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Jem Healed





Symbolizing children
during the Asean Summit for Children held in Manila, July 1996

Zeny Calderon, MD

I will heal him without operation.
The statement flashed thru my ears as soon as I arrived at my presumptive  diagnosis that it was acute appendicitis my son was having, making no distinction whether they were my spiritual or physical ears. As real as the words sounded, they had bypassed my logical processing and I accepted  the statement. 
It was the first Saturday in July, 1996. We had just come from a spiritual warfare conference in Bicol where we had the blessed opportunity of  sharing with local pastors concerning identification of spirits, notably that of the spirit of Death. Now we are glad to be home with our five precious  children after a 3day absence. Thus followed a vibrant exchange of report from the homefront and the battlefront. Then Jem casually mentioned this vague pain on his abdomen. I tell him to go to the bathroom and relieve  himself. Whether there was complete relief from that trip-to-the-cr treatment, it did not seem to bother us who were excited about our reunion. The day passed, then night. At dawn, he creeps to our bed and  say the pain recurred twice that night and he vomited. This was when my medical mind automatically ticking the signs and symptoms entered the presumptive diagnosis: Acute Appendicitis. Then the voice: I will heal him  without operation. 
Knowing myself as one that would spontaneously speak out my protest in any statement that goes against the fiber of my logic and experience, I  was quiet, unusually quiet this time. No protest, no argument formed in my mind and lips.Say, had I arrived at that state I had wishfully dreamed of becoming when like Mary after a bombshell of an announcement I would  just "ponder these things in my heart"? 
I told Jem to lay beside me and he slept away the residual darkness of  dawn . Then it was morning, Sunday morning. My husband, Leo, was preaching at church, and as I was getting his Sunday wear ready , I shared with him my findings and what God said. He confirmed what I heard was  the same as his, including my plan of management, staying home with Jem and observing him. He was an architect before being a minister, but he was his doctor father's clinic assistant while growing up. The preference  for the profession did not pass on to him but the brother before him while Leo loved and pursued architecture. Having given over to me the management of Jem's case, he was supportive wherever he could, but what  I valued the most was his confirmation of God's word to me. I would need that for the next few days when personal observation and past clinical experience and wise words of men, even respected people in the medical  profession would get in the way of my faith walk.
After a physical exam routine for his case, careful palpation and testing for  abdominal tenderness, etc.I took blood and urine samples for the lab and started him on IVF to guard from dehydration and to keep veins open for medication. The lab results came late in the afternoon, confirming my  presumptive dx. I called Mon and Vicky, a husband-wife also surgeon-pediatrician team, fruitfully practicing in a respectable hospital in the city. In them I have the perfectly dependable package of  classmate-colleague- friend.Thank God. I called Vicky the pediatrician first. The astute one, she tactfully checks on some aspects that can be easily  missed in a mother-son over doctor-patient relationship. She did not forget to ask about a rectal exam. After taking all data in, lab results and all, she  agreed with my diagnosis, and asked when I was bringing Jem in to the hospital. I told her, no, just tell me all the medical and nursing orders that  you would put in his chart if he were confined, and short of surgery I will do all that here at home. She balked at the other end of the line, I could see it,  but she conceded; she will refer the case to Mon, the surgeon. When I later called Mon, primed of the case, he allowed me 8 hours of conservative management. After this observation period without definite improvement, I  was to bring Jem into the hospital. He would be on call anytime, he assured me.
The next 8 hours would bring us to the third day. As his doctor-nurse I never left Jem's bedside. I studied his face , his body for any sign or  change. His trips to the bathroom I welcomed, not only because he needed me to hold the bottle up, but also because I needed the assurance that his output was okay. As his mother, I would never want to leave him, even  given the chance. And the 8hours passed uneventfully, the bouts of pain on his abdomen seemed to quiet down altho not completely gone. As if the lines of the signs and symptoms graph showed no spikes nor dips, but a  plateau.
Then on the 11th hour in the afternoon he became feverish and uncomfortable. I thought it was just the setting sun shining obliquely at his  room. I quickened his IV drip. Then his pain complaint seemed more urgent and he vomited. I comforted him , cleaned him up, and began to order for  an antiemetic. I called Vicky to report the development. Did Mon not tell you of an 8hr conservative management only;how could you wait this long?  I said, during the observation period nothing happened so I thought it was going to be okay. Ok? well, okey is no fever, no pain, no nothing. That is when we discharge a patient who came in with an acute abdomen and  given the observation period. You know that. Your son is not okey. Bring him in.
This time I had to tell her the score at the risk of sounding odd. You see, the very first day even before I could formulate the impression of an acute  appendicitis, God told me he will heal without operation. (He knew what I was thinking of before I did and what I would do before I started doing it. He  knew the protocol, my presumptive dx,the differential diagnosis , the plan of management according to our way of processing things, my patient's progress, the prognosis. He who knows the end from the beginning of  things.)
Now, the three of us plus a few others were a bunch of God-fearing  students back at medical school. So Vicky says, I do not know what you have gotten into this time, but we believe in the same God. And he who made us doctors has given us wisdom to treat and bring healing to our  patients. In a nutshell she gave me the message to not be foolishly fanatic and throw away my training, to wise up and do the right thing for my son.  They were words properly spoken in loving concern and I did not argue with her. I could not; in her place I would have said the same. Then in a broken  voice that I found difficult to muster I asked her to please just help me from where I am. She relented. I think she said she will speak with her husband  and they will be on call. Mon agreed that we add the medicine we had been reluctant to give outside a hospital setting. That was the last that I  spoke with them in two years. But it left a quiet feeling that somehow this thin link to human wisdom that they represented would still be there and this was grace.

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