An Ambulance, the ER, two Hospitals, an Emergency Ferry Transfer, and an Urgent Operation in Langkawi, Malaysia
What is written below is an account of a series of events that unfolded during our time on the Island of Langkawi, a subsequent emergency transfer to the mainland of Malaysia and then back to Langkawi in the course of a lonely and scary 80+ hours in Southeast Asia.
The day prior to us posting this blog post, it was almost 9:30 in the morning in Malaysia where we were located at the time. It was almost 7:30pm back in our home in the southeastern United States. At that exact moment in the nine o'clock hour Kaydee was separated from the rest of her family. Our two children were sleeping in a hotel room with Timothy. Kaydee was recovering from one hell of a last 48 hours. Our children were even recovering. During the span of 48 hours our children had only slept a total of 4 hours, primarily on waiting room benches and floors. They underwent what we will unpack as small traumatic experiences I am sure. Thankfully they were eventually able to catch up on their zzzzzzs.
In summary, those traumatic 48 hours started with a sudden and sharp pain to Kaydee's abdomen which led us to drive to a clinic in Langkawi, a small little island off the coast of mainland Malaysia. We then were transferred to Langkawi Hospital where we waited for six hours before we were delivered the news that this sharp pain appeared very serious and would require an operation. We were subsequently told that there was not a surgeon prepared nor available to do this surgery on the island and therefore we would need to be transferred immediately to the mainland by ferry. Meanwhile, without the help of medication, much English language and no visit from a doctor, Kaydee had now begun to go into shock. Seeing the situation become more dire, a doctor soon stepped in and stabilized her with all sorts of tubes and syringes poking in this way and that. We waited what seemed to be an eternity for the ferry to arrive while also trying to pack up our belongings with the anticipation of possibly not returning to the island.
At 10:30pm on this first day we finally left on a ferry to the Mainland in the dark of night. Kaydee lay on a stretcher placed on the floor of the bottom level of a ferry almost unconscious while her children and husband along with three nurses rode along with every bump of a wave. This ride lasted for 1.5 hours through the Straight of Malacca. We arrived at a Malaysian City called Kedah and were immediately transferred by ambulance to the Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah. Imagine this, two children and their parents riding in the back of an ambulance in a foreign country past midnight and one of those parents lay on a stretcher just barely holding on. You search for strength. You pray for the ones you love. You rely on the strength you gain from others back home. We reached the hospital and waited longer. We waited for 14 additional hours on top of the already accrued 12 hours of pain, of loneliness, of language barriers, of fear. Kaydee lay in a ward for 14 hours separated from her children. She lay fighting. Dehydrated but strong. Weak but resilient. Lonely. She was lonely.
Kaydee eventually would be taken to a room and then received several visits from nurses and doctors. We were basically told that it was believed she had a perforated appendix and this would require an immense operation and surgery not to mention recovery time. We processed and just waited. We tried to take it one step at a time, to live in the present. In the meantime, people back at home continued to encourage and support and pray. In the meantime, our children lived in the present. They were gold. Eventually and suddenly she left for surgery. This was an answer to specific prayer. She had waited in pain for 28 hours until she finally went for surgery. Four hours later, we received the good news that Kaydee's surgery went well. Another three hours later, we heard from the doctor that there was no perforation and no need to do additional operations. This again was an answer to specific prayer. We were informed she would recover just fine and if all goes well, she would be discharged and released from the hospital soon thereafter. You see, this news was not just good. It was the kind of news that was *weight-lifted* news. It was the kind of news that changed EVERYTHING for the better. It turned everything around. It stirred immediate joy, immediate gratitude.
Our goal at that point was to get back to Langkawi, get the rest of our belongings, and get to Penang as scheduled just a few days later. As it turns out, we are now able to make that happen thanks in large part to the critical care we received at the aforementioned Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah. We will be in Penang for a month which is good for us to allow time to recover. We are scheduled to return to Kedeh three weeks from this blog post for a follow up check-up.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to Jeremy, Donna, Kendal, Brian, Jonathan, Alli, Mercy, Sarah, Kristin, Niffi, Choo Choo, Kellee, Lee, Dee, Carrie, Julie, Lindsey, Sumner, Mary, Bryan, Eddy, Devin, Garrett, Daniel, Chris, Jimmy, Scott, Sarah, Tim, Jonathan, and so many more. Thank you for your coveted prayers and your encouragement from afar. We felt it. It is hard to describe, but we felt it.
We have commented also that we were shown the healing hand of the great physician, Jesus, by Hindu doctors and Muslim nurses. We are drowning in grace right now. Drowning in gratitude and abundant joy. The care we received from the Malaysian medical community was beautiful.
We would be remiss if we also did not mention the day we were discharged from the hospital, was also Kaydee's birthday. It was not the birthday she had thought would occur. It was not the birthday we had planned. We were able to celebrate with a few small gifts, and sing in the hospital. We sung happy birthday, we smiled, we cried and then we rested.
We are not kidding when we note our faith and spirituality had been tested unlike any other time more than likely. While at the same time, there was a new revelation that was fresh with each experience. The experiences and events of the few days spent in ERs, ambulances, two hospitals, emergency ferry rides, and urgent surgical operations have been just a piece of an ever growing puzzle. To be clear and in full disclosure, we have not been too confident in prayer over the last few years but the past few days revealed to us a fresh perspective on the phenomenon of prayer and what it means for us and for our Creator when we collectively reach out to Him, cry to Him, talk to Him, long for Him. He watches over us. He reminds us He is here through others far away from us and through strangers and their gifts right next to us. He is present. He is reassuring. He is creative. He is still mysterious as ever and we would not pretend to know the answers to all of our faith questions but for now, we can attest to the strong presence we have felt during the lonely and dark few days that encompassed much of our time in Langkawi. We are still unpacking all of this. Still learning. Still processing. Still healing.
Again, thank you to all near and far and thank you to the mighty and powerful God of Heaven who watches over us.