Hello again family and friends!
This week has definitely been one of the strangest yet in my mission experience!
Last week Hermana Lish (she and her companion live in our house and work in the other ward that meets in our building) found some bug bites all over her legs, which is pretty normal for Chile. But one of them started to look like it was getting infected, and Hermana Lish thought it looked similar to a staff infection she had in her arm during high school. So last Monday she and her companion were sent to Conce (that´s what the locals call Concepción) during P-day to visit the doctor. Luckily, the area doctor and his wife were in town from Santiago because they were doing a training at the Zone conferences we had last week. He thought it needed antibiotic and a culture, but can´t do those things here. There is a mission doctor in Conce but for some reason she couldn´t get in to see her. So they sent her to urgencia (urgent care). They didn´t really do anything for her. The doctor glanced at it, swabbed a culture without cleaning the area first, and sent her on her way with the wrong prescription. Then the area doctor made her go back and insist that the doctor in urgencia give her a prescription for the anitbiotic that the mission doctor wanted her to use.
Well, from there it only got worse. She came back to her sector and worked Tuesday but Tuesday night it looked really bad, and Wednesday we had conference so we were going to be seeing President and Sister Humphrey and the doctors again anyway. We went to conference and she saw the doctor again after it was over and they were all talking about whether she would have to be sent home or to Santiago, whether she could even stay in this mission or whether she´d have to be reassigned, etc., etc. Ultimately they decided to send her to the hospital in Conce, but since they didn´t want to leave her sector totally empty for however long she and her companion were going to be gone, they sent me with her instead and we left our companions behind in Chillan to run two sectors together.
The conference was held in Talca, about an hour-and-a-half north of Chillan. President and Sister Humphrey wanted to expedite our traveling, so instead of having us take the bus back to Chillan with the rest of our zone, they sent us on a little road trip with the assistants. We drove to Chillan, hastily gathered our study materials and a few days´ worth of clothes, and then went on to Conce with Elders Ames and Navarrete. They are both really great missionaries and Elder Ames is a really fast driver....
By the time we got to Conce it was almost 11:00 PM. The assistants left us then with the senior couple from the office, Elder and Hermana Kimball. We checked in to urgencia again, this time Hermana Lish had been given instructions to ask for her wound to be drained and for her to remain in the hospital at least overnight on IV antibiotics. Luckily, this time she had a really GREAT doctor. He looked at her huge, swollen, red, infected leg and said, in Spanish, "You have an abscess. We need to drain it." She went on to explain in her best medical Spanish (which she did a really good job of doing, by the way, I was super impressed!) that she had seen an American doctor and that he recommended a hospital stay and an IV. The doctor said, again in Spanish, "That sounds like the best plan to me." We were so relieved! Then as he went to leave the room, the doctor said something in English, and Hermana Lish said, "You speak English?" and he said, in English, "A little. With two beers I am better." A funny Chilean doctor who also speaks English - what more could we ask?
So Hermana Lish had her leg cleaned out (and the whole time the doctor was making jokes like, "Don´t worry, this isn´t going to hurt me." and "Wow! There´s a hole in your leg. I can see all the way to China!") and the Kimballs made arrangements for both of us to stay in the hospital overnight.
Our hospital room had like a really wide window seat with thick cushions on it, which is where I slept. It was pretty awesome.
So Hermana Lish and I opened a new sector in our mission - sector "Hospital." We set out pamphlets and pass-along cards and tried to give them out to everyone who came to visit us in our room. And that hospital room is where we lived from Wednesday night until Saturday morning. A couple of times the office elders came to visit, and one day they took me to the office for a few hours for a "break" and the Kimballs took me out for ice cream.
Saturday morning Hermana Lish was released from the hospital with instructions to return daily to have her leg cleaned, so we couldn´t leave Conce just yet. They sent us to stay with some sisters who work in the sector Chillancito, which is part of Conce. So we went to church with them yesterday and by the end of church, the Relief Society president and the bishop had worked it out for us to have lunch with members every day this week, including that same afternoon, even though they had no idea how long we would be staying. I was so touched by their care and concern for us. What wonderful examples of what it means to be disciples of Christ! And then we got to go on splits with Hermana Mena and Hermana Fajardo yesterday evening after Hermana Lish went back to the doctor for her daily "curacion."
Anyway, a lot of things are still up in the air for us, since President and Hermana Humphrey still have to talk with Salt Lake about whether or not Hermana Lish is able to stay in this mission or not. They are sending us back to our sectors tonight, and tomorrow we might have a "normal" day, though it´s back to Conce for Hermana Lish Wednesday and Thursday, and I don´t know if I will accompany her or if her companion, Hermana González, will. It´s been totally crazy, especially since this is my companion´s last week in the mission! But I know that the Lord´s hand is in everything we do as missionaries, so no matter how weird or crazy this whole experience may seem, there is a reason for it.
Anyway, I have much more to say and no more time in which to say it. But I love you all! Remind me to tell you about the other reason I almost had to go to Santiago this week in my next email!
Your commitment for this week: I have been so moved by the examples of those around me who make it obvious by their words and deeds that they love the Savior and the live His gospel. This week I want you all to commit to show your love for the Savior by living the gospel the very best way you know how!
Lovelovelove you all,