Hypomeno is a fantastic theme for these two weeks, but we’ll come back to that. For those of you who have read this blog before, you may find it out of place that two weeks are being combined into one. And you would be right. Normally we would avoid that, but these haven’t been two normal weeks either. Eve is sick…. still. This has been a struggle for her for almost two months now and the last two weeks have been the worst two.
It started with what we believe to have been strep throat (but no strep tests were administered to confirm), a fever and a cough. The sore throat came and went for about a month (antibiotics worked the first time, they helped a little the second time, and not at all the third time). The fever was low grade but it hung around for over six weeks (the first sign something was wrong). The cough, like the fever, has been around the majority of the last two months as well.
But none of those things compare to what has ailed her for the last few weeks. Along the way, Eve picked up pain in her upper left abdomen. It always hurts- kind of like the pain you get in your side when you are running a few miles and are out of shape, only there is no sitting down to make it stop. A gnawing pain that keeps her from laying down straight or standing up straight for very long. Most nights it keeps her up all night. It’s quickly wearing her down and she was already worn out from a month and a half of being sick.
Friday of week 13 Eve was in more pain than she had been as of yet. We went to the ABC clinic and saw her doctor (Dr. Guy has been a blessing from God. He is an American missionary serving here in Tirana. It has been so nice to have somebody to whom she can explain in detail all of the problems she is having. Plus he has been very helpful in narrowing down and ruling out unlikely illnesses. If you ever read this, thank you Dr!). After he examined her, he told us to go to the hospital and see a surgeon. He didn’t know if she would need surgery, but her pain was acute and localized (bad signs). So we called the taxi we have been using and we were headed off to (what we have been told is) the best hospital in town.
Ever since THAT TUESDAY (for those of you who have read our blogs for a while, you’ll remember our Week 5 blog; and yes, that is when this all started), we have been using the same taxi driver to get around town. His name is Ilir. He also has been a tremendous help to us over the last two months. When we got in the cab, he looked at Eve and new she wasn’t doing good. We asked him to take us to the hospital and we were off. In Albania (no doubt other places too) if you are in an emergency and need to get to the hospital (and since there aren’t many ambulances here), you can turn your car into a mini ambulance that can break the traffic laws if you put on your flashing emergency lights and honk your horn. Ilir drove on the wrong side of the road for long stretches, he broke the speed limit many times, he weaved in and out of traffic… he was a man on a mission. At one point he ran through a red light that a police officer was patrolling on foot (very normal in Tirana to have police officers on foot at the end of an intersection pulling people over and giving them tickets) and the police officer pulled Ilir over. Ilir was yelling at the police officer that he was taking us to the hospital, then he gave his papers to the police officer and took off. After Ilir got us to the hospital, he had to go back and get his papers from the police officer (no doubt a small bribe changed hands). Eve was so happy that he got us there quickly and he even told us we didn’t need to pay him (we did anyway).
At the hospital we found little help though. Despite that she was unable to stand up or lay down on the bed because of the pain (hunched over is the only thing that seems to work), they couldn’t find anything wrong. They did all of the tests they planned to do and had no answers. They wanted to keep her overnight for observation and to maybe do some more invasive tests the next day, but we did not want to stick around. When we got there they gave Eve an IV but they still had a lot of air in the line when they administered it- we don’t claim to be doctors but we’re pretty sure that isn’t good. Twice they tried to give Eve drugs without asking her permission and once it was something Eve likely would have had a bad reaction to. There were other incidents but that isn’t the point, we were just uncomfortable staying there for more invasive testing.
After we left the hospital, we went back to Dr. Guy and he had a few ideas of what Eve could have, but none of them have panned out. Eve has now taken four different antibiotics, steroids, and a handful of other drugs- and Eve hates drugs!!!
Week 14 we agreed that we would try a few more things, but, again, no luck. So, fresh out of ideas here in Tirana, we are headed to Paris, France. We are leaving tomorrow, Monday, November 7. We fly out of Tirana at 5:30pm and should land in Paris around 8pm. As of Sunday night (the end of week 14), we are planning on going straight from the airport in Paris to the American hospital. Eve is in the most pain she has been in to date and it seems to slowly be getting worse. At the American hospital they have very good facilities and doctors so she should be able to get good care there. Eve has already had a few surgeries at this hospital actually.
To the point, please pray for Eve. The title of this blog is Hypomeno. Hypomeno is the Greek transliteration of the word English translates to “perseveres.” In the Greek it is a picture word that means to abide under, as in when a heavy weight has been placed on you. An example is in James 1:12 (emphasis added):
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
This has been a trial for Eve for sure. She has had constant pain, little sleep, and not many answers.
It is easy to pray that God would take this away. It would be so much easier if God would wipe the pain away and make her insides like new. And we do pray for this too. However, we also know that God gives us trials as a blessing (not one of our favorite blessings, but a blessing none the less) in order to produce endurance (James 1), perseverance, proven character, and hope (Romans 5) for starters. Please pray that God would bless Eve either through healing or through strengthening that she would (through the Spirit’s help) abide under this trial in such a way that Christ would be glorified. We want Eve to be a living testimony that whether in the streets of Tirana , in bed in pain in a hospital in France, or whether in chains in prison under Caesar, that Christ would be all-in-all and our light would shine before men. Please pray for her to be comforted by the Comforter. Please pray that her confidence would reside in the Shepard. Please pray that her strength would come from the Lamb. Please pray that she would find rest and hope in her Redeemer.
Please also pray for Scott that he would be her encourager. Please pray for the kids that they will not grow weary in our travels.
Thank you for your prayers and your concerns. We have been blessed many times over while we have been here. We don’t even like writing this blog to be honest. We would much rather this be a place of encouragement and pointing to what Christ is doing than asking for prayer. But this has been our focus the past two weeks and we know that we need your prayers. We need God’s grace as much in this as we do in the battles over the gospel. So thank you to all of you who are concerned for Eve. We appreciate our brothers and sisters in Christ so much. Thank you and may God be with you all.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11, NASB)