Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TB, and Time Flies

Tuesday, March13, 2012
Bugasong, Panay Island, Philippines

A ton of things happened this week, but I didn't bring my planner, so I don't have anything to jog my memory.  It was another great week, though.  Actually, one part of this week sucked, and I will go ahead and tell you about that. 

Remember how that doctor lady in Iloilo said I have TB?  And how I told her I didn't?  Well, she called Sister Pagaduan again.  Sister called Tuesday night to tell me that I had to go to Iloilo Thursday morning for an appointment.  I was annoyed!  I am so tired of going to the doctors.  I told Sister Pagaduan, "Sister, I can't go to Iloilo, I'm in Antique."  That didn't phase her.  She insisted that I had to go.  So, we set it up that Elder Montecer would stay here and work, and I would go with a ward missionary to Iloilo.  Thursday morning I went to Iloilo.  We rode a hot bus through the mountains.  Right before I left the mission office to go to the doctors, I was informed that if I had Tuberculosis, I would have to take two weeks rest and isolation.  I told Sister Pagaduan that I didn't have it, so we don't need to worry about that. 

When I arrived to see the doctor, she right off the bat claimed that I had TB, and told me all the medicine I need.  She declined to show me the x-ray.  She said "I don't have it; it's in the x-ray room."  She prescribed me 6 months of medicine!

This was something like my sixth visit to this lady.  Each time, she is surprised that I don't have a cough or any other symptoms.  In fact, last time when I asked her why she had prescribed me what she did, she said "for you cough."  The cough I don't have!  I have not missed a day of work for health reasons since September.  This is also the doctor of Sister Danner and Elder Ball.  Those two are now home for medical reasons, and neither of which needed surgery, and Sister Danner didn't have anything as far as I've heard!  So, I don't trust this doctor.

I didn't buy the medicine, and went back to the office.  I asked to speak with President Pagaduan.  It didn't go the way I wanted.  I told him that I didn't want to miss work, and that I didn't trust the doctor.  I told him that I didn't want to go back to the doctor either.  I offered some evidence as to why I didn't trust the doctor.  Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up, but I mentioned Elder Ball and Sister Danner.  He didn't seem to like that.  He did explain that if he allows me not to follow the advice of the doctor, then he would be responsible.  He then mentioned that unless my parents and my stake president signed some form, then he had to make me take the medicine.  He was saying that to show how absurd it is for me not to take the medicine, but I was thinking "Yeah, let's do that!"  As we left his office, he said "Get well soon."  I told him "I feel fine!"  He then pulled me back into the office, and told me that even if I felt fine I could still have TB.  He couldn't tell me if I could work or not, so he directed me back to Sister Pagaduan.

She told me I couldn't work for two weeks. I told her that is ridiculous because I’ve been working forever with no problem.  She said it was just procedure, and said "We follow procedure, don't we Elder Waggoner?"  I told her something like "I don't know, Sister."  She saw that I wasn't open to the idea of taking off work, so she called the area health guy.  He gave me permission to work.  That's sweet!  After that, I submitted to the demands of the mission and bought the medicine.  It was about 4,000 pesos of medicine!  I am taking it, but I don't like to.  I take four pills daily, and it turns my pee orange.   

I hate to be a burden, and I hate to have to visit the doctors, and I already met with both President and Sister, so I'm just doing as they say now.  But man, isn't it stupid to take pills for something that you don't have?  I don’t think the pills are too harmful.  The label said that it may cause liver failure.  That's not too bad, huh? 

It's true that I may have TB in a very mild form.  That's possible, but I'm not convinced because last November or so I got a shot to see if I had TB and it came out negative.  How about that?  It's kind of frustrating.

Maybe I need a second doctor’s opinion?  However, I would hate to miss more work for it, and I would hate to bug Sister some more.  I don't want to seem rebellious to them - which is weird because I never cared about that before.  Maybe I should just let it drop and take the pills, and then this all will be over.

That was the annoying part of this week, but there were good parts. 

We broke my personal record for the work. The area is on fire.  Although we struck out for investigators at church, it was an awesome week for less-actives at church.  Usually, we have about six priesthood at church.  This week we had about 25!  It was awesome! 

We saw an interesting change in one of our less-active members. The first few times we met with him, he didn't seem to care too much, but this week he came to church.  When we met with him after church, he was listening and intent and seemed excited.  As we left, he gave us star apples.

Elder Dalu
This week I went on splits with Elder Dalu in his part of the area.  We went way up north to Tibiao.  There are some members and less-actives and investigators up there.  It's way cool up there.  We got to see two islands off the coast.  Apparently they have pure white sand beaches.  They don't speak Kinaray-a.  I guess they speak some more tribal language.  The work with Elder Dalu went great.  I went on splits with him in my first area and it didn't go so well, but this time it was different.  We worked in unity and had a great time. 

Some of old ladies just love us missionaries - especially the white missionaries who speak Kinaray-a.  They usually just love to make us feel comfortable and talk to us, but this one lady in Dalu's area takes the cake!  She gave me like 10 pieces of "uga" (sun dried salty fish) and a gantang or rice! (a lot of rice.)  It was way overly nice, but I had to take it.  She gave it to me mid-lesson.  In fact, she was a neighbor and interrupted the lesson to give it to me.  I then related it to the lesson.  Some people are too nice here.  It's like that Josh Ritter song "Best for the Best."  Or like the "widows mite" from the New Testament.  It's way more meaningful when people give from their poverty. 

Elders Montecer & Waggoner
Elder Montecer and I are doing great.  He'll probably transfer really soon now.  Bummer. 

Sister Lyman goes home this transfer, and the other sisters from my batch the next transfer.  I just found out that I might go home October 11.  I'm hearing a lot of things, so I don't know for certain what the final schedule will be.  We'll find out when we find out. 

It's funny.  Every time I feel like I've reached my potential, I find that I have so much more to do.  For instance, I used to think "If I could only work this way, it would be sweet."  But now that I'm working the way I wanted, I've got so many more things to apply.  Actually, at the end of this week, I felt like I had finished climbing the mountain and wanted another challenge.  It was kind of like "this area is now doing well, what's next?"  Of course there is a ton more I need to do, but the really challenging part is over.  Now that the area is on its feet, the work is more about the “enduring to the end” part and harvesting.  I was kind of bummed, but today in zone meeting I learned a bunch more stuff that I need to apply. 

It's been that way my entire mission.  Just as I can speak well in one language, I'll transfer and need to learn another.  Just as I know all the members, I'll transfer.  As soon as I get comfortable, God will throw me a curve ball of a companion or something.  I was afraid that I'd get sick of being on a mission after a while - you know, get tired of the same thing day in and day out - but it hasn’t turned out that way.  There are always enough curve balls to keep things interesting. 

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