~As the title of the book written by Clyde and Margeret Gouge says…GOD WAS THERE~
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR PRAYING FOR OUR FAMILY AS WE FLEW BACK TO COLOMBIA!!!! It turned out to be one of the SCARIEST DAYS of our entire lives, and we would NOT have made it without God and your prayers!! After going to bed around 10:30 PM on Monday, Jan. 25th, we awakened our children at 3:00 AM to head to the airport to fly to Colombia. When Sarah got up she told me that she felt very weak! I hugged her and told her that we all felt weak and that we were EXHAUSTED from deputation, and from running, packing, sorting, and cleaning in the days before! I told her that we would just all work together to get back to Colombia and then we could rest up for a few days before “real life” began. We arrived at the airport at 3:45 AM and checked in all of our luggage, said those sad goodbyes to Gram and Gramp (and to Laura on the phone) and all started pulling our carry-ons and heading to the first of 3 planes we had to take that day. Sarah kept telling me that she could hardly pull her suitcase because she felt so weak, so most of the time I was pulling hers and mine, plus carrying some bags. (Phillip had his arms full with the diaper bag, his computer, Elijah and pulling a HEAVY suitcase filled with books!) A lot of time Sarah gets motion sickness, especially in the mornings, so I didn’t make her eat anything, for fear she would loose it later. We got on the first plane and we all slept. Before I went to sleep I got the muffin that they were giving out, but Sarah slept, and got no drinks or muffin. We arrived in Houston and made our way to our next plane and right before we got on I gave Sarah ¼ a sandwich out of the yummy lunch that Gram had packed for our family. We got into the airplane and Sarah wanted to sit beside me. Shortly after we started the 3 ½ hour flight they served us breakfast. When she saw the breakfast she shuttered and said, “No Thank you!” and laid down on my lap and went to sleep. Elijah came over to my lap and accidently bumped Sarah whom I thought was just sleeping. I saw that Sarah sat up and looked disoriented and so I said, “Sarah, this is Mommy, we are in an airplane, and Elijah just accidently bumped into you. You can go back to sleep now!” THAT IS WHEN I REALIZED THAT SARAH WASN’T JUST SLEEPING! I told Kimberly to get Daddy that something was wrong with Sarah. Kimberly thought she was upset to her stomach and handed me a bag. I said, “NO, GET DADDY NOW…SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH SARAH!!” Sarah was non-responsive and her head was jerking to the left and her eyes were twitching to the left too. She couldn’t talk, couldn’t look us in the eye, and her whole body was drawing up toward the left. Phillip ran and got help and for the next hour and ½ we were surrounded by all of the stewardess and stewards on the plane and another dear man and everyone was so helpful!! They called for any doctors or nurses on board, and there were none! So, they tried to contact a medical team by phone to ask their advice but we were out of range. A man named Joseph was on the plane and he had taken a class to become an EMT. He hesitated to get involved, thinking that we already had a doctor or nurse with us. But when he realized that we had no one he came, was a HUGE HELP and stayed with us for the rest of the time. The pilot sped up the plane and considered an emergency landing in Managua, Nicaragua, but we were nearly as far from there as we were to Panama City. So, he made the choice to continue to Panama City, since we had tail winds. (We got there a half an hour early!) At first we had NO CLUE what was going on, but then one of the stewardesses brought out a medical book about seizures and the more she read it sounded like what Sarah was having. All of this time I am holding Sarah and looking into those HORRIBLY SAD eyes that are jerking to the left and talking to her telling her that I loved her and wanting to WEEP!! I was dying for her to hug me back and say ANYTHING! Thank the Lord for Kimberly and Phillip, for Elijah was crying and wanting Mommy too, but they were able to rock him to sleep. Phillip was PRAYING and comforting Kimberly and Noah who were crying and WORRIED about their sister. Phillip kept his composure (though his heart was breaking). I decided that I was NOT going to pray silently. But that I was going to do what I do with every situation that I face in life…I was going to talk to my Heavenly Father in a quiet but audible voice!!! So, with this Joseph sitting beside me with a wild long hairdo, shaved on the sides with big tribal tattoos on his scalp…I began to Thank God for “loaning” us Sarah and that she was truly His and that we were trusting Him to heal her from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet. The stewardess kept reading and started mentioning problems with high or low blood sugar…and that is when I realized that that was probably what was happening to Sarah. We all were exhausted, we were running on no sleep, and had had nothing to eat. Sarah was also on the verge of getting sick. (sore throat, tired, etc.) and had been pushing herself to walk through all of the airports. They gave her oxygen thinking maybe it was because of the high altitude. They also checked her pulse and all of that was fine. We began trying to drip Sweetened orange juice through a coffee stirrer into Sarah’s mouth and were relived to see that she was swallowing it, though she was still unresponsive to us calling her name or giving her commands, couldn’t look us in the eye and was still drawing up. She had quit shaking so much and had relaxed and closed her eyes and was laying in my arms, but would still swallow the orange juice. I