One touch of the stomach

And all the alarm bells started ringing

Don Wilber will never forget Christmas 2020, because he almost died.  His life was saved by his resolute wife, Dr Steffen assisted by his surgical team and of course by God.

The Christmas festivities were over, when the 32-year-old suddenly felt intense stomach pains.  At 4.a.m he could bear it no longer and went to the local health station, where the doctor on duty referred him to a large hospital in the provincial capital.

Upon arrival at the clinic everything went as one would expect and as it should be: the diagnosis, the x-ray and the laboratory-tests.  Don was told that he needed an immediate emergency operation.  So he lay on his hospital bed and waited to be pushed into the operating theatre.  But the hours ticked steadily by and nothing happened.  No explanation, no update, no information, nothing.  Something felt not quite right.  His wife finally lost her patience: “What was going on here?” she asked vehemently.

The answer given by the medical staff was chastening: “Currently there is no surgeon in the hospital and unfortunately he will arrive tomorrow morning at the earliest!”

Such a statement knocks everyone for six who has realised that the next few hours will decide over life and death.  The family reacted immediately.  They quickly organised a car and drove through the night through the mountains to Curahuasi.  Every curve on that 90-minute journey was torture.

Don had only just arrived at the Hospital Diospi Suyana’s A+E when surgeon Dr Lukas Steffen touched his stomach with his hand and felt that Don’s muscles were like planks of wood under extreme tension.  Dr Steffen knew immediately that this was a real emergency.  During the operation the missionary doctor found a ruptured section of the small intestine caused by an inflammatory bowel disease.  The segment in question was removed and the ends sewn back together.

Don Wilber has recovered nicely.  His stomach is soft and relaxed (see above photo) and he will probably be heading home within the next few days.

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