When the Doctor Says ‘It’s Too Late’.
If there’s anything that ignites the Ronda Rousey in me, it’s when I’m told, It’s Too Late.
One evening in the remote Guatemalan village, I’d neglected to take a water bottle along to brush my teeth. It was dark, I was tired. With a weary shoulder shrug, I fired up a silent ‘what the heck’ and dipped my toothbrush in the small plastic bowl of water that sat on a wooden bench outside our sleeping quarters.
The somewhat frayed bristles of my travel toothbrush made contact with, maybe, three or four molecules of H2O tops. Who knew that particular bowl of water hadn’t been boiled free from potential contaminants?
Approaching the other side of the bench, with the kindest of eyes, the team doc glanced at the bowl, then at me. And quickly assessed the situation.
“Did you use that water?”
Hidden in the darkness of a dusky evening, I returned a sheepish grin, “Just a bit”
“Well, it’s too late now,” he said before a gentle caution, “It’s really best to avoid using any of that water.”
Too late now.
While lying awake in my sleeping bag that same evening, tracing the overhead rafters with my eyes while being serenaded endlessly from the outside by a pack of barking dogs and a few way-too-enthusiastic roosters, I replayed the tape over and over and over.
Each run through sounded more like a death sentence:
“It’s too late…It’s too late…It’s too late…It’s too late…”
Turns out, God spared me from a gastrointestinal illness. Because sometimes, despite my poor judgment, when the human doc has pronounced ‘It’s too late’, I’m happy to report that he or she may be wrong.
When I worked as a dietitian for a world renown cancer institution in Houston, Texas, there were several instances when the attending doc had nothing hopeful to say about the prognosis of a patient assigned to my nutritional care. Often they were right. But it gave me great joy to discover that some of these patients for whom it was too late did, in fact, live much longer than predicted. Some even survived the disease.
Really? Yes, really.
Because the doctor hadn’t said it was too late. That is, the Doctor, the almighty great Physician. God, Himself, the giver and sustainer of life. The most exalted grand Poo-Bah of all poo-bahs.
A dear friend of mine just lost her father to cancer. Despite pro-active, aggressive means to treat him and many equally aggressive prayers that God would bring physical healing, his soul passed on to its eternal destiny. For this kind man, it was, indeed, too late.
Ultimately, God will answer according to His will and the earthly life of one I care about will face his divinely appointed end. Even though it might be much too soon for my comfort.
Sometimes God allows medical docs to be on His same page. But regardless, it’s too late when God says it’s too late (especially since SOME people haven’t the patience to use filtered water on their toothbrush when in a poverty-ravaged Guatemalan village 🙁 )