Several of us have been reading "Surprised by Hope" by NT Wright, which, among other things, asserts that we under-celebrate resurrection. He says we should be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus after Easter, for at least as long as we celebrate his sufferings prior to Easter (i.e. Lent). In the spirit of this, I thought I would share a story of resurrection.
Cherotich is a little baby, who was admitted to our NICU at about 3 weeks of life. Unfortunately, her mom had died shortly after birth of overwhelming infection, and this lack of mom has severe implications for the health of the newborn. In a world where formula isn't anywhere near affordable, and even preparing cow's milk cleanly is problematic, neonatal health outcomes go from bad to worse when mom is gone. She came in with trouble breathing and signs of neonatal sepsis, or widespread infection. We promptly started antibiotics and IV fluids for her, but knew her prognosis was poor.
We were puzzled on examining her to find that her legs were very stiff. I would take hold of her leg and try to bend at the knee, but found it very difficult. Our first thoughts were for meningitis or potentially a severe electrolyte imbalance, but on checking, these were not present.
Unfortunately, our work here being what it is, I have had ample time to observe a similar phenomenon, which is that, in neonates, in the hours (maybe a day or two) before they die, their limbs become waxy and tight, not unlike the changes of rigor mortis, but occurring just before death, instead of after. Having looked into other possibilities, and taking into account Cherotich's severe condition, we concluded that this was the most likely diagnosis, and it further supported her grim prognosis.
Slowly by slowly (as they say here), and much slower than usual, she stabilized. Then she began to improve. She could tolerate some formula through an nasogastric tube. She was weaned off oxygen. She started to take some formula from a cup. And all the while, over the course of more than 2 weeks, her rigor mortis legs loosened up, eventually returning to normal. She was discharged home in the care of her aunt.
Several weeks later, I had been paged to the clinic to try and answer some questions for the clinical officer (i.e. P.A.) working there. Walking by the row of patients, a young lady caught my attention, and told me that the little girl with her, proudly decked out in her second-hand sequined-dress that she'll maybe grow into in another 4 months, was the very same Cherotich. This is her on that day (in a ridiculously angelic pose, to boot).
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. Please pray for this little girl, who, though brought back from the brink against all expectations, still has the challenge of being raised without a mom.
"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." - I Corinthians 15:19-22
"...in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay..." - Romans 8:21