I would like to share a special God sighting from our trip to the Dominican Republic. On Wednesday morning, Dr. Eugene Wang saw a 14-year-old girl that complained of recurring headaches. After she left, that visit prompted him to show me a catheter that he brought in his bag that can be used for headaches, often migraine headaches. It was an SPG catheter (sphenopalatine ganglion catheter) that could be non-invasively inserted through the nose into the back of the nasal cavity so that an anesthetic (lidocaine) could be injected to block the ganglion, and hence relieve pain. He thought about it for this girl, but she was alone without a parent present, and it wasn’t really sure how receptive she would be to having a 4-inch catheter placed into her nose. I had never heard of this catheter, and didn’t know this treatment existed before he showed me. Previous to these catheters becoming available, patients would often have to have a long needle inserted through the cheek with x-ray to visualize where the needle tip was being placed – much more invasive than this catheter.
That same afternoon, my wife, daughter and I went as a family on home visits with a team. On our second visit, we saw a gentleman who was sitting on the porch, grimacing, holding the right side of his head. His caretaker (sister-in-law) told us he had terrible pain in the side of his face. She said it had been for 2 years, since the removal of his last upper teeth on that side, after which he developed an infection, which was treated. But the pain never really subsided. The dentist that was with us (Dr. Sally Darling) inspected his edentulous mouth, and assured us that the pain he was having was not coming from his mouth. We briefly discussed sinusitis and other causes of the pain he was describing, while he would look up and grimace, rubbing his head. Then it occurred to me that I knew what could help him – the catheter that Dr. Wang showed me. I explained that if he could come to the clinic, there was a doctor there that could help him with his pain. He and his caregiver said he couldn’t get there; it was too far to walk. We gave him a new wheelchair we had brought along, so his family could bring him the next morning.
He showed up to the clinic first thing in the morning. Dr. Wang brought his catheter and medication down to see him, and after little discussion, treated him. Within 10 minutes, the man was smiling. We hadn’t seen him smile anytime before this. He had tears in his eyes – Dr. Wang did explain that tears are a common side effect of the treatment, but to me it was much more than that. He was happy the pain had subsided. Dr. Wang told him that if he was the only patient he saw on this trip, the whole trip was worth it.
This was truly a God sighting. I didn’t even know this catheter existed until that morning. And if we hadn’t gone on that particular visit, no one (other than Dr. Wang) would have known that this man could be helped. Everything fell into place, just as God planned. It’s more than coincidence. It was a powerful experience for me, and I am truly grateful to have been part of it.

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