Monday, 22 August 2011

Why am I here?

WHAT  am I DOING here?
That's an honest question, one that comes to mind from time to time.
It's not... it's not exactly what I expected.
But then,
nothing ever is...
I'm not sure what I expected.
Perhaps I thought I would really FEEL like I'm making a difference?
Perhaps I thought I would be working with the Max/Fax or plastics patients, where the difference is soooo in-your-face obvious.
Perhaps I thought time off would include a lot more opportunities, social or ministries.
Maybe I'm the problem.
My expectations.
My choices.
I do get out and do things once in a while.
But as with any job, sometimes you're just tired, lazy, choose to be anti-social or simply to do whatever uses the least energy.  Because, that's just it.  It's a job.  It's a very unique job, volunteering on a hospital ship in West Africa.  But in the end, it is a job, it FEELS like a job, it tires you out like a job.
And it comes down to choices.  I can choose to look at the fact that I'm on the hernia ward, where I dealing with a lot of "simple" surgical patients who come and go so fast (because of swift recoveries) that you barely get to know them and they're gone.  They are also some of the patients that we rarely take photos of.  They don't have the kind of problems that we plaster all over brochures and publications to send home.  They aren't (usually) the cute kids or suffering women.
They are the men.  The breadwinners.  The warriors (literally had one on the ward the other day, arms covered in victory slashes).  These are the ones who are supposed to be the strong ones, but instead they have hernias that slowly make their lives more and more uncomfortable.  Mostly they can hide it, but it's not easy, and the truth is, it can be fatal if left too long.
So I can choose to see the positives.
I am a part of an organization where lives are changed daily.
I am taking care of people who desperately need help.
I work with people from many different countries, and everyone is sooo friendly and helpful.
It takes me all of 2 minutes to get to work... if I'm on the opposite end of the ship.
My FRIENDS!  I have friends on this ship!! (and they like me!)
There are no operations that are less special... just less recognized.  They're all important.
I can step off the ship and find myself... in Sierra Leone!
And if I feel like going for a short walk, I can find myself at the hope center, where there's cute kids who've had surgery or are waiting for their turns, and I can spend some time with them... and remind myself just why I'm here...

(Boy on the left, had surgery on his legs.  Baby on the right, waiting to get "fat" enough to have his bilateral cleft lip/palate repaired.)


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

Wow, think of how many lives you are changing by helping someone with a hernia.... that man goes home, can work, and support his entire family! It might not be the glamorous part of volunteering, it is still damn important. You are making a difference!! Feel good about what you are doing and make the most of your time there- you know it will go by way too quickly!


Anonymous said...

Every country and all people need a caring loving hand.From a scrapped knee to open heart surgery reassurence is the same.You are packing up expierence Heather my dear and one day you will find your passion in the nursing field and you will wallow in it. I just do shave preps for hernias and I fell proud to know when the Doc goes to cut in he is glad that I was on that day and did a good shave prep. So cheers to the hernia ward on your ship. XOXO Auntie S