He survives the experience, but of course he's filthy, so ends up receiving a shower under the tap followed by a quick blow dry from a hair dryer. Some days later his owner is quoted as saying, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore--he just sits and stares."
Poor little creature; and yet how we as a family relate to that story today. Except our version of Chippie has continued to sing, warbly and shakily at times, but the song has been there.
|Photo by Hannah Winchester|
Wrong! Next day she saw a doctor who sent her immediately to the hospital. Her left lung had completely collapsed. The medical term is "Spontaneous Pneumothorax," and we learned it is not as rare as we first thought, especially if you are a tall thin man between the age of twenty and thirty who smokes. Hmm. Sacha is thin and the right age. That's where the similarities end.
The initial treatment involved inserting a drain which they hoped would remove the air and allow the lung to inflate. It worked—for a while. Four admissions to the hospital and five drains later she was finally taken to theatre (OR in America) where they performed chest surgery. One layer of the pleura of her lung was removed (pleurectomy) and her lung was effectively "glued" in place. (I'm sparing you the gory details here!) Now we wait with bated breath and much prayer in anticipation that it holds when the drain comes out.
Her parents had returned to Benin in West Africa before the final collapse, so her mom had to fly all the way back to South Africa, and my husband and I drove from Port Elizabeth, nine hours away, so we could be here to support the family. It could have been worse. Fatally worse. Where Chippy could have stuck in the pipe and been killed, Sacha's lung might not have deflated until she was on the plane (a week later) with possible catastrophic results.
In Psalm 137:1-4 we read of how the Israelites who were captured and taken to Babylon hung their harps on willow trees and refused to sing. How could they sing in such a drastic situation?
Poor Chippy gave up singing too, changed forever. But Sacha has kept her sense of humour throughout. She has gone through periods of excruciating pain and feelings of intense panic. But in between she has bounced back, albeit cautiously, and tried to get on with her studies.
God's provisions have been incredible throughout this time. Professors at her university have come up with a solution where she can "attend classes" half way across the world via Skype. Friends have scanned and emailed homework so she does not get behind. Finances have come from unexpected sources to help the phenomenal cost of surgery of this nature in a foreign land. (The medical insurance compulsory for international students has not yet provided any help at all so she has been treated as a private patient with cash required up front.)
But throughout this time, we have hung onto our harps. We will not hang them up, tempting though it is at times. We are God's children and He keeps reminding us that He is in control.
Chippy's life was changed forever, and I have a feeling so will Sacha's. I foresee that in the future we will look back at this time as a point where her life took on a new sense of purpose and direction. We will have living proof that God works all things together for good to those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
If you're interested, here is a You Tube video of what causes a Spontaneous Pneumothorax:
OVER TO YOU: Have you experienced a life-changing event like Chippy or Sacha? How well have you hung onto your harp? Or do you need to grab it now and start singing, no matter how weakly?