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Pakistan Easter 2013
I travelled to Pakistan on Sunday 10th March arriving in Sialkot at 9.00 pm on Monday 11th and was met by Catherine Nicol. I had gone to be with her on 23rd when she was due to receive the Tamgha-i- Qaid-i-Azam. Week one was uneventful and I settled in to Catherine’s routine with the girls in school; it was the time of government 9th class and 10th class exams – external exams with girls going by transport to various locations. We also purchased fabric for her to be made into a shalwar chemise for the big ceremony. On Sunday 17th I spoke in Hunter Memorial Church to tell of the Award which Catherine had modestly not mentioned to anyone.
On Wed 21st March we managed to find out that the presentation would be in Lahore (not Islamabad as we has imagined). That evening walking to church for a service at 5.00pm Catherine fell and fractured her femur. The emergency services attended quite promptly and Catherine was taken to Memorial Christian Hospital where she was X-rayed. It was a very clear film with a very obvious fracture which the surgeon there said he was unable to deal with. She had also sustained a cut to her head and this was stitched while it was decided the best surgeon was Dr Nisar Chowdry who had his own hospital on Commissioner Road. Catherine was transferred there and it was agreed he would operate the next day after she had had some tests – at 75 she was considered ‘old’ by Pakistani standards. She had it pinned and plated on Thu 22nd evening under a spinal anaesthetic. Unlike UK operation had to be paid for in advance and I am very grateful that Mr Indryas Gill did that immediately, his wife who is a retired Nursing Sister with many contacts was there and stayed overnight with Catherine in hospital for several nights which we greatly appreciated. Not only had money to be paid but blood had to be ‘banked’; the community was asked who had same blood group and one Christian volunteered and also a Medical Rep who happened to be delivering to a local pharmacy offered to donate when he heard he had the same blood group. In Pakistan relatives have to provide food for the patient and anyone staying with them so there was shuttle of food from Barahpatthar to the hospital for nearly two weeks.
After the weekend Catherine was transferred to the Christian Hospital of Dr Azeem which is at the beginning of the Cantonment (where Lillie’s Kothi was). He offered her accommodation there free of charge and it was hoped it would help control visiting. (She must have had hundreds of visitors most of whom prayed with her). She was the only patient in the ward most of the time. Transfer could only take place after the bill to Nisar Chowdry Clinic was paid in full which we managed with some money of Catherine’s and Mr Gill. After transfer Miss Rebecca one of the teachers slept overnight in the hospital with Catherine.
Visitors, I could not possibly count the number of people visited Catherine. They came in droves to pray, to offer gifts of fruit, food, milk, flowers and even money. Much of the fruit was taken back to Barahpatthar and shared with girls in boarding. During all this Catherine continued to smile, to be concerned for others to bless all who came. She never complained.
I had put out some info by email and on Facebook and greetings and messages of prayers and concern came from all around the world. Catherine while in hospital was asked if she would be organising the usual 500 hard boiled eggs for Hunter Memorial Church for after the 4.00am Easter service and she said ‘Of course’. I shared in organising this – the coloured eggs were collected by the elders at about 3.00am. I walked with the girls to the service at 4.00 am and by the time we arrived the church was quite full. About 500 attended that service at which Holy Communion was celebrated and about 700 attended the 11.00 am service.
Catherine was allowed home for Easter Day and because of poor electricity supply it was agreed she could stay overnight. By then we had put her bed up on bricks to raise it. It seems that she will probably be non weight bearing on left leg for several weeks, followed by partial weight bearing. Before she got home I organised a wheel chair, commode and walker. On Easter evening we had a meal with the hostel girls in Scott Hall (only 9th and 10th Class girls were there as the rest were on holiday) we were about 100 and it was a meal of pilau rice bought in. There was also cake or sweets from the gifts Catherine had received.
I was delighted Catherine could come home again on 2nd so that she could try all equipment before I left. On the 2nd the stitches were removed and the wound had healed well, catheter was also removed, I was glad this was done before I left.
I was sorry to leave so soon but have other commitments, I am grateful that Mr and Mrs Gill continue to be attentive and that Miss Rebecca will continue caring. Zaffar the cook will try his best to provide a nutritious diet (probably better than NHS Hospital food).
We can only hope Catherine will take and get some time for recovery and that when allowed be able to walk as well as before.
For all the care love and prayers she has rece4ived, thanks be to God.
Prestigious Pakistani Award given to Scot
Catherine Nicol, who has been working as a Mission partner in Pakistan since 1961 has received an award from the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam, or Medal of the Great Leader, is a civil award conferred by the Government of Pakistan on those who have attained academic distinction in the fields of science, art, literature, or distinction in the fields of sports and nursing; or for rendering dedicated services with selfless devotion in human rights and public service.
Catherine has been working in various roles in the education and nurture of Christian girls and young women. The award will be presented this Saturday 23rd March.
SOURCE: World Mission Council, The Church of Scotland
Catherine Nicol - Award