Sunday, January 4, 2009

Diagnosis: Sanguma man did it

Scott helped me reduce a guy's broken radius, and then while I was casting him in the ortho room and I asked how he broke his arm. (some folks may get this info beforehand) He should be under Ketamine at this point, but it didn't quite have the same effect that it does on others, so he was definitely with it as we talked. He preceded to tell me that a Sanguma man threw a buai skin on his arm and it broke. He said he was trying to kill him, but was fortunate and it just broke his arm. This led me to have many questions, some of which I voiced, most of which I didn't.
The patient, his wasman (I am assuming it was his wife), and my nursing student were all in agreement that this man had broken his arm when the buai skin hit it. I asked who these men are, and why they do this. The Sanguma men are men who are possessed by evil spirits. They, apparently, eat the flesh of the dead and get filled with their spirits. Apparently, this is passed on within a family from one generation to the next. They have the ability to put spells on folks, to break arms, kill people and more.
I have to say I was quite skeptical as I was hearing these answers. Now I believe there are evil spirits and demons and such. Eph 6:12-13a says "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark work and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God . . ." The Bible is full of stories of folks who are possessed and get healed, I just can't say I know what this looks like today.
Early that next morning, 430, I was in the ER seeing a patient, a teenage girl, who the family believes a spirit had picked her up and threw her. When I asked the family what they knew, they didn't know anything, they didn't see anything, they weren't there. All they knew was at 400 that morning, she wasn't acting correctly, she was like unconscious or something, but they tell me this story of a spirit throwing her as absolute truth until I ask more details. She wasn't unconscious in the ER, but was able to talk and answer questions just fine. So what is my diagnosis? Sanguma man did it?
I asked one of the OT crew, who has been here for years and is very active in the church, what she thought about the Sanguma man throwing the buai skin and breaking an arm. She didn't believe it and started laughing. She said he was probably drunk or something. She cautioned me not to doubt the evil spirits, but she did not believe at all that it caused this broken bone. When I asked her more about the Sanguma men, she said no one knows because they do everything in secret. I said that the others told me they eat dead people, she said that people make stuff up and it gets passed on, but no one knows for sure.
So I don't know if I will ever know anything for real about the Sanguma men, other than they exist. I am thankful that we have the armor of God to protect us, and that Jesus has already won the battle.