December 12, 2009

What a piece of work is man

Oldest Maid washing a puppy foundling

Oldest Maid is my best employee, she is always on time or early, she never forgets to make sure fresh towels are in the room, that the garbage can gets emptied, that the windows are polished and the furniture dusted. She loves her job and she loves to work here. When she had vacation this last summer she came back a day early because she missed being here so much, but the rest of the girls sent her home. She is a hard worker and I trust her completely.

It seems she has developed a uterine cyst which in and of itself can be treated. Her sad odyssey is that she has to rely on the Mexican healthcare system. Mexico’s healthcare is nationalized, that is good for people that live in Mexico City where doctors earn good salaries, but not so good for those that live in remote places like Santa Rosalia where the healthcare is substandard. Oldest Maid has gone to the doctor here several times in the last 8 months and has had her healthcare delayed by postponed appointments due to holidays, hurricanes, and the whim of the scheduler. She was told she needed an operation the first time she went, and that has not changed. For some reason she keeps getting sent to place after place such as La Paz and Guerrero Negro, both some distance from us always with the same diagnosis—she needs surgery. Her cyst is as large as a grapefruit and she is in a lot of pain. This last time when she went to Guerrero Negro they told her not to bother coming back or trying to make another appointment. They will not operate on her.

Oldest Maid is a Jehovah’s Witness. It is against her religion to have a blood transfusion which she would need if she were to have the surgery. She signed a paper for surgery stating that she did not want to be transfused. Her daughter is a Jehovah’s Witness and has just married another Jehovah’s Witness. They are well entrenched in their church. If you have a transfusion it is likely the church will excommunicate you. Her sister works for me, and her other sister has worked for me before—none of them are Jehovah’s Witnesses, of her five siblings she is the only one. She 52 and his been separated from her husband for many years (they do not believe in divorce.) She lives with her son, (her daughter lived there until her recent marriage), her mother and one of her other sisters. When her mother and siblings have birthdays or Christmas celebrations in the house she either stays in her room or leaves the house. It seems so sad to me.

The doctors told her to limit her activities, minimal walking or lifting (surely no housework!) When I found out she was refusing a transfusion for surgery that would save her from a slow and painful death, I had to talk with her. I told her that I wasn’t anyone to tell her what she should do, but then I proceeded to tell her just exactly that. I told her she needed to accept the transfusion regardless of what her religion was telling her do. I told her lots more besides, about living to see her grandchildren and God’s love for his all his creation; she just told me that she loved me. I don’t know what she will decide to do. I see her daughter standing beside her but her thinking is brittle, she believes her mother needs to follow the rules. When you are young and follow the rules you don’t see them in the same perspective of those who are older and have gained some perspective on life. Would her daughter shun her if she had the transfusion? If she has the surgery and does not get the transfusion it is likely she will die from blood loss. If she does not have the surgery she will be in much pain. Her hemoglobin is really low and they were concerned about the surgery for that reason too. I feel have never been confronted so closely by human tragedy. What we chose to believe channels our lives and those around us in ways we can never know.

1 comment:

Craig said... this will help you to understand what the doctors are saying about not having a transfusion, also renews your faith in Jehovah, He does not speak to hear Himself talk.