Sometimes things happen that we can’t fully explain!
That’s the point of an excellent recent commentary by Ray Waddle, one of the sharpest religion commentators in secular media today: In keeping with the season, Waddle is referencing the inexplicable, world-changing events of the Passover and Easter narratives. But a recent episode at Siloam highlighted this point as well.
The following anecdote about a seemingly inexplicable healing of a patient is shared by retired local endocrinologist, Vanderbilt faculty member and regular Siloam volunteer, Dr. Alan Graber. Whatever happens with this patient–and whatever you make of his story–it undoubtedly represents a fascinating interplay of faith, health, and culture!
Dr. Graber writes:
Today I witnessed a miraculous event.
One of my patients at the Siloam clinic this morning was a young Egyptian Coptic Christian man. The Coptic Christians are a minority in Egypt and are persecuted there. From what I understand, their religion is more similar to the Eastern Orthodox than to Roman Catholicism. Many live in a tight community in Nashville, they are an educated, hard-working group, and many who are uninsured receive their health care at Siloam.
My patient had the abrupt onset of severe, symptomatic diabetes last summer, and rapidly lost about 30 pounds. He was hospitalized at Vanderbilt, and when discharged he was taking 3 injections of insulin daily. I first saw him at Siloam in October. He had stopped his insulin and was doing fine without it. In fact, his blood sugar was normal. A few weeks later he stopped his pills for both diabetes and hypertension, and both of those conditions have remained normal for the past 3 months. He feels and looks fine.
Today he asked me if I had time to hear what happened to him. When I said I was definitely interested, he told me. After he left Vanderbilt Hospital but before he first saw me, he had a dream about Baba Kyrillos. Kyrillos is apparently a frequent name among his people, in fact, his son is named Kyrillos.
Baba Kyrillos was the Pope and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. His real name was Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. He died about fifty years ago. Countless miracles were felt to have occurred both during and after his lifetime, attributed to his intercessions. My patient’s dream of Pope Kyrillos was that Kyrillos pinched his pancreas and told him that his diabetes would be cured when he awakened. Sure enough, it was. The next day he stopped his insulin shots without ill effects. He did not mention the dream to me at our first visit. He believes fervently that he has been cured.
Sometimes children who develop severe diabetes develop a spontaneous remission and are able to stop taking insulin for a few months. Medical people call this a “honeymoon” because, like all honeymoons, it doesn’t last long, and the diabetes always recurs. During the honeymoon period the islet cells in the pancreas recover the ability to secrete insulin temporarily. I have seen thousands of adult patients with diabetes over the past 52 years and have never witnessed or heard of a honeymoon or a remission like this. I told the Evangelist chief doctor and chaplain at Siloam about this, and they smiled knowingly, as though they weren’t surprised at all. We’ll see what happens…!