It’s been quiet on this blog for a few days…not because nothing has been happening. In fact, quite the opposite! We’ve been on an unscheduled trip out of town. But this morning we arrived safely back in Lae. So what was the unscheduled trip about?....I will start at the beginning. On Saturday, while brush-cutting at one of our church blocks, a stone or something flicked into Andrew’s eye. By night time it was extremely painful and Andrew could do nothing but lay with his eyes shut. On Sunday morning we tried to do something in Lae by visiting a doctor, but the doctor did not even look in his eye, just gave him some antibiotics. It probably was good that this doctor did not play around with his eye, as you really don’t want someone untrained in the area to play around in an eye.
The pain, however, was continuing to worsen, to a point where Andrew could not eat or do anything but stay in a darkened room. Even strong painkillers did nothing. In PNG there is a SIL village/centre in the highlands called Ukarumpa. We knew that there was a good clinic there with medical doctors from the US. So using some contacts we had through Ian and Nadia, I spoke to one of the doctors and she said we should be seen sooner rather than later. The Lord provided and there “ just happened” (Of course it was Providentially planned) to be a MAF pilot in Ukarumpa for the weekend (we know the pilot as he used to live in the same compound as us in Lae with his wife), and he was willing to fly to Lae to pick us up. So I had 15 minutes to pack before Ian took us to the airport ( a long 50 minute or so drive) and then we (Andrew, Ashlyn and I – the other girls stayed with Ian and Nadia) flew on the tiny Cessna to Ukarumpa where we were immediately picked up and taken directly to the clinic. The people were all so good to us. The doctors really showed us much care – a real reason for thankfulness. The doc looked at Andrew’s eye and reported a very large scratch right across his line of vision (one of the longest scratches he had ever seen) which is why it was so painful and why Andrew couldn’t use the eye at all and was very sensitive to light. Anyway we were seen again Monday morning but at this time they were not yet happy to let us go home again. So we stayed and saw the doc again on Tuesday. The doctor explained to us that we should really see him again in the morning (Today) before our flight out (at 7am with pick up at 6am). He also said that we should see him again in the next few weeks if possible. Well the girls have school holidays in 3 weeks so we booked to go back to Ukarumpa (hopefully by road this time – it’s a 3 ½ hour drive from Lae).
Apart from infection (which does not seem to be setting in which is something to be very thankful for, especially in this climate), the other worry is scarring. Sometimes an abrasion like this one in the eye will leave scarring and if the abrasion/scratch was not across the line of vision this would not be a problem. However, because Andrew’s scratch goes directly across his line of vision, scarring could damage his vision and this would mean laser surgery by an eye specialist There may be one in Goroka (near Ukarumpa) who would be able to do this, but if not we may have to travel further afield. However, this is only a possibility that this may be necessary and our sincere hope and prayer is that it will heal completely and not leave any scar tissue.
So now we are back in Lae. Wonderful people in Ukarumpa (the Sommers) organized carefully our passage out of Ukarumpa again. So this morning we flew on a Cessna again this morning, this time an SIL plane which was able to fit us in. They really have been good to us. It is so amazing flying on a little plane like that over the mountains. You actually really get to see something. Sometimes the mountains were even higher than the height we were flying at. On the way back to Lae we stopped in a small out-of-the way village to drop off a national pastor. It was a new experience for us to land on a bumpy overgrown “runway” in the middle of the jungle of PNG. Anyway, at least on this trip Andrew wasn’t in so much pain and could even enjoy it and see a bit out of his good eye. We truly were amazed at the wonderful creation here in PNG! Flying over vast expanses of mountain, watching from the sky as cascading waterfalls thunder down the mountains – an awesome sight truly the handiwork of our awesome Creator. Ashlyn was a bit grumpy, however, as she developed a fever on our last night in Ukarumpa (last night) and kept us awake most of the night, but since we arrived in Lae she has been doing much better – maybe she was home sick???
We were so happy to be back home, and see Kirilee and Shiana again. Ian and Nadia did a great job of caring for them and we are so thankful for their willingness to do this. The girls are so at home there anyway as we live so close to each other. Andrew is just taking it a bit easy. He still can’t read or look at the computer (small amounts at a time is okay, but any longer causes a lot of straining and pain again, also on the good eye because it is overworking.)
Anyway, a few days of more new experiences for us! It brought home to us again how easily accidents can happen and how different it is when they happen in a place where the availability of medical care is not always what it would be “back home”. But God is good and he is caring for us all, wherever we are. Sleep well!