A new season has begun. Tomorrow morning, for the first time in months, I will wake up early and put on scrubs to start my day as a nurse. A real nurse, on the ward. Well, I suppose I'll actually be a team leader, which is kind of a glorified charge nurse. The point is... THE PATIENTS ARE HERE!!!! The first few patients were admitted this afternoon, all onto one ward. They ate their first meal onboard, got all kinds of teaching, and will have their surgeries in the morning. Tomorrow will be special, as the OR's kick back into gear, working as they were meant to. Making physical changes.
But in many ways, today was special too. Today all the patients that we didn't have time to finish screening on Monday (MaxFacs and Plastics) arrived to the ship for their screening. The hospital hallways were lined with people of all ages and stages. Men, women, children... there were people everywhere!! And as I sat at my computer briefly in the morning, a baby's wail could be heard from the hallway... my friend turned to me with an infectious grin and said "NOW it sounds like a hospital again!" This place is not meant for silence, for echoing empty wards. It is meant to be crammed full, tripping over each other, voices raising louder and louder just to be heard. It is meant to be filled with the sound of drumbeats and dancing and songs in many languages. It is meant to be filled with those who cannot help themselves, and those who have heard God's call to reach out to the least of these. It is meant to be FILLED. And today it was. End to end. Most of them have gone now, many to return. Most of the wards are empty again. But it won't be long. Soon the hallways will echo with the sounds of patients, caregivers and staff.
Also today, before admitting our patients, we took time out to pray. We worshiped and the drums and voices were so loud I'm sure they heard us at the other end of the ship. New songs mixed with old, new staff learning all our old favorite songs, repeat staff enjoying the rhythms and actions they know so well now. And once the drummers were glistening with sweat, we slowed and moved into teaching and prayer time. Annointing oil was passed around and we spread out to annoint and pray over every bed and ward in the hospital. Because the truth of the matter is, it's not our ship, it's God's, and we need to give every place and every patient over to him. May God move in this place!