“Just Passing Through” By Chad Robert Parker

When you are in a third world country one of the last places you want to have to visit is the hospital. I served a two year proselyting mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines in 1997-1999. We went out two by two, as a good safety measure for one, and we were among the native peoples everyday, but we had to take some other extra precautions to keep from getting sick, for example.

The locals referred to it as a weak American stomach, but we boiled water every night to be sure we killed off bacteria. Then we placed it in our fridge to be nice and cold in the morning. One day my companion was doing us a service by chipping off a thick wall of ice in our freezer with a knife, only he punctured the wall and the Freon came spilling out. We constantly joked with the locals that there were only two seasons in the Philippines, hot and hotter, but this was an El Ninyo season so it was a particularly bad heat wave that brought on drought conditions.

When we learned it would be a week or more until our freezer and refrigerator were fixed we opted to buy cold 1 liter sodas everyday from the vendor that lived below us. They didn’t have much bottled water available at the time, but I elected for that when they had it. One morning my companion could not move from his bed. He was holding his stomach and groaning. He barely wanted to talk. I took him to the emergency room. He had thought he would never beg to visit the hospital, but this was an exception.

They discovered that he had a kidney infection from our soda drinking. Lucky for him they gave him medicine and sent us packing. He got off easy as it was only an infection not yet a kidney stone, and we didn’t even have to stay the night. He thought I got off too easy, so I always teased him that I didn’t bust the fridge.

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