This has been an incredible month of ups and downs – and I need to tell you about them, for all those ups and downs have culminated in a wondrously blessed Thanksgiving Day! Let me begin with Sunee’s story. Sunee is a Thai woman who Mom took under her wing when Sunee was a young woman. She is now in her 70’s and like an older sister to me. Her three children and their children are all part of the family. About a month ago, Sunee’s eldest daughter, Oi, called to tell us that they had taken Sunee to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. After three days in the hospital, she came home with some medication and a prescription for oxygen. Unfortunately, she lives outside of town and the oxygen store would not deliver tanks to her address. The only tanks the family could transport only held 4-5 hours of oxygen. The tanks were also expensive and we could see that, over time, this would become an issue. We had purchased an oxygen concentrator for Mom, but Mom saw Sunee’s need as much greater than her own, so she told Sunee’s family to take hers and use it. The photo above was taken on a recent visit to Sunee’s house, where we could see that the machine was making a difference. Last week, a wonderful congregation in the USA who learned of this family’s dilemma gave a generous donation to McKean Rehabilitation Center to allow Baan Dok Kaew, the assisted living center, to purchase an oxygen concentrator that Sunee can use. So, now both Mom and Sunee have machines they can use.
We were looking forward to Thanksgiving week, having so much to be thankful for, when we received a telephone call from Oi informing us that Sunee was in the Cardiac Care Unit at McCormick Hospital, a hospital built by the Presbyterian mission many decades ago. We rushed down to the hospital to learn that Sunee had pneumonia and was critically ill. Her lungs were so badly congested that, breathing on her own, her oxygen concentration was 45%, her heart was racing and her blood pressure was soaring. She was exhausted from the effort to breathe and, when we left the hospital, we were not certain she would survive the night. Her daughter, Oi, is a nurse at this hospital and we could see the concern in her face. In addition to massive doses of medication to deal with her pneumonia, Dr. Uttai Jessadaporn (also Mom’s doctor) put Sunee on a mechanical ventilator connected to an endotracheal tube. She did survive the night, though it was still touch-and-go. Thanksgiving Day, she finally made a significant turn for the better and they removed the ventilator. She continues to improve each day. We can only praise God for her life and for the opportunity we have to continue to enjoy that life here!
You know from earlier blogs that we have also been blessed by those who have allowed us to use their automobiles. We arrived in Chiangmai in May. For the entire month of June, we were given a car to use by Michal Dobson who made a short trip back to the USA. Then, just as she returned, another missionary, Mike Potter, offered the use of his car while he is on furlough until January of 2012. I have been driving his car to take Mom to her doctor’s appointments, to the immigration office, to the grocery store, and other places. Thailand allows foreigners to use their own nation’s driver’s license to drive in Thailand for up to one year. Several weeks ago, I prepared to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles here in Thailand to get a Thai drivers license. That was when I discovered that my Texas drivers license had expired. I petitioned the State of Texas to issue me a new drivers license as I had left the country before it expired and had not returned to be able to renew it. On Thanksgiving Day, my new Texas drivers license arrived in the mail. I can now legally drive again – and get my Thai drivers license! God is good – and so is the Texas Department of Public Safety!
One other document also arrived this week – and it was totally unexpected. This little card allows me to receive a reduction in the train fare each time that I use that mode of transportation. And, as frosting on the cake, my National Geographic magazines have finally begun to arrive at our Thailand address. Wow! This past month has been filled with days of heart-stopping discoveries, followed by intense feelings of relief as each threat, each challenge, each obstacle disappeared and was replaced by a euphoric sense of relief. It has made this Thanksgiving one of the most intensely emotional Thanksgivings that I can remember. Mom and I stand in awe – amazed yet again at the wonders and the blessings that have been showered upon us. God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.