I have been to a place that I have never been before.
I had to go in to the Oncology ward to have more scans and tests done, and because of financial reasons, I was taken to the Addington Hospital in Durban.
Understand this, I do not equate this hospital with the dungeons of hell. In fact to the poorest of the poor, and to the sickest of the sick in our society, its is a beacon of last hope. A place where care and treatment is given, free of charge, to those in dire need. It is for them a beacon of shining hope and help.
Derelict, depleted old, and the long dark damp red-brick corridors brought to me what the dungeons of hell could be like. The patients, moving in dim light and shadows, grave-faced, heavy burned, some uncomfortable and in silent pain, where there was no joy at all, patiently and stoically stood their turn for attention and treatment.
But there was too a great sense of efficiency of the systems at work. Good work was being done in an organised and proficient manner, and getting the masses lined up for their treatment and care. The Staff were patient, and kind. Very kind, and understanding. One nurse in the Oncology ward, softly sang “put your care upon Jesus”
as she took blood samples. I had a lovely imaginary picture of a little song-bird singing among the trepidation of the treatments that were to follow. It gave comfort and brought hope, and smile to my face.
The ministry of soft song in suffering is powerful.
I went through the motions of the day, waiting many hours till my turn came I sat in a waiting room that was filled with light. It had a “sea-view”, but it was a rainy day and the day and the mood was sombre and a misty grey. As I waited I saw the passing parade of the busy street in front of the hospital. Life was carrying on as usual – traffic cops on duty, deliveries being made, visitors looking for sea-side parking.
I saw a new and understanding doctor, who had a heart for her patients, went through the motions, did the tests and x-rays. Then finally referred to another hospital for follow up scans and tests. A thorough investigation of my present condition, for which I am grateful. And all the way through my trusty husband was there to help me get through the physical obstacles, with patience and endurance.
Once done, I was helped out to the car, where a car guard offered to help where he could, in the hope of a reward. He was an elderly white-haired Indian man in a turquoise track suit, with hardship written on his face. He was working in the rain for a pittance for his own survival – oh the hardships of poverty !
It is an experience that I do not cherish, but do so appreciate. For in a moment in time, it brought me closer to those who suffer in their poverty, and in the sicknesses and ailments.
It is in poverty, sickness, disease and death that we may perceive the horrors of hell, where there is no joy, no hope and everlasting misery – all these linger in the dungeons of hell.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me,
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those
who are bound.