Lessons in Medical Care in India

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Today was the first time any of us have been “admitted”, after Little Man downed half a bottle of my cough syrup at 6:45am, and even after vomiting several times a half hour later, looked high as a kite. So as soon as Tyler got home from prayer at 8:00 we decided to scooter the Tipsy One over to our local mountain hospital.

I’ve been working to overcome my fear of doctors and hospitals in this country. I’ve realized a few things about medical care where we live, after recognizing that because it’s so vastly different from medical care in the West, I have to start over with a whole new rubric to judge what’s good, not good, etc.

First, I’ve learned that just because a hospital or clinic has a big brand name and is in a larger city doesn’t mean it’s better. It doesn’t mean that the individual doctors are better, there is less cutting in line, or that the staff know what they’re doing. It doesn’t mean employees wash their hands or speak more English.

Take the day we drove an hour to see the pediatrician at the fancy-shmancy hospital in the city, suspecting an ear infection in Little Man, and the fancy-shmancy pediatrician used his Android flashlight to look into Little Man’s ears. After waiting an hour in an empty wing of the building that read “Oncology” while the doctor had stood around outside and talked on his phone. Seriously?

Or the dermatologist in our capital city’s nicest clinic who recognized the “fungal infection” around J-bug’s ears, but missed that it was everywhere else too, and had been for a month.

And then there was today, when we showed up in front of a century-old mission hospital where there is no pediatrician, and the ER is a simple room off the lobby with a couple nurses in their white paper caps who opened the doors and turned on the lights when we walked in the door.

A lady from Kentucky also stood waiting in the ER as well, and she happens to be studying pediatrics. She checked on us twice in the day to tell us what would be done if we were in the US, and then to lend us her charger when our ipad died.

Little Man’s eyes were dilated wide and he just silently blinked at everything like he was hallucinating. He lay on his back blinking around the room while they checked his heart rate, breathing and put an IV in him. It freaked us out a little bit, but then the doctor—a local Doogie Houser who might have been nineteen—checked him. He told us that a “fatal” amount of cough medicine for Little Man’s weight would be 700 ml, and that he couldn’t have drank more than 25 ml, since there was 50 ml in bottle. This was extremely comforting. They still needed to admit him for the day to observe and make sure everything cleared out of his system.

So we were escorted to a room with three beds and our dazed toddler sat in this adult-sized bed with an IV in his wrist, looking a little bewildered. But throughout the day until we were discharged at 4 the sweet nurses checked on us and took his vitals. One gave him her cell phone to play with when he got antsy. Once he was more himself and had more awareness the only thing that kept him from pulling out his IV and leaping over the bedrail was 8 hours of Curious George and Thomas the Train.

At 4:00 we said goodbye to the kind doctor and sweet nurses and rode our scooter five minutes home, and felt so glad that we hadn’t driven down the mountain to go to the fancy-shmancy hospital!

The rain clouds that had drizzled all day separated as we drove home and sunshine peaked down on us. After a short nap and bath Little Man has been rolling around on the floor and watching Daddy enact puppet shows with his leggos (with rapt attention). What could have been a horrendous day was actually peace-and-relief-filled because of a few kind individuals in a country hospital.

God knows just what we need when we need it.

Sometimes its found in unexpected places.

  • Beth Grant

    Huge lesson today, Becca (besides keeping the meds out of reach:-). Yes, “God does know what we need”, and in our experience, it’s more often than not “found in unexpected places.” Love your words and the deepening wisdom they reflect. And I love when God surprises us. So much for fancy-shmancy:-)


  • Donna James

    So…what a day! So thankful for the little/big blessings along life’s journey! You certainly had one today. Mr. Judah/little man is in good hands ~ this is a story for the baby book that will be repeated at mission meetings on furlough. =)
    Prayers and love,


  • Mego

    Admire your courage and patience. Building a home away from home sure ain’t easy but you and your family seems to be settling in well despite the hardships. And what you said about God that ‘He knows what we need when we need’ is so true. I can’t help but agree. Been experiencing that on this side of the world too. Bottom line is, ‘We serve and awesome God’. Blessings!


  • Donna Grant Wilcox

    Hey Kiddos…wanted to tell you we met some friends of yours … Brett and Lindsey Lohr 🙂 They are very sweet and did a good job at our church. Anyway, we miss you guys and pray for you all the time!!!!!! We love you…your Bob and Donna

    P.S. We got a new grandson, Jakob Steven Ausenhus born in February. He is so expressive and such a beauty 🙂 God just keeps blessing our socks off. Big SWAK!!!!!


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