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.