Friday, January 9, 2009

Sister Down 1/6/09

Sister Down 

Clear & sunny
Wind 7-10 mph
Blowing snow
Temp -15c

Taken from the military parlance when a soldier or aircraft goes down, "Sister Down" is definitely applicable to the situation we encountered Tuesday about 2:30 pm.

I was working at my desk when I heard a crash that was a combination of something breaking and something thudding. I jumped up and headed for the Library which is the room just off the main entry where Sister Olga, Brat Pyotr, and Sister Cindy have their desks. Olga and Pyotr are both on the Russian New Year's holiday until January 12th, so Sister Cindy would be alone in that part of the office. I suspected that she had climbed on a chair or something and fallen.

Looking in the library and finding no action, I took the second choice and headed around the corner to the long hall leading to the computer room, restrooms and the kitchen. There in a heap was Sister Cindy up against the men's bathroom wall with the two Office Elders (Olson and Watson) standing over her and Elder Watson asking, "Are you alright?" to which she replied, "No! I'm not alright. I hurt my head." I knelt beside her and began to evaluate the scene.

There was blood on the cuffs of her shirt and dripping from several fingers; she was holding her forehead with a bloody right hand and holding her left arm close to her body. She was obviously in shock and kept saying that she hurt her head. Broken china littered the floor near the wall and there was some blood on the floor. I asked her what happened and she responded that she tripped on the carpet and stumbled into the wall, breaking the cup she was holding and cutting her hand. I asked her to tell me her name and what day it was and she answered appropriately with a little irritation that I would ask such stupid questions at a time like this.

I sent Elder Olson to the front to get my small flashlight from my coat pocket and began examining her for broken bones. Everything looked normal so I helped her lay flat on the carpet and finished checking her joints. This irritated her also and she said, "I hurt my head" emphatically.

As Elder Olson arrived with the flashlight, I sent Elder Watson to find the first aide kit in the black supply cabinet next to the big copier and he brought two kits, both were nearly bereft of any usable supplies. There was an Ace bandage, a gauze roll, a plastic "chemical ice" bag. a few 2x2 gauze pads, a large absorbent gauze compress, a roll of adhesive tape like the football players used in the 60's, a pair of plastic scissors, and a couple of alcohol-impregnated pads. I used the few 2x2 gauze pads to stop the bleeding on her hands and taped some in place while I searched for more wounds.

After stopping the bleeding, I checked her eyes for light response to test for concussion, kept asking her inane questions and generally irritated her until I was satisfied that she had no hidden injuries that I was competent to discover. She still complained about the bump on her head and a goose egg was beginning to rise, so I broke the inside pouch of the cold pack, shook it well and bandaged it to her forehead with the roll of gauze left in the first aide kit.

With the bleeding stopped and her still conscious, I decided she was stable enough to sit up. I used the Ace bandage to make a sling and with the help of the two Office Elders, got her on her feet and into a chair in the computer room she had just left. The arm was the only thing left that I was unsure of, but that could wait for a little observation.

Sister Cindy asked for a blessing and I started down the hall looking for consecrated oil and President Mickelsen who had been in a meeting with the assistants and missed all of the action; about 15 minutes worth.

I opened his door, announced the need and the three of them and myself headed back down the long hall to the computer room. I asked President to anoint and I sealed. The blessing was a strong one of healing with particular attention to increased circulation of blood and lymph to remove the damaged cells and promote the growth of new cells to replace them. It included references to her lungs, liver and kidneys and I was surprised at the specificity of it and thought it very special.

We got Sister Cindy down to the front office, sat her in Brat Pyotr's chair and I closed up my computer and desk, knowing that it would be a while before I would be in the office again. This is how she looked just before President Mickelsen drove us home and helped us get into the building. I couldn't pass up the picture.

When we got in our apartment, I got her undressed and in bed, re-dressed her cuts properly with first aide supplied that I had brought from home including a few butterflies, and tied bags of frozen vegetables on her arm and head to control the swelling. Here you can see the black eye beginning to form.

