Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chapter 13: Now what?

Last Thursday Nomsa ran away from the TB Hospital. She sent me a text, which read “Janine, I am so sorry I disappointed you.  I wanted to stay, God knows I did, but hey, the devil caught my weakness.  I am on the road and I just don’t know where I am going because I have no money.”

I called her immediately on the phone and found her sobbing, sitting outside a pizza restaurant in Manzini.  She told me that a nurse left a note on her bed saying that her tests had come back positive and that she would be moving in to an isolation ward the next day.  WHAT!?  Why a nurse would do such a cruel thing I will never know, but she did, and at 6PM Nomsa ran out and under the barbed wire fencing.  She could walk to Manzini, but how would she get to her very rural homestead without money?  There was only one way.

Through an act of divine intervention I was able to contact some friends who were closer than I was and they got to Manzini, spoke with her and between many phone calls and physical hugs we were able to convince her to go back to the hospital, even just for 24-hours until we could all meet in the morning to discuss what happened and what it really all meant.  In fact, these “angels” literally snuck her back IN to the hospital.  One they won’t soon forget. 

My mom used to tell me that everything is better in the morning, and she was almost always right, but I am not sure that was true in this particular case.

I posted a prayer request on Facebook that same night and said if anyone wanted to send her an email with a message of hope to send it to me and I would take it to her in the morning.  Within 12 hours I had 26 emails from all over the world to print out and take to her.  It was a wonderful site to see our printer pumping out words of encouragement to, in most cases, a total stranger.

When we got up the next morning, Chloe and I headed to the TB Hospital to see if we could convince Nomsa to stay at the hospital until her results came back in 5-6 more weeks.  When we arrived we learned that the doctors were going to tell her that she in fact does have XDR-TB and that she would be moving in to an isolation room (ideally alone, but with space restraints she would have another XDR-TB patient with her… which kind of defeats the purpose of isolation).  The BBC/PBS film crew was there to film the news and her response (I want to add that these people are awesome and are doing a wonderful job of telling a horrific story that must be told if the western drug companies are going to help). 

It was heart breaking, to say the least.  Chloe and I had to stand back and watch because we couldn’t be in the film shot (it would complicate the story) and so we stood at a distance and wept with her and for her as she was told the bad news.

While the doctors didn’t tell her this part, the truth is that no one has lived with XDR-TB in Swaziland with the treatment that is available here.  They/we all have the hope that she will be the first XDR-TB patient in Swaziland to be cured … or healed.

The camera stopped filming, the doctors moved on to the next patient and we stayed behind to hold her and love her. She told me that she would not spend one more night in that hospital and I couldn’t blame her, but where would she go? What would she do?  If she left the hospital she would die. If she stays at the hospital, she will die.  Its all a matter of time, which of course is true for all of us isn’t it?

(Go to to read about the miracle that happened with that woman BECAUSE of Nomsa’s intervention and care).

Here is the difference.  If she stays at the hospital she will be in an isolated room, with no access to other patients in the main wards (where she has had a wonderful ministry).  The treatment is most likely to make her deaf, she can become psychotic along with other side effects of these highly potent drugs.  And then one day, in the next few months or year, she gets sick, and dies.  If she goes home, she has no one to love her, care for her, there is no food, there is no electricity, there is no hope, but there is freedom and she can choose to stay or not stay on her treatment there.

I don’t honestly recall a time in my life that I haven’t had multiple solutions to any given challenge or problem, some of them better than others. But honestly, I don’t have one for this one. I can’t solve this.  I can’t fix it.  But what I have learned is that I  am not supposed to fix it. I am to leave it all at the foot of the cross and watch what the Lord does with it.  Easy?  HA!  No. I wake up at 3AM and think, think, think until my brain cramps.  Then I pray for peace, and it does come.  I don’t mean to make it sound easy or that I am some Super-Christian. I am not. I find myself angry, frustrated and cussing!  None of those things seem to change the situation.

Today I went in to Chloe’s room to say “good morning”. It is only one week until we pack up and travel to Taiwan where she will spend the next two years finishing High School.  She was writing a blog when I walked in.  I encourage you to read it at:

I was blown away.  I was speechless. I am thankful for all that the Lord has brought us through in the past year even if it was for the key insights that Chloe has been able to articulate in her blog. It has been a hard year for us all, but Jesus has always been with us, He has never left us nor forsaken us and He will not leave us now. He will not leave Nomsa now. He will not leave you now, no matter how bad things seem. That is a promise from Him, not me.

On Friday Nomsa asked the doctors for a five-day pass to go home and think, pray and process.  I gave her Manna Packs so that she had healthy food to eat while she was there and didn’t have to make poor choices in order to eat.  She promised me that she would not be involved in any activity that could potentially infect another person with XDR-TB or HIV.  I believe her for these five days.

I called her on Saturday to tell her about the newborn baby whose life she had helped save.  Our friends visited her on Sunday to check in and she says she is going back to the hospital this week. I called her just now as I was writing and she says she is listening closely for God’s voice, a voice in the wilderness for sure.  She told me she had two more days, and that she knew He would speak to her. I know He will. He is El Roi, the God who sees us all.

I don’t know what will happen next.  I couldn’t have predicted any part of last Friday, but I am thankful to be a tiny part in His HUGE plan and to see His mighty hand so clearly.

Thanks for reading and for praying with us.  Our prayers are not going unheard – just read Chloe’s blog to really believe that.


1 comment:

  1. I did read Chloe's blog and it was absolutely wonderful. She has watched her Mom and Dad and learned very well! I know she will do well in Taiwan!
    Now, you get some have had a horrendous week!