Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strong Woman...

This was my third week in eye surgery working on cataracts, pterygium, and strabismus. I remember back at home how against I was learning eye surgery and wanted to be in my comfort zone of general and plastics. Well, I'm here for many reasons and I know one is to be challenged... to be taken out of my comfort of OR knowledge and skills and have to rely on God for help. I am learning so much everyday here! I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Glenn, Dr. Wendy, and Dr. Carlos caring for about 30 patients everyday that come to the ship for eye surgery. Such a small deformity of the eye and short procedure can make such a huge difference in these patients' lives. 
On Friday, I was in General surgery with Dr. Jose doing pediatrics cases all day. My good friend Ginger circulated and I scrubbed passing instruments for 9 surgeries! I know its not about the numbers, but what a day! Children of all ages came in for hernias, cyst, and tumor removals. After a long day, Dr. Jose told me I was a "strong woman" for working with him all day and late on a Friday evening to finish. I was flattered by the compliment, but was reminded of the familiar verse-
"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Paul writes this knowing he can be content in any situation because of God's strength in him. I have to remind myself of this daily. Whatever surgery or patient I might face, I know God will help me accomplish what He has called me to do here in Benin. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

On Friday night I had my first big send-off for friends leaving the Africa Mercy. Most of them just here for two weeks working in the OR, but still you come close to the ones you serve with on the ship. As well as, living and working together 24/7, you become family to each other. We eat meals together, have birthday parties for each other, church & Bible study, and taking weekend road trips. Saying good-bye is always difficult, but as cheesy as it sounds- there are no good-byes in Christ. Most people come back for multiple visits and others this may be their only and final time on the ship. I look forward to reunions of friends I have made on the ship as we plan on visiting each other in our home countries. I thank God for the friends He has given me on the ship that will become my family for the year. I have constant reminders of my friends and family back at home so please know you never forgotten! I pray for daily and thank God for each of you in my life. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hu nukun

I just signed up for learning French on Rosetta Stone, but just by interacting with translators and my patients I have learned a lot of conversation and the common dialect- Fon. I had a wonderful week in the two of our operating rooms designated for eye surgery working with Dr. Glenn Strauss from Tyler, Texas. The original plan was for me to be in general surgery, but I don't mind learning new things and the change of scenery.  Dr. Glenn can do cataracts in a couple of minutes so we have four patients ready for him at all times. An important phrase we have learned is "hu nukun" which means "open your eye." It has been amazing week realizing the difference these surgeries will do for our patients- from age 4 to 84! This morning, I was able to visit the post-op clinic where the eye patches come off the day after surgery. Things are still a little blurry, but in a couple weeks there lives will be completely different! I could not get Amazing Grace out of my head all week, but I don't mind- because it applies not only to my patients, but to me!

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Life onboard...

Life onboard the Africa Mercy has started become routine for me as I finished out the second week of surgery. Funny how it sounds-we still have to be flexible with the routine changing around us because we are in Africa. It reminds me of a post a couple weeks ago about praying for flexibility, patience, and strength for my time in Africa- look for it if you're wondering what to pray about. Thank you!- I cherish your prayers!
I'm getting used to "my" OR since I will be in General surgery for about a month helping short-terms volunteers rotate through each speciality. What a joy it is to see the people I took health histories at screening- coming to the hospital ship for care! General surgery covers anything that "bulges" as one of our surgeon commented on our care of hernias, goiters (thyroids), and lipomas. These are just not simple surgeries here in Africa like in the states. I pray- I know we are changing our patients lives in ways we can never imagine. These masses we remove off their bodies is also removing a heavy burden or curse from their village due to their health ailment. I pray for each patient that the nurses and doctors can take care of them, but that the Lord may be their ultimate Healer in life. 


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not the opinion of AWC/Mercy Ships.