hugged her and talked to her the whole time telling her that Jesus and we were going to help her get better, in case she could hear us! Finally Joseph asked for a larger straw or a spoon and hand-fed Sarah an entire cup of orange juice with extra sugar added. She began to jerk her legs and Joseph told me that that was her body trying to respond to the sugar. He asked for a flashlight and opened Sarah’s eye and shined in into it to see if her pupils dilated and they did! And…that is when (after a LONG SCARY HOUR AND A HALF) Sarah stirred and sat up and tried to take off the oxygen mask. I hugged her and told her what was going on and she started smiling and responding and doing everything Joseph and the steward asked her to do. (shake my hand, Can you wiggle the toes of the leg I am touching, etc.) Daddy asked her if she remembered anything, or if she just felt like she had taken a long nap, and she said that she just felt like she had slept awhile. Then she drank some more orange juice and said she needed to go to the bathroom. She was able to walk, with my support back to the restroom and the whole plane full of people were THRILLED to see Sarah doing good again. Right before we landed she lost her orange juice. All of that acid and sugar was too much for her, and flying too. We were descending into Panama and Sarah began to weep with ear pain from the pressure. (Our kids normally have LOTS of ear pain when flying! We were concerned about Elijah’s ears, since he had just come through a double ear infection and a burst ear drum! That is one thing that our kids DREAD about flying!) When the steward welcomed us to Panama City airport, He also “WELCOMED SARAH BACK!!!” Several people walked by Phillip as they were exiting the plane and nodded, or told them they were glad she was ok, wished her luck, etc. (What does one say when they can’t say, “I’m praying for her and y’all?”=) I rushed off following Sarah in a wheel chair to take her to the clinic there in the airport, just to make sure that everything was fine. (Phillip and our other kids gathered our things, waited while our passports were scanned and then met Sarah and I at the clinic.) God must have a sense of humor to have this horrible thing happen on the first day that I had to speak Spanish in 6 months. I’m sure I made my share of mistakes, but God helped me to communicate. They checked everything including her sugar and it all was fine. (After 2 cups of SWEETENED orange juice and a sucker, it should have been fine. Smile!) They checked to see if she had bitten her tongue and she had not! We went to our next gate to catch our plane to Colombia, but thankfully we had a several hour lay-over. There were several people in the Panama City airport who were so kind to us and kept coming to check on Sarah or to see if we needed anything. We let Sarah rest, got her some more orange juice, and she ate some more of the lunch Gram had packed. I took her to the restroom in the wheelchair and she told me that she couldn’t wait to talk to her cousin Darla and tell her how sick she had been. She started singing again, and I wanted to cry I was sooo happy to have my normally bubbly Sarah back. She took another nap (Joseph told us that besides her being exhausted from no sleep the night before, and the stress of traveling, that her body would be tired from the convulsions or whatever she had been doing.) Before we boarded the last plane I told her we needed to go to the restroom one more time and asked her if she wanted to ride the wheel chair or walk, and she wanted to walk. We came back and I got a picture of her drinking more juice and eating something. She looked at our camera and said, “I don’t remember our camera having a black strap!” And I said, “You are right, Daddy changed the strap right before we left the USA!”. We do plan on talking to a doctor and getting his advice about what happened to Sarah, but after rest and food, she seems fine. Had she had a normal nights sleep, and then a normal breakfast, we believe that day would have been different. On our last flight we begged Jesus to please help our children’s ears for they normally WEEP with pain descending in the airplanes. God did touch them and 3 of them slept right through landing, and Kimberly’s ears were fine too. We PRAISE God for HIS CARE, His TOUCH ON SARAH, and for all the concerned people He sent our way to help us. Sarah doesn't have diabetes, but we as a family are changing our diet so that she does not get it. Eating several small meals a day, cutting out most sugar, and making sure she has protein.
Everything we experienced on the plane with Sarah reminded me of something that one would read in Readers’ Digest or somewhere. I think next time, I’d rather READ the story, rather than LIVE the story. SMILE!
We arrived safely in Bogota, collected our 17 suitcases (12 under, 5 carry-ons) and were met by a VERY HAPPY pastor Jimmy, Farly, Lady, Gaby, and Jimmy’s parents, Jaime and Sofia. We were THRILLED to see them too and we got chocked up! They brought us home to our home that they had cleaned for us, we had a snack together and then they left. We still have some packed suitcases which need to be unpacked. Thank the Lord, we got internet in our home today, and we got Phillip’s cell phone fixed today too. On Tuesday we are to have a technican come to look at our refrigerator which quit working while we were gone! It’s so nice to be back in our little home. Our children are thrilled to walk around and see their things that they had forgotten they had. Smile! Please pray that we can get settled in quickly, so our kids can start school again. We are looking forward to seeing a lot of our Colombian friends at church on Sunday.
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1