Dr. Hodge Serves a Displaced Ukrainian Woman
This is the second article in a series that is an update from Ukraine. Dr. Catherine Hodge is a MedSend supported medical missionary serving in Malawai, Africa. She was recently asked to serve short-term in Ukraine. This is one powerful story told first person from her experience serving in Ukraine.
“Near the end of a long clinic day, I had the privilege of giving care to Ms. Lydia, a beautiful Ukrainian woman in her late 70s. Her van of patients had rolled up to the clinic, calling ahead to make sure we didn’t leave before they arrived. She rushed in and sat down, already talking a mile a minute, seemingly worried that she still might have missed her chance at medication refills.
I checked her blood pressure and gently let her know that it was still very high, despite her good job in taking her medications. The dam burst, and her sobs spilled out for the next 20 minutes, as she shared the terrors she had endured in the last two months.
Surviving the initial attacks near Kyiv, which decimated her apartment with her inside, she fled to Odessa. The war followed her there and she then escaped further west, jumping city to city. She recounted going to buy a magazine outside one of her refugee facilities, only to watch a missile kill the people up ahead of her in the street. Now she was without any family members and reported that she could only sleep for two hours each night before waking, just to stare at the ceiling for the remaining hours, reliving each attack over and over.
Her body shook as the tears fell. My heart ached with the same whisper that it does every time I see an elderly Malawian farmer planting in their maize field, bent over in pain: ‘You shouldn’t be here. At your age? This is supposed to be your time of rest, the quiet twilight of your life.’ But both war and hunger are unyielding taskmasters.
I listened, I cried, we prayed, we hugged. I adjusted and refilled medications and we held hands for a long time. There was nothing more to be done. I will never forget what I saw and heard this week in Ukraine. My hope is in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
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