A couple of times each year I take teams into the heart of Romania to minister to the Roma people. While there, and almost every time I've driven by the city's local hospital, I've managed to squeeze some kind of snarky remark into our conversation. Something along the lines of: "Now don't any of you guys think about getting sick or breaking a limb while we're here; otherwise, I'll have to take you THERE. And you do NOT want to go THERE!"
Today I went THERE.
Okay, okay...it's not THAT bad, but it's honestly not the kind of place you'd ever want to visit for medical treatment. My Romanian friends avoid it if at all possible, and for the most part they tend to drive over an hour to a larger city for care. I have always planned that, should a team member ever need help, we'd travel to the larger city, too.
Sometimes, though, plans go out the window.
Yesterday, in true Jordan fashion, I tripped down a ramp while trying to buy some water in the local grocery store and turned my ankle. I've twisted ankles before, but this was a legit, 90-degree-type turn. I heard a snap or a crack and immediately thought, "Oh NO! No, no, NO! Please, Lord, I don't want to have to go THERE!"
I lost hold of the bottles of water and landed on my back after gracelessly stumbling to the tile floor, and I lay there in a daze while my sweet friend Kelly stared at me in horror. Also, so did every other patron in the busy Profi market, which is just par for the course. Why not continue the public embarrassment that is my life when I'm halfway around the world?
A sweet Romanian woman kept trying to help me stand up, and I kept trying to communicate that I didn't want to try at the moment, that I wasn't sure I even COULD stand up. After a few minutes I struggled to my feet, and I realized instantly that I was not in good shape. I couldn't put weight on my left foot without experiencing excruciating pain.
I paid for our waters, and then my team member, Kelly, helped me (slowly) back across the street to our hotel. We were supposed to be walking to church, but I knew I needed to head back to the room to elevate and ice my foot instead. She helped get me settled in my room, and then headed out in search of some compression bandages to wrap my ankle.
As I lay there alone in my hotel room, my mind raced, questioning the possible scenarios. Broken ankle or just a sprain? Seek treatment in Romania or wait and seek treatment at home? A simple fix or would surgery be required? My imagination was running wild.
As I pondered, tears welled up in my eyes, partly from the pain, partly from frustration. I had just gotten well after a two-week bout with pneumonia, and now this? I felt I had been fighting one physical ailment or another for weeks, and in the middle of all of it I had released a book, traveled to Romania, and was preparing for several speaking engagements.
Then the Spirit of God stopped me, and fell heavy on me in a tiny hotel room in Sighisoara, Romania. "Praise Me," He said. Immediately I began singing "Lord, I need you, oh I need You; every hour I need You; my one defense, my righteousness; oh God, how I need you."
Sometimes it takes a jacked up ankle to remind me how much I need Him.
As I sang, a calm came over me and I was at peace. The pain ebbed and flowed throughout the day and I was hopeful that I could wait until I arrived back in Atlanta to seek medical treatment. I decided to sleep on it and reevaluate in the morning.
When I woke up today, my entire leg was throbbing. Bummer. I knew I needed to have it checked out before we began our travels back to the US, and my only option was a quick trip to the local Amity-Horror-esque hospital before we started a five-hour drive to Bucharest.
My Romanian bestie took me to the hospital, and it really was a bizarre experience. We parked in a dirt parking lot and walked into a tiny, dilapidated lobby. Because I am an American, I was taken right into the triage room and was quickly put through the intake process. I'm happy to report I was allowed to opt out of sharing my weight with the medical technician, mainly because he spoke poor English and also because I can't covert pounds into kilograms quickly enough.
We were sent to the orthopedist's office, which also doubled as the urology department. If you suffered a fracture or incontinence, it was the place to be. I sat glancing around at the others who were waiting, trying to figure out which doctor they were there to see. It was a fun game.
The orthopedist took one look at my ankle and sent me straight to radiology for an x-ray. The radiology department was up a flight of stairs, which was perfect for those of us with potentially broken ankles. Feel free to take a moment to soak that brilliance in.
I climbed onto the radiology table and waited for the tech to take pictures of my ankle. After assuring him repeatedly that I am not pregnant, no matter how bloated I might have appeared, he snapped a few images and left me alone while he developed them. As I sat there awaiting the results, I was reminded of my desperate need for the Lord, and His goodness to me. I thanked Him for His faithfulness.
Sometimes it takes having to go THERE to remind me how much I need Him.
Then I whispered, "Satan, I see what you're doing here, trying to take me out. Just so you know, I don't have to be standing on two feet to proclaim God's truth. As a matter of fact, the lower I sit, the louder I'll speak. Nice try, though."
No busted ankle is going to keep me from proclaiming the grace and freedom of Jesus Christ. No sickness or situation is going to quiet me. The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that we could have life, and have it abundantly. Jesus wins, Satan loses. The end.
The doctors found no fracture in my ankle, praise God. It's severely sprained, and I've possibly torn a ligament, but there's no break. It's swollen and achy, but this, too, shall pass. I was given instructions to stay off of it for a week. Everyone with children just busted out laughing like I did when the doctor gave me that instruction.
On the bright side, as I told my team, thanks to me and my airport wheelchair, they'll be at the front of every security line AND they'll get to board the planes early. What a privilege. I can't wait to sit in those uncomfortable seats for even longer than usual.