Monday, August 25, 2008

Dr. Brueck, Fort Myers Plastic surgeon in Siberia - Day 10

This is the tenth entry in Dr. Brueck's diary about his medical mission to Siberia.

July 6th 2008

We got up early and as usual we went over to Wolfgang and Judit's house to have breakfast before we began our trek to Abazar. This is a church that Wolfgang and his family attend which is about 50 kilometers away.

Judit and Phil stayed behind because the van couldn’t hold all of us. The drive to Abazar is further south from Tustip towards the Mongolian border and as we drove we could see the snow covered peaks in the distance. The further south you go into Siberia the more mountainous the terrain becomes.

As we approached the town we could see the lumber mill and a small steel mill. It was a typical Siberian village, square wooden houses with blue windows and fences around them protecting the gardens.

The thing that was strange was a huge mountain of what looked like iron ore or coal and in talking to Wolfgang he said it was “radio active”. He said the government did not know what to do with it; the pile was huge and sort of rimmed around the town.

We drove past this onto the main road of the town and arrived at the church. The church was packed; it was a small church with wooden benches and a very rudimentary sound system. Before we went into the chapel it was custom that we took our shoes off and went in either with slippers or bare feet. Needless to say it was kind of hot because I was sitting next to the window and it was a very sunny day, the room rapidly became very warm.

The music came from a simple sound system and was quite good. A few introductory remarks were made and then we got up and started to sing a song. We stood for the first song and then the second song and after the seventh song I was praying for relief and finally we were able to sit down.

They also spent a few minutes recognizing our medical team and I actually got up to speak in front of the congregation, it was quite an experience and quite enjoyable.

We also saw a guest preacher that day who was a Russian pastor who was born in that area but had moved to Seattle, Washington. After the service I had a chance to talk to him and he was telling me that there is a large Russian settlement in Seattle and that he preaches in Russian to these people. In any event he said there were about 200,000 Russians that had settled in the Seattle area.

When he began to speak it was in Russian and needless to say I didn’t quite understand what was going on. The only thing I did understand was that my body was getting warmer and my forehead was sweating profusely as each minute went by. The sermon lasted 30 minutes, then 40 minutes, then an hour, then an hour and 15 minutes and when all was said and done the whole service was perhaps around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

By this time I could hardly wait to get up and get outside for some fresh air. I got up and immediately went to the back room to find my shoes and go outside. As I was sitting outside I was leaning up against an old beat up Volvo and Grisha came out and told me I shouldn’t lean up against the car because in Russia they don’t do that.

With that we started talking and then Elania who was our team leader came out and asked me if there was any way I could see a young man whose mother had gone to the service that day and I responded by telling her I was there to help and to serve and I would be more than happy to go down there.

So we got in the van, Wolfgang, Elania, the lady and I and we went to the house which was a few blocks down the road and as we walked through the wooden gate towards the house there was the usual boards on the dirt and the mud and the various assortments of excrement that were placed around the barnyard.

As we approached the house I saw this enormous padlock that was the size of a fist and as the mother approached she had this big key and unlocked it. Elania had warned me not to be overly alarmed by what I would see and I told her nothing would surprise me at this point.

As we walked through the door there was a little foyer entry way that was maybe 4 to 5 feet wide and very dark. There was a door going into the house and as we walked in, the door suddenly opened and there was this gentleman who was quite shocking to say the least, he was like a character out of a Steven King novel, and this was her son.

He had not shaved, showered or changed his clothes in over 6 months. Obviously the odor was quite obvious and he was frightening and if you had walked around the corner of a dark and deserted street you certainly would scream and run as fast as you could.

We were able to coax him outside and Elania tried to talk to him in Russian and there wasn’t much I could say in Russian so I spoke in English maybe hoping he had some hidden knowledge of English but to no avail.

We walked around the garden and he was obviously having a deep psychotic reaction. He had repetitive motions and after many minutes we were able to get him to sit down on a little stool and his mother got the clippers and we were able to shave his head and his beard. He had body lice and Elania and I were able to get his jacket off and his clothes and we then scrubbed him down and washed him.

At that point in time the mother asked what I thought and I told her he really needs to go into Abacon to see a psychiatrist and be hospitalized for a chronic psychotic reaction. Hopefully, with medications he would at least be communicative where one could perform therapy on him.

It was really sad, apparently he was fine 7 or 8 months ago and was professing his Christian faith and was happy and well adjusted, talking and mingling and then a cult member of the community got a hold of him. He was a member of a satanic cult and since then he has been reclusive and sort of possessed by the devil.

In talking to Wolfgang the issue of an exorcism was brought up as a possible way to deal with this. It certainly was sad and very bizarre and unusual but I recommended she take him to see a psychiatrist in order to receive intensive psychotherapy.

By the time we got back we cleaned up a little bit and all went down to the river to have a Russian style bar-b-q, we had a little fire on the side of the river that we built with some twigs and branches and bar-b-q’d some kabobs. The bar-b-q was nice, we had some coleslaw, cabbage salad, however I did not swim in the river, it was cold and I wasn’t quite sure how “clean” the river was.

We started to play a little badminton just hitting the shuttle back and forth and then about 8 or 8:30 the rain started to come so I got on the bike that Yudit had driven down and went back to the house where I met them.

Grisha and I then went back to our place.

Entry #11 will be offered tomorrow

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