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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Praying to God while playing Doctor on a Bloody Knight in Cambodia
By Jesus Puppy


Praying to God while playing Doctor on a Bloody Knight in Cambodia

As darkness set in I had little hope of the man making it through the night. Though he gained consciousness for a time, the loss of blood made him delirious. Waiting those long hours in the black jungle, all I could do was pray.


It was to be a simple trip taking medical supply to villages in the hill country. Our group -- run by an ex-military Captain turned missionary, and 14 other men -- had left base camp near Kok-Lak-Nai, headed north into the Annam Highlands of northeast Cambodia. We just entered Virachey Province when the shelling started. In an area that seemed to be in the middle of a civil war, it did not take long before we were off the road, running for our lives. Not even a day and we had already lost our trucks.

When the group broke apart, taking shelter where we could, five of us tried to stay together, heading south to find the stream we had followed all morning. In less than an hour my group was cut down to three, and one had a wounded leg.

Still no sight of the stream, I began to think we were headed in the wrong direction entirely. As I came around a tree, keeping an eye on my point-man, I was partially protected when a mine went off, only receiving a small cut to my leg-- the man I carried was not so lucky.


When the silence settled in around us, I rose slowly to my feet. The man in front was no more than torn scraps littering the side of the hill. The one beside me was little better, his chest cut open by shrapnel from the blast. Shaken as I was, I knew he would not make it without medical help-- and fast.

Cutting open his shirt, I felt relieved to see it had not hit his heart directly. Though the damage was massive, he still lived. I dug through the packs to look for anything I might use as a bandage and I found a medical bag, complete with gauze pads, tape, and even a small surgical kit. Knowing he would not live long without help, I set to work cleaning up what I could. The little I knew of first-aid was truly stretched to the limit.

Dressing the wound, I felt pieces of metal, and carefully tried to remove the ones I found. The sight and smell of blood made me nauseous, more so when a severed vein began to flow freely as the scrap was removed.

I tried to stop the bleeding enough to stitch the vein closed, and though it slowed, I was still afraid I had just killed the man. I gave him a pre-measured shot of morphine for pain, and one that said penicillin for infection, then cleaned up what I could and simply bandaged the rest. Not knowing how much damage was caused, I didn’t dare move him, yet couldn’t leave him alone, even to find help.

We sat in the dark for what I thought was the inevitable. Shaking hands held his chest together as I began to pray even more-- seeking God's healing for the man, and forgiveness in my self for not being able to save him. There was nothing else I could do but wait and remain hopeful in the blessings of a merciful God.

As the sky became lighter with the dawn, my fears increased as well – through the night the man's moans grew quiet. I had known it was only a matter of time, but had remained with him nonetheless. Finding him still breathing was a true miracle. When his eyes opened, though still filled with pain, he could at least look at me.

Surviving the night was a blessing, but we couldn’t stay where we were. He needed help. Wrapped in clean bandages and tied as tight as I dared, I chanced leaving him to take a look around. I knew if I found the stream we would be able to get back to the base camp, or possibly find one of the other groups.

Fearful of more mines, I moved about slowly, headed downhill. In the distance I could make out running water, but closer still I heard movements in the trees. For what seemed hours I stood there straining to hear the slightest sound. When a voice called out, my heart almost stopped. As I realized it was English, I shouted for joy, thanking God for His blessing.

Note:: Giving names to those lost would have caused more pain. The man I helped was the group's doctor, and though he lived I was never sure if my doctoring helped. He died three years later from chest problems brought on by a collapsed lung. :(

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This article has been read 1058 times
Member Comments
Member Date
cindy yarger11/09/06
Good depiction of your struggle with what to do both emotionally and physically. I would have liked the story to go on....
Birdie Courtright11/09/06
Wow...what a story, what a testimony. Thank you for sharing from your life. This is gripping testimony of God's protection and the power of prayer.
Joanne Sher 11/11/06
Wow. This is even better the second time through! Your detail is so vivid - I can tell this true-to-life experience is permanently etched in your memory. Thank you for sharing this with us. I also would love to read more.
Jan Ackerson 11/12/06
Love the title, but did you mean "Night" instead of "Knight?"

Awesome story-telling, it felt very immediate and urgent. I felt breathless reading this.

I like the author's note at the end--it adds poignancy--but I don't know if you need the frowny face, which has a more flippant tone than the note.

One of your better pieces.
Ruth Neilson11/12/06
very realistic. Well done. I agree with the frowning face at the end though. It ruins the effect of the piece.
william price11/12/06
Very good story. The title threw me some though. I read it at first, twice, looking for a possible Cambodian Chess connection, because I know they play chess a lil different there. But, I couldn't find it. Very moving and well paced story though. I enjoyed it. God bless.
Betty Castleberry11/12/06
Lots of impact here. This piece held my attention. Thanks for sharing it.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/12/06
Your story flowed well, was interesting, and vivid. I think the title is the only thing I would suggest changing. Possibly just "A Bloody Night in Cambodia". The word "playing" in your title detracts from the overall serious nature of the piece, in my humble opinion. Otherwise, a well-written story.
Linda Watson Owen11/12/06
I was glued to this story. You took me through an experience that few will ever know first hand. I agree, you've written a riveting story. Also, you should feel no guilt. You gave the doctor extra years of life.
dub W11/13/06
Absolutely glued to this story for many reasons - very well composed. Thank you. Bloody (K)night?
Marilyn Schnepp 11/14/06
Heroes are often humble - and this proves that statement. Well done in person, and also in writing the incident. God Bless.
Donna Haug11/15/06
Pup, you showed your agony so powerfully. You were very brave and did what you could. You stayed with him and brought him the help you couldn't. I can't imagine living with those vivid memories of war. Thank you for opening my eyes to the real thing.
Sue Dent11/15/06
Well, Pup, thank-you for stating this was a true account. Now at least I won't embarass myself by attempting to point out that no one could perform all these medical procedures the way YOU did!!!! Goodness! An excellent writer, a seat of the pants doctor, and an unbelievable assest to my reading. What a lot of true accounts we have this week. Excellent Pup! Gosh, have another peanut!
Sally Hanan11/15/06
Well done Pup. Did you know that the monks in Vietnam prayed and cursed every man that set foot on their soil to forever know pain and shame and that they would be cursed as wanderers? I talked with a man who was finally prayed over to get rid of the curses and it made a huge difference to his life.
Val Clark11/16/06
Wow, what a compelling story. Thank you for going outside you comfort zone so that we could read it. yeggy
Julianne Jones11/17/06
Pup, I loved this when I first read it but wondered if it was true. To learn that it is adds even more poignancy to the story. Great writing and I'm glad you found the courage to share it.
BTW, I loved the title and its ambiguity. I felt it fitted the story well. Jules