Today…hot, painful, weary. [It is not today…it was yesterday…but I did not get this post finished…please just work all the details out in your mind…just remember it is yesterday…and today is tomorrow…..and I’m sure it is all as clear as mud. Welcome to my world]

I had a Dr. appointment this morning. I do not mind going to the doctor, but what I do mind is that I always have to have blood drawn. Always. Today was no exception.

Let me just say, that it is not the lab tech’s fault, but it is nigh unto impossible to get any blood out of my arms. They look at my veins and think they see good ones, but they roll and blow, and another stick follows. They always have to get at least 4 vials. …which I think is somewhere close to a half gallon, at least! I refuse to even let them come near me with anything but a ‘butterfly’ type needle…even though the new techs will try to use what they are most comfortable with…to heck with what I am the most comfortable with! “Nope, not gonna happen”, I tell them. There is only a slim chance that they are going to get some with a butterfly….and there is NO chance they are going to get some with a regular needle. And, since I am not into pain…we do it my way. I usually has to come from my hands…and even once from my ankle!

One time there was a tech who thought she knew how to stick me. I gave her my spiel and she said, “Oh, but you’ve never had ME draw your blood before…I get it the first time…everytime.” “Great,” I tell her, “I’ll give you one chance with a regular needle.” “No problem”, she said. She looked again and remarked what wonderful veins I had. HA! I was willing to put up with some extra pain just to prove her wrong. She stuck me…up near the crook of my arm. Sure enough, that vein high-tailed it out of there in a flash. “Well, where did that thing go?” she said. “You need to be still now, you made me lose that vein.” Now, we have already established that I don’t like pain, and I know how hard it is with a butterfly…so if you think I moved when she had a larger needle, you are badly mistaken. She embarked on a ‘search and destroy’ mission…and I gritted my teeth, and silently thought mean thoughts. “OK,” I told her, “that’s it. No more digging. You’ll have to try somewhere else and use a butterfly”. She looked up at me, sweat standing out on her top lip, and said, “IF you’ll cooperate, this will be over in a minute. I have never seen anybody complain like you before.” WRONG THING TO SAY TO ME! The other 2 techs who knew me, and who understood the situation, stood up and came over to my chair. That woman looked over her shoulder and said, “Don’t bother me.” All this time, she has been digging in my arm, and really, I’m about to make some noise that I’m sure would embarrass me later. But, the Lord gave me a coolness, and I looked at the tech standing closest to me, and said, “She may not want you to bother her, and that’s OK…cause I’m getting ready to scream and when I do every doctor in the building is going to come running and if they don’t, I’ll scream until they do.”

This made her very angry. She stood up…and yanked that needle out of my arm…yanked off her gloves….threw them down and left. Blood was pouring out of my arm and running down onto my clothes. The other 2 ladies hurried to help me. I was near passing out by now. They helped me out of the chair and over to a cot to lie down. I told them to go and get my doctor. They did…and obviously told him the whole story before he got there. He was appalled! I told him she could NEVER touch me again. I went home, with out them getting any blood. I came back in the next day for one of the other techs to draw the blood. The ‘tech from a hot place’ was nowhere to be seen, and I never saw her again.

That was years ago, and far away, but the memory lingers still. The ladies in the lab at my doctor’s office here know how hard it is, and they don’t even look at a larger needle. SO…I got 4 vials of blood drawn today. And, they had to get it out of my hand…and the vein blew, so I’ll have a nice blue hand by morning. (EDIT: It’s tomorrow and the hand is blue!)

You know, we are so fortunate to live in a country where there is medical help for any problem we may encounter. Someone can draw my blood today and send it to a lab and study it closely and send a report back to my doctor so that he know all sorts of things about my inner workings. My doctor had just returned from a medical mission trip to Guatemala with a team of doctors from this area. We talked about it for a while today…how we take for granted what we have because we have always had it. We do not know what it is to not be able to get to a doctor when we are sick. Even if we can not afford health care, there are clinics, and hospitals that will treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay. The people who live in other places in our world have to worry whether there is even a doctor nearby, by chance. And, if they can even get to them if there is! Oh, we are blessed. My parents have spent many, many days in Central and South America helping our Southern Baptist Missionaries. They have helped to build churches and homes. Pop helped build and set up a radio station that would serve a group of Kek’chi Indians that had never heard the gospel…or anything else! I can remember Mom telling about the time she had to be the pharmacist when she and one of the missionary wives went to a village to check on some sick. She was the only one available. And either she stepped in and did it…or it would not be done…..and the clinic would not happen that day. God always puts someone in place to do the things He needs done…how sad when those people are unwilling to do what is before them. If God chooses to use you…then He will equip you with whatever you need to get the job done. Those who give their lives in service to those in poor countries are some of the heroes we tend to forget about. The people who live there are as important to God as I am, here in the USA. He loves them just as much as He loves me. But, you and I both know, it is hard to hear anything else a person is telling you, if you are in pain. So, many times, missionaries are not able to witness of God’s love without first tending to the physical needs.

I have several friends who will be travelling to Guatemala in July with a group from another church. They will go and they will do what they can. They will do more than is asked of them. They will sacrifice their own comfort while they are there. And, they will do good, in Jesus’ name. But, they will have to come home. And, the missionaries will continue on by themselves , doing the work before them…and praying for more workers.

“Oh, Lord, make us mindful of the needs around the world. And, make us mindful, as well, of how blessed we really are.” Amen.