Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Barbie, Part 3

The next morning when Barbie knew her father had gone out on his fishing boat, she crept home to bed. Even under her blankets, she couldn't get warm. She shivered and shivered. Then she began to sweat and threw off all her covers. All day she shivered and sweat, shivered and sweat in alternating waves. That night, she began to cough--deep, harsh coughs that shook her to her core. Her mother brought her fish broth, but the smell nauseated her.

Finally, after about a week, the worst of the illness seemed over, but Barbie felt weak. Her brown cheeks were pale. Her eyes had lost their usual sparkle. When she tried to return to school, even the short walk up the path exhausted her. And her coughing continued.

After several months, she still had not improved. Her parents arranged to take her to the doctor in Kodiak. After examining her, he told her parents that she had tuberculosis again, this time in her lungs. She was again sent to the sanitarium at Mt. Edgecumbe. There, after further examination, the doctors found that her lungs were so destroyed by the tuberculosis that she could not get well. They decided they could do nothing for her and would send her home to die.

In the meantime, the Cousarts learned of Barbie's condition. Knowing that God could heal her, they sent prayer requests to Christians they knew all across America. Before long, they heard that the doctors had changed their minds. Instead of sending her home to die, they would try a new drug on her--streptomycin. The results were miraculous. Within six months, Barbie was well enough to leave the hospital. (Streptomycin is still used today to treat tuberculosis, a once incurable disease.) The doctors, however, fearing she would only get tuberculosis again, said Barbie could not go home to Old Harbor.

The Cousarts were no longer operating the Bethel Beach Children's Home, which had been closed. They now owned they own home, where they lived with their three children. The Alaska Native Service social worker, who knew of the Cousarts' interest in Barbie, called to ask them if they would take Barbie into their home as a foster child. Even though friends and doctors warned them that their children could catch tuberculosis from Barbie, the Cousarts felt it was God's plan that she come to live with them.

What a joyful reunion when Barbie arrived at the Cousarts! Now she could go to Sunday school every Sunday without fear of receiving a beating! Barbie lived with us until she graduated from high school ten years later. She became one of the family--loved and accepted as a daughter and sister by all of us.

And none of us children ever contracted tuberculosis or even have a positive TB test to this day!

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