Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nursing...a universal profession?

Differences of working on a hospital ship in a 3rd world country...

- We recycle and sterilize everything! Those little plastic medicine cups we would throw away after putting 2 pills in it...yeah we sterilize those. It's funny how in 2 short weeks I've changed from being weirded out by sterilizing those, to now wondering if there is anything else we can sterilize and re-use!

- 8 hour shifts. I never thought I would get used to working any less than 12 hours and 4 days off a week, but here I am loving 8 hours. The time goes by so fast! Especially day shift; you eat lunch and then its practically time to go!

- Spiritual life. It's amazing that we get to pray together for our patients, and fellow nurses before and after each shift. Often we sing worship songs, and the patient's will sing along, too! After every morning shift, the day nurse takes the patients up to deck 7 and some volunteers have games and worship music. There is nothing like ending your day worshipping the Lord with your patients! Praying with your patient before they go into surgery.

- Having babies around. I took care of my first peds patient my very first day of work here. It was awesome and scary all at the same time. Patient's are allowed one caretaker to stay with them throughout their hospital stay, and sometimes that means that the patient might be a Mom and her "caretaker" is her 6 month old baby that we get to play with all day! That has been one of my favorite things here, and the Moms don't mind you taking their baby, strapping it to your back, and walking around all day!

- Caretakers sleeping under the bed. You read that right. Forget about the fold up cots, our family members sleep on a mattress under the bed! It's amazing that they don't even second guess sleeping on the floor, its actually more unusual to sleep on a bed!

- Having to explain how to use a toilet

- All the patients in one room, no curtains, no doors.

- No bedside tables, IV poles, or monitors

- Patients helping other patients

- Watching what you throw in the trash. Anything can be resold i.e. empty cans of Ensure so we have to take off the labels, or cut our IV tubing so it cannot be reused.

- Changing linens three days a week

- Walking your patients to the OR

- Taking 1 minute to get to work

- Living a few doors down from your patients

- Being a walking blood bank. I was notified tonight that there is a patient with my blood type having surgery tomorrow. Because there is no way to store blood, if they need blood for the patient they will call me and I'll donate my blood, walk it to the OR and administer it right then and there!

Hope this gives you a little insight into my world, and helps you think about yours a little differently! Good night!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Screening day....a day of hope for many

Screening day was last week...I can't believe so much time has passed and I feel that I blinked and now its a week and half later. Forgive the delay, I wanted to show pictures so that you can see with your own eyes what many experienced that day. I'm afraid my words won't do it justice.

We left VERY early on Wednesday...4:30am to be exact! The sun wasn't even close to coming out. As we rode along the streets in our Land Rover caravan something struck me. There were many shop owners, and their families sleeping outside, on the ground, with no blanket, and no pillow. It hit me as I was thinking about how poorly I slept the night before because it was loud, or my roommates woke me up, or because I was cold (the AC is on full blast in the ship!). Then I stopped, and I saw the people I came to serve sleeping on the ground. It's funny how that happens, you think you've come to help them, but they in turn have helped me so much more. I came here to let go of my comfort and yet I find myself still clinging on. We arrived to a short line, only 130 people! We prayed that only the people we would be able to help come, but 130 was kind of cutting it short! As the day wore on more people eventually came. My job for the day was to take medical histories from patients that were screened for potential surgery. Before they came to me they waited in long lines, some alone, some with their families in tow. For many it was their last hope, last chance to be "normal" again. For some it was life or death. For others it was an answer to prayer.

This isn't going to be pretty; for a lot of us it was an emotionally draining day, and without the love, hope, and promises of Jesus it would have been unbearable. Many came who we had to turn away. Do you know how it feels to squash someone's dreams over and over and over? The escorts (God bless them) had to take each and every "no" across a long field, usually in utter silence. But they did not walk away without comfort, and love; they were prayed with, and reassured of the love God has for them. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Some were crushed, but many were thankful that we came to help their people! It was amazing and humbling to see. They are truly living the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself." I can say that I would not have that response if presented with the same situation.

Okay, enough with the depressing and on to the hopeful! God did AMAZING things at the screening. The one thing that hit me most that day was the overwhelming sense of peace. In a situation were there are many people gathered in a small area, and desperation is certain, it could have been chaos. It wasn't. It was absolutely calm. We were able to see almost half of the people that were in line, and have started surgeries this week! The ward is full of excitement and energy as our first patients come out of the Operating Room new people. I will leave you with some pictures from screening day...ENJOY.

single file amazingness

precious kids

no words necessary


History taking area...I'm way in the back

Goiters were such a huge's as simple as salt

More cute babies!!!

(the one picture of me at screening day...haha I look so pensive)

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God"