I do not wish to be indelicate here, but I am making a record of the event and looking for some response from my medical friends so please forgive the detail. Regarding the blessing, I am interested in the comments of you medical types regarding the next 4-5 hours. She must have used the rest room at least 10 times during that period voiding a large amount of liquid at each time. I would not be surprised if she had voided over a gallon or more. Could this be the flushing of damaged cells promised or some other response to this insult?

At her request, I began calling the zone leaders in each city to ask their missionaries to exercise their faith and pray for her swift recovery. She said that if everyone would combine their faith and prayers, she could have a miracle and be healed in the morning. I then called a few of the young adults and our other Russian friends in Novosibirsk and asked them to call others with the same request. After the calls, I sat down at her computer and composed the following email to send to the almost 300 contacts to whom she writes her monthly email.

"Dear Friends
This is Elder Simmons. I am writing on behalf of Sister Simmons who is a little banged up right now and would like you to pray for her speedy recovery from some injuries she suffered today (Tuesday afternoon), of all places, in the main office hallway leading to the kitchen. She stumbled coming out of the computer room, heading for the kitchen and ended up banging her head (above the left eye) into the concrete wall, breaking a cup she was holding and cutting her right hand in several spots.

Her injuries are not life threatening and, all in all, she was very lucky to still have all of her teeth, escaped having her nose broken and, except for a severe bruise to her left forearm, seems to have no broken bones.

Would you please pray for your friend Sister Cindy and add your faith to that of our missionaries for her speedy recovery and return to her assignments in the mission office. She has faith that she can wake up tomorrow and be completely healed with your prayers and faith from all over the world. As she said herself from under the bag of frozen corn on her bruised head, " I AM a faith promoting experience."

Please pray for her when you get up this morning.
Elder Doug
Sister Cindy
Russia Novosibirsk Mission
Office Secretary"

Within minutes, I began to receive responses of support and love, promising to pray for her recovery. It is not possible to express my, our, feelings of being loved and cared for by our wonderful friends and loving family. By the end of the next day I am sure we received almost 100 responses and well-wishes. They have continued throughout the week. It is so comforting to feel the love of family and friends when you are half-way around the world with a serious problem. Thank you for your love, your faith, your prayers, and your willingness to take the time to respond with a supportive email.

It is now Saturday night and I am finishing this posting having witnessed a major miracle brought about by your faith and prayers. We stayed home Wednesday and Cindy rested, but was up several times and could begin to move her arms and head. By Thursday she was back in the office for about 7 hours doing her job; sore, weak, but back in the saddle. By Friday we could fix lunch for the 13 missionaries at district meeting in our apartment and go shopping for 5 hours (with some angel help) for the Super Saturday Seminary activity for which she had accepted the assignment to provide the food for 50+ youth. By tonight (Saturday), she had made and served 8 gallons of taco soup, breakfast and sack dinners for 24, and came home exhausted but successful; fulfilling every duty, every assignment, every obligation in spite of what could have been major injuries and a long convalescence without the prayers, faith and blessings of a mission.

She got her miracle because of her faith, your faith, your prayers, and a personal, loving Heavenly Father who granted the hundreds of petitions that rose like laser beams to heavenly realms carrying a plea for Sister Cindy's recovery to His ears by believing, faith-filled friends, Temple prayer rolls, and children's simple prayers both here and around the world. May God bless you for your service to your friend and your faith in God.

What a family. What friends. What a week. What a country.


Trisha said...

All I can say is I LOVE YOU! and am glad you are my parents.

Shannon Simmons said...

Oh, I am just so glad you are better Sister Cindy. I love you both!

Marilyn said...

We knew Cindy (I can't say Sister Cindy because it sounds so Catholic) would be better in no time, with all the prayers and the blessings of serving a mission. But it's good to be told that "all is well". From the looks of the picture of Cindy in bed, yyou must be ironing those sheets you are washing, Doug. And it's especially good that you have all the Boy Scout first aid training! Way to go with the exam!

Grandma Walker said...