My parents were his patients, so were Tek and myself. We’ve always known Keat brings God’s ‘wholistic’ healing whenever he sees people in need, especially those who are in…..Pain!
By Dr Keat Wong
Start the day
I have practised medicine for more than 40 years and in that time I have to increasingly get on my knees in the morning to petition God for His help as I face my workload for the day. Initially it was difficult to carve out the time but now it would be impossible to face my first patient if I have not done so. I would specifically ask my Lord to give me wisdom in meeting my patients’ needs and also the energy level and patience to treat them.
I work in the area of chronic mechanical back and buttock pain. This is debilitating and affects not only the body but saps and drains the mind and the spirit. Very often the patient becomes dispirited and disillusioned with himself and also with the medical profession for not being able to deal with it.
A week ago I had the opportunity to see an overseas professor in her mid 30’s a Christian whose faith is a bit dampened by her debilitating chronic pain. Her very concerned husband has been seconded here for a year to run a company. They plan to start a family but she has to get off the medication prescribed by her doctors.
As I listened to her story, I was glad that before I started work, I had implored the Lord to use me as His instrument to relieve the pain of my patients and to be in a position to address the cause and not merely the symptoms. Additionally I have also implored Him for an extra dose of energy so I can stay on for the second mile as Jesus urged, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him 2 miles” Matthew.5:41. Sarah had so many questions…after all she has a Ph.D and is a professor.
I was running short of time.
The full hour consultation that I set aside for her was running out…I had patients booked and waiting…but somehow I began to experience compassion rising within me. To compound my emotions Sarah (not her real name) began to weep as she pleads for help to understand her chronic pain and suffering that has for the past year been constant and unremitting. If only someone can explain to her the cause, nature and management of her pain she will be able to resume her ‘normal’ pain-free life. Her caring and loving husband pleaded ‘I want my Sarah back!’
My journey to find relief was triggered when I myself was afflicted with similar pain. It was the impetus that drove me to search for an answer. Here I would like to explain a little bit about pain. It is an unpleasant emotion associated with tissue damage or potential for tissue damage. We should not ignore pain. It is like a smoke or warning signal alerting us to take notice. Taking a detailed careful history is important as there are no blood tests or imaging technology that can diagnose or rule out mechanical back pain, the kind which is most common. In my research, study and experience most so- called mechanical ‘back pain’ is coming from the sacroiliac joints in the buttocks.
The body is not unlike a sailing boat, the most important part being the hull which is the watertight part of the boat. This holds or carries the sail. Similarly, in the human body, the buttock is the hull which carries the back and the weight is then transmitted down the legs to the ground. Australia lost the America Cup because the boat’s hull sank beneath the waters off Fremantle. So the hull, the buttock is the trouble spot. Thus it is important to know the nature of the pain and to determine the site of the pain. The correct diagnosis leads to the right outcome.
But in medicine there is also the equally important pastoral component.
This is what God did: gave me the compassion and energy to pastor Sarah.
A few days later following the first treatment she returned with her husband wearing a beautiful smile and having an entirely different countenance. She reported that her pain level has halved. She relates she not only derived physical pain relief but confided that she will take on board what I shared with her about reactivating her love for Jesus. She declared she is willing and ready to come back to God.
I encouraged her to listen to ‘Moody Radio‘. She was delighted at the suggestion as it helps her connect back to her home. Not only will it help to re-ignite her faith but also reduce her ‘separation anxiety’ from home and the accompanying crippling depression that goes with chronic pain.
Very often the key to healing the whole person is dealing with all three parts – body (physical), soul (emotions, mind, will) and spirit (connect with God).
I’ve now seen her on 3 occasions, the last 2 accompanied by her busy hubby who now feels compelled to accompany her and learn as much as he can before they return to the States. I am glad that he has his former Sarah back.