Before I departed for the US (more on that later) one of the things I got to do was a rarity. Sure, we visit the public hospitals frequently when groups are here, but almost all of that is done in the children's wards, and most of those areas have been well maintained or fixed in recent years.
But on the 26th I had the privledge of visiting Oscar in San Felipe. His wife Leila works with the women's counseling ministry in the clinic, is a long time member of the Church, and a good friend and sister that we have known for over 12 years.
Oscar has bladder cancer...but he does not know that. How that works, I am really not sure. He knows he had a four hour surgery, but some how he has not been filled in on exactly why. While this might seem beyond comprehension in other countries...unfortunately this has not caused problems and he accepts this...as things like this are fairly common. His family knows what he has, what happened, that they "reconstructed" 76% of his bladder, but has decided not to tell him...for fear what the news would do to him.
I wonder what is worse...the known...or the unknown that you know is serious because you can not walk, that there are various tubes coming out of parts of your body where you know tubes hurt, and that you are worried about infections and other problems with the fevers and other things you get from being in the hospital for over two weeks.
The noises, atmosphere, and general environment there looks more like a poorly cared for prison than a hospital. And Oscar reports it is even worse when the drunks come by at night after partying at the bars not too far away.
Talking about how Leila has to sleep in his bed with him because she can not afford the taxi to go back home every night (via special hospital permission), how some of their kids can not come period because of a few dollars for the taxi/bus rides, and how to just get his daily two shots that the hospital does not have cost almost two days wages...their survival as a family and his in life is nothing short of amazing...and one they totally credit, and depend on, from God.
Sometimes life sucks...hard, but they are just another example of people in circumstances that seem beyond dire glorifying God in and through them, day...after day.