By Kathryn Noble, CHCC rehabilitation patient in 2016.
Then (1984-85) — Mkar Christian Hospital (MCH), Mkar, Nigeria.
Now (July, 2016) — Christian Health Care Center (CHCC), Lynden, WA.
I revel these days!
I revel in unlimited hot and cold water.
I revel in dazzling white linens.
I revel in daily mopped floors.
I revel in my bed with the adjustable head and foot and my bright cheerful room with garden views.
I revel in delicious food served hot and with a smile.
I revel in healthcare providers, whether it is Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare or private insurance — whatever takes care of health issues in our country.
I revel in buttons — one to call for a pain pill, one to make my room hotter or colder, one to surround me with classical music all day and night if I wish, one to bring history in the making to my ears.
So why am I on such a joy trip these days? Three decades ago, I was privileged to spend 18 months as a Lab Technologist at Mkar Christian Hospital in southern Nigeria. Now I am a patient here at Christian Health Care Center. My idle mind is flooded with memories of those Africa days.
I remember two members of the British variation of our Peace Corps. Severely injured in a car accident, they were brought to us. They were carried on doors and arrived in a truck— no stretchers or ambulances in that remote part of the world.
I remember looking for a patient named “B” whom I could not locate until I was informed that “B” meant the patient was on a mat under the bed. “A” was for patients on the bed.
I remember an English expatriate brought to the hospital after a heart attack (we had the only ECG in our part of Nigeria). The doctors ordered peace and quiet and suggested we visit him to relieve his utter boredom. I believe he was even more bored as a result of our visits — watching geckos on the walls was probably more entertaining.
I remember a day that a patient came to us with a request for a blood draw. It took several tries by different staff members before we had a successful draw. Shortly after the patient left, a technician reported that he (the patient) had dropped dead right outside the door. He also reported how very old the patient was. I asked “How old?” The technician replied, “52.” (l was 61 at the time.)
I remember the sights, sounds, and smells of Mkar. Patients’ families scrounging for stones and wood on which to cook yams for their loved one in the hospital.
Mkar Christian Hospital and Christian Health Care Center are worlds apart in time and space and culture. So is there anything in common (hint— look for the one word that both names have in common)?
Mkar Christian Hospital was established a century ago by missionaries from the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. When “apartheid” came into being, the Nigerian government expelled all South African nationals and Christian Reformed World Missions took over the hospital. When I was there, the hospital served over one half million patients a year.
Mkar Christian Hospital and Christian Health Care Center — so different yet so much the same in that it was Christianity that brought them into being.
Yes, I revel in Christian compassion which comes from the hand of a living and loving God.
Thank you, Father!