Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mercy Ship Expedition - Three Good Stories: One Nurse's Story



My friend Marilyn is off on another 
Mercy Ship adventure in Africa. Those 
who followed her story before on the 
Africa Mercy know that Marilyn is a 
volunteer nurse on a hospital ship that 
sails the African coast in search of patients. 
She emails me and I share her post with you. 
I hope you enjoy!





"Three Good Stories"
 March 19, 2017  

Two cataract stories to warm your heart: 

Kabir: He arrived at the clinic for screening, but he couldn't walk.
Hearts sank, because patients have to walk up the gangway to get onto
the ship for surgery. But, Kabir is resourceful. As you can see from
the picture, he gets around pretty well, using flip-flops on his hands.
He had dense cataracts; he was a good candidate for surgery. And he got
good results; now he can see. 


Paola: She is a 20 year old student, but she was completely blind from
cataracts. She was one of our first patients this field service. She
had both cataracts removed, with wonderful results, so she now faces a
bright future with great joy.
 
We've been doing cataract surgery for 15-20 patients a day. I wish I
knew the deeper story of the impact the surgery has in all of their
lives and families. It would be overwhelming, I'm sure.

 

Meanwhile, there are other surgeries also happening every day around
here. One life-changing surgery is the repair of fistulas that some
women develop after a difficult delivery. The babies are usually dead
at birth, but on top of that trauma, the woman discovers that she now
leaks urine and/or feces through the vagina. This is a socially
devastating condition, and it lasts a lifetime. Some of the women we
repair have suffered for decades and have seen a dozen doctors and
clinics seeking help, spending who knows how much money, to no avail.

 

We have a Dress Ceremony to celebrate when these ladies are ready to be
discharged after surgery. We have a beautiful dress made for each of
them, sing and dance, and share their joy as they tell their stories.
Five ladies participated in today's ceremony (not the ones in the pictures, 

since there's a delay in getting photos from the communications department
to share, but it's the same scene and similar dresses.) One of  today's ladies 
had been looking for help for 34 years, another for 17 years, a third had a 
dream of being cured on a ship, so she knew to come to us when we arrived. 
All were beautiful, joyous, and ready for a new lease on life.  

Isn't this a fantastic place?

Marilyn

(Three ladies with a Mercy nurse)


Kabir


 
Paola and a Mercy nurse

Mercy Ship Expedition - First Three Days: One Nurse's Story




My friend Marilyn is off on another 
Mercy Ship adventure in Africa. Those 
who followed her story before on the 
Africa Mercy know that Marilyn is a 
volunteer nurse on a hospital ship that 
sails the African coast in search of patients. 
She emails me and I share her post with you. 
I hope you enjoy!






"First Three Days"
March 15, 2017


We have been seeing about 20 patients a day for cataract surgery. The
days tend to start with a lot of hurry-scurry as we try to get the first
lot of patients aboard and ready for surgery. Imagine being blind, most
likely old, walking up a gangway and into air conditioning, which you
may have never experienced, onto a ship, also something new, down an
elevator, another new experience, around some corners through all sorts
of sounds, and finally settled into a chair in a hot, noisy room. And
you did this without your family or familiar caregiver, holding the
shoulder of the stranger in front of you in a train of about five
patients. Then people put drops in your eyes, and eventually you face
the challenge of surgery at the hands of strangers from another land who
don't even speak your language. I think it must take a lot of courage,
and reflects the urgency of the need they feel, to brave so much.

Today, our oldest patient was 109 years old. I should fare so well at
her age! She was from the northern part of the country and spoke only
one language, her local dialect. One of our translators speaks 10
languages, but not that one. Her son came onto the ship with her, so we
could communicate in our room, but he wasn't allowed into surgery. That
was a scramble, trying to find someone, anyone, among the day crew who
could speak to her in the OR. Finally found someone. :-)

So far, I haven't done anything but work. I'm so tired by the end of
the day, I just eat supper, shower, and go to bed. But, that's what I
came for, isn't it? No complaints! The ship has a three day holiday
about every six weeks, and wouldn't you know, it's this weekend. So
surgery again tomorrow, and then three days off. I signed up for an
excursion on Saturday to a local attraction. It's a chance to see a bit
of the country. I'll probably have more to say about that next time.

