Easter Is at Hand
John Lunn – India
This is an encouraging word to the people suffering in their own “Good Fridays.”
In palliative care we deal with people who are experiencing Good Fridays every day. It is our mission to help people make real the words of Jesus, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) Surely, we address the physical pain and suffering of our patients, but it goes deeper than that.
Santosh was a 10-year-old boy. When we met him, he was a patient on the pediatric ward. He was very thin with a huge abdomen due to ascites (collection of fluid), and he had a tube in his nose to remove excess secretions from his stomach. He was in pain and very unhappy.
His wishes were few – he wanted the tube out, he wanted to eat and he wanted to go home. Our team went to work adjusting his medications, removing the tube from his nose, slowly introducing food, and teaching his family members to care for him at home.
Santosh’s pain came under control and the fluid in his abdomen decreased amazingly. He was able to eat a normal diet and he went home. This didn’t last long, but the 3 or 4 months were a real gift to him and to his family. Santosh got his wishes. When our team visited at home, it was he who took the tea and lime juice orders and then happily served.
For years, he had wanted to go to a water park. That wasn’t possible because of his weakness and physical state, but our chaplains took him to a local retreat center, and it was an outing – away from home. He could see the ducks, chickens, turkeys, parakeets, and other birds.
Santosh had a couple of months of “normal life,” not only because of good pain relief and symptom control, but because of the love and concern of our team. They tried to meet his needs as he expressed them – no more tube, eating again and going home. It wasn’t just the medical care that helped Santosh; it was the love and attention that he found in our team.
Thanks to Global Ministries and the commitment of Christian Medical College, palliative care is now a reality in and around Vellore. It means people can have the opportunity to learn that God has not forsaken them – that “Easter is at hand.”