a thorough search and took out everything bad they could find, so I hope the man recovers.

Welcome to Peru.

Caleb wasn’t able to come into the surgery because he wasn’t Seth’s dad, so he waited either in halls or in stairwells or in empty hospital rooms when I was with Seth. We were all very tired until it was all over. Percy offered to come collect us. We got home roughly twelve hours after we’d left. A long, long day.

I did spend a good bit of time thinking about a few acquaintances of mine who spend time in surgery frequently due to conditions they are fighting. They must have great grace and fortitude. They are even more admired by me now than before.

Thursday afternoon, the ladies went to Cusco to do some material shopping for Belinda and China. That trip had already been planned, so we just went with it. Caleb was to spend the afternoon with Rafael; he’s learning Spanish while doing some work with Rafael. That left me at home with the eight children.

Caleb sent a message saying Rafael wanted to “quickly” run into Cusco, but that they would be back “soon.” I replied that I was “laughing hysterically.”

The men decided to meet up with the ladies to bring back a water heater they were supposed to pick up that I had ordered two weeks earlier. (Our water heater finally died, so we have been showering at Caleb’s.)

As things go, they did meet up with the ladies and collected the material and groceries, but no one got the water heater, and they all got home after 8:00. Never mind me! I made a couple kilos of cheese, cleaned the house, got some laundry done, took care of chores, and fed the eight children a light supper. Anne, Abbey, and Dane were tremendous helps in all that.

Friday, I did not go to market, thank you very much. Steph and Belinda decided to do a quick trip, but they had troubles getting a combi on the way out and didn’t come back for hours. I had to do some writing and editing for Loaves and Fishes, so I set up a desk on the front porch so the boys could play in the grass while I worked. That was actually pretty peaceful and productive.

In the afternoon, a cold front came through. My bones hurt terribly, and we all had trouble breathing, but after it passed, we were all delighted by the beautiful snowy mountains. Caleb and I finished the last of the big goats, but we still have the kids’ hooves to trim yet; I think we did more than thirty by now.

In the afternoon, Jubinal and Norma came by for a visit. Jubinal wanted me to buy a bull he had on his truck, but I actually managed to convince him I absolutely didn’t want it. But he wanted one of my animals. I told him I wouldn’t sell without Percy there, so eventually he left with the promise of coming next Wednesday. I always have a headache after he leaves.

Caleb and I spent a few hours Friday afternoon working through some bookwork stuff that I won’t bore you with. We both had been working on it off and on for a while and were glad to have it finally done and behind us. Steph made pizza for us, which was especially delightful. We’re enjoying using my fresh cheddar on things, but I’m keeping one block every week to age. I hope it turns out.

Saturday was yesterday though it feels further away. While I was working on my sermon, I got a call from the man holding the water heater. He said if we didn’t come by noon yesterday, he would have to send the water heater back to Lima. I do not know why, but I suspect he was simply bluffing.

I turned over my half-hour sandtimer and prayed for God to give me an outline. He did. I then got coffee and came back and prayed that God would give me a message and turned over the half-hour sandtimer again. It was done. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled together a sermon so quickly.

Caleb offered to come with me. We grabbed a taxi in Izcuchaca that took us in to Plaza de Santiago. I got out and walked a few meters and was nearly hit by a taxi. It didn’t hit me, but it did succeed in nearly deafening me with his very long and unrelenting honking. He wanted me to know he was very unhappy he almost hit me as I was going where I belonged. That happened three times before we left Cusco.

China says it amazes her that I can still jump as high as I do at honking after being here for so long. There you have it. I am amazing.

Caleb and I got to the warehouse to pick up the water heater two minutes after they supposedly were to close. I called ahead to the man to let him know we were almost late. “Don’t worry, sir! We’re open until late tonight. You can get it from the young lady.”

I told Caleb that it is moments like these that help us exercise patience, love, and forbearance. He had the good grace to laugh uproariously.

I have been out of data on my phone for a week now. We changed providers to Entel, but they could not give us an option for unlimited data. I tried numerous ways to get more, but I was told the only way I could was to go to the store in Cusco. Well, we were in Cusco, so we caught a taxi over to Plaza Real to get more data.

But the very bored and hardly present young woman at the counter shrugged away my problem, saying because it was our first month, they could not possibly take more money from us for more data. There’s an infuriating business model if there ever was one. I assured Caleb I wasn’t furious, but that I was struggling very hard not to be.

I then went to buy ibuprofen from InkaFarma for my migraine before catching a taxi home.

We carry on. God is very good to us–far better than I deserve. And you all are very kind. Thank you for all your prayers!

Thanks for your patience, R. I look forward to your reply.

After surgery
Worn out
Waking up
Home and groggy
Lots of stitches
Bussing to Cusco
Headed to Cusco
Totally understanding the merchant….
Walter helping me with cheese
Enjoying some sun while watching little people
Dane and I finished hanging the interior clothesline.
Then it rained
Getting the water heater
Grabbing flowers for the ladies