I don't know what I'll do with the rest of the weekend, probably just
enjoy ship life with whomever I run into or sit with at dinner. This
is a wonderful community, full of really interesting people from all
sorts of places. Tonight I randomly sat with a couple from Australia
who, it turns out, speak fluent Swedish and have marvelous stories of
God provision for them in that country. The Swedish woman who was
sitting with us then shared the creative way God confirmed her call to
Mercy Ships nine years ago. She has been an instrumental part of the
eye program, so I'm really glad he did!

Still having a wonderful time.

Blessings, all.
Marilyn

Mercy Ship Expedition - In Benin: One Nurse's Story


(Sorry, 1st post was out of sequence....start here)

My friend Marilyn is off on another 
Mercy Ship adventure in Africa. Those 
who followed her story before on the 
Africa Mercy know that Marilyn is a 
volunteer nurse on a hospital ship that 
sails the African coast in search of patients. 
She emails me and I share her post with you. 
I hope you enjoy!



 
3/13/2017 10:22 PM
Mercy Ships, in Benin


If you get this email, it's because I thought you'd like to hear from me while I'm in Benin with Mercy Ships, and group email is the only practical way to accomplish that. So, please bear with me, or let me know if you want to opt out.

At long last, I have returned to Mercy Ships, almost two years since I left last time. It feels like home, and feels like I've been gone only for a long weekend, not two years. I am surprised and pleased to discover how many friends I have still on the ship. It has been a grand time of reunion. I am only scheduled to be working with the ophthalmic team for four weeks this time. That is going to pass so quickly. It's a good thing that I plan to return to the ship again next summer for a seven-month stay, working as a hostess. Without that, it would be painful to reawaken my love for this place only to have to leave again after four weeks.

But, I am here now. Yesterday was my first day of work in the peri-op room, caring for patients immediately before and after their cataract surgeries. This is the same job I had before, and that was a good thing, since I needed to hit the ground running. We had 20 surgical patients yesterday, plus one woman who returned with an eye infection after surgery and needed to be seen by the doctor. The doctor was training an intern, so surgeries were much slower than sometimes. We weren't done until 7:00 PM, a long day for us all, including the patients who were sitting and waiting from morning until evening for their surgeries. I think we have 22 surgeries scheduled for today, so it will probably be another long day.

Yes, I was exhausted, with sore back, legs, and feet. Yes, I was thrilled to be here doing this job. Yes, I saw God at work in the chaos, protecting our patients from the worst of our mistakes or near-mistakes. Yes, it is good to be living with a sense of purpose, partnering with God to care for a few of the world's poor in such a dramatic way. I feel truly alive when I'm here, and I'm practically
intoxicated with the joy of it all.

I'm still off schedule, waking up at 4:00 AM. But it is now nearly 6:30, and time to go to work. More another day.

Blessings,
Marilyn

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things: Breathe, Breathe!

We went biking on the Riverfront Trail for the first time in Richland the other day. Threw the bikes in the back of the pickup and off we went. The air was so fresh and exhilarating. Breathe, breathe. I just kept filling my lungs. So healing to the mind and body.

I was reminded of beautiful Couer D'Alene, Idaho riding along that gorgeous lake, which I have missed since moving here in 2014. Only this time we road along the Columbia River, also beautiful in its meandering way. We passed signs posting the visitations of Lewis and Clark who had explored the area in 1806 (?) and more signs about the Hidatsa and Shoshone Indians, and our famous claim to fame, Sacajawea. Should have had my camera. Darn!

Criminy, I've been missing this time of year more than ever. I don't know about you but winter lasted longer than usual. I'll be working on my a-z posts this weekend. More than half way through and I'm learning a lot about ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. It's amazing we even have records that far back. Even more amazing they are available online. The good side of computers. The bad side is sitting in front of this computer too long!

Have a nice weekend everyone!