About Me

My name is Jen Hathorn. I'm a family medicine physician. Since January 2015 I have been living in Egbe Nigeria, which is in Kogi State. I am serving at a bush hospital practicing full spectrum family medicine. I am working with an organization called World Medical Mission which is a part of Samaritan's Purse. This blog is my place to stay connected with you through stories, meditations and pictures. I hope that you enjoy reading the posts!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Alone in the Box

“Purr-ump.    Purr-ump.    Purr-ump.” Over and over it beats. Some times a little faster, some times a little slower, but it’s always present. This continuous muffled noise is my steadying point. A constant reminder that mamma’s heart is beating just for me. It calms me when I’m awake and lulls me to sleep over and over through-out the day. I yawn and feel the need to stretch. I try to move around in the warm dark water of my bubble, but find that the space is getting cramped and I can barely stretch my arm out. With a sleepy sigh I decide to fall back to sleep instead. I’m just starting to fall into the sweet unconscious dreamworld when a little hand grabs mine and wakes me up. My brother! He’s awake again. Curled up next me, like two little peas in an ever growing pod we fit together perfectly like a puzzle. I’m the ying and he’s the yang.  Together since the beginning we don’t know anything else. Our hearts beat in sync as we quietly exist in this wonderful world of water. I hold his hand and together we drift off into the sweet sleep of the innocent. 

“Purr-UMP! Purr-UMP! Purr-UMP!” Mamma’s heart is racing. What’s happening? I’m jolted awake by the closing walls of my world. Over and over my body is being squeezed and then released. I grab my brother’s hand and he holds on tightly, he must feel this too. Again we are squeezed so tightly it takes my breath away.  I notice something else, the water that has kept us floating so peacefully is starting to slip away. Like when a drain plug is suddenly removed from a basin of water, it’s just vanishing from around us. His hand jerks away from mine and he slips down to the floor of our even shrinking bubble. I notice that a small hole in the wall of our world is opening and growing at an alarming pace. Bigger and bigger, as if it beckons me. I pull back. I don’t want to leave this place. Oh I wish I knew what was happening! My brother goes first. He’s so brave! Over and over he is squeezed farther from me until he disappears all together. Moments later I find myself following him even though I go against my will. 

“AAHH!” I gasp in this horrible cold! I open my mouth and let out a high shriek! What place is this?!? It’s so bright and so COLD! What chaos did I just enter? There are voices yelling and screaming all around me. O how I miss the gentle purring of my mother’s heart. I can’t hear it now and suddenly I am lost. Where is my brother? I try to reach out to touch him, but he isn’t around me. I scream again. Where is he? Someone is aggressively wiping me with a harsh towel and shoving a suction tube in my mouth. I begin to shiver. Why am I so cold? Suddenly I feel him. He is next to me again. He is cold too. Without the buoyancy of the water world our arms are flailing out of control and we keep hitting each other as we reach up grabbing the air. I am trying to make sense of this new world, too bright to see and too loud to understand. We are soon bundled up in a blanket and feel a swift movement. Moving again? Not again!

Bump, bump, bump. Nothing smooth about this ride. The car screeches to a halt and there is commotion. The door jerks open and someone grabs us both and begins to run. The sudden movement jerks me back to reality and I take another breath. Another bright light is suddenly overhead shinning down on us. In the cold, as the blanket is unwrapped, I reach out and hit him. At least he is still there. Still next to me. Still cold. I feel him move his arm as he is poked and prodded. There are so many faces all around us. Strange blurry blobs talking so loud, pinching us and poking us over and over again. I wish this would all end. I hear my mothers voice in the distance. I wish she would come near, surely she would make it stop. Maybe she would help us get back to the warm, dark world of yesterdays. I don’t hear her anymore.  Where has she gone? 

After what seems like a painfully long eternity we are moved once more. This time though, it’s to a warm and quite box. At last! Side by side again, my brother and I stretch out. But it’s not just like before. It’s true, we are together and we are warm, but we are also both struggling to breath in this strange new place without water. We have so many tubes stuck in our arms and in our noses, it just doesn’t feel right.  I’m sure glad my brother is here.  Ever so often my arm or leg will jerk up in the air and it usually hits him while he sleeps next to me. Sometimes he’ll hit me first. I’m getting tried so I close my eyes and try to sleep. Tonight, I fall asleep not to the noise of my momma’s soothing heart, but to the noise of my own labored breathing — and my brothers. 

Something isn’t right. I can feel it. The tension and anxiety in my room is palpable. I jerk my arm up into the air but it floats and then lands on the bed beside me. Where is my brother? I jerk my arm again. Again, nothing but the air. I begin to cry. Where is he? I cry harder. A large hand reaches in and touches my head, trying to sooth me, I guess. I stop crying, mostly because it is just too hard to cry and breath at the same time, not because I feel comforted. The hand moves away and I settle into my work of breathing. As I start to calm down, a realization is drifting over me - I am alone. For the first time I learn about this horrible sensation, 'alone'. My brother is not in the box with me. I am getting tired from the work of breathing, so I decide to fall asleep. As I drift off, my last thought is really just a prayer — that my brother will be back when I wake up.

I don’t know how long I slept but when I begin to stir and move around that horrible new sensation is still there. I am still alone. I guess it is true. I really don’t want to believe it, but I have not choice. He is gone. I decide that this new world is awful! I suck in another labored breath. 

I am alone in the box. 

If you think about me, please pray for me. It’s not easy to be alone in the box.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Lord Jesus be merciful to this little soul....may your perfect will be done in his life. Comfort his little heart and surround him with your love and presence. Jehovah-rapha may he rest upon your healing wings of love, and may you supply all his needs.Have your way Lord I pray in your precious name Jesus.Amen!!!