A missionary named Jon Erickson recently brought a group of his patients from the Hope Clinic in Guinea to the ship to have various operations. Jon is from America originally, but has lived in Africa for many years. He's really amazing with his patients - he's pretty much been living in the hospital with them while they're here, sleeping on the pallets under their beds, eating the African meals with them instead of going upstairs to the dining room, and translating for all of us on the ward who don't speak French. We've all had fun getting to know the Guinea patients - they're a wonderful group of people, and we'll be sad to say goodbye this Sunday when they go home. It's amazing how attached you can get to people that you can't even talk to. You can say a lot through facial expression and make-shift sign language. :)
Small victories from work today:
I had to take staples and sutures out of a little 7-year-old boy's scalp and face. Even after pre-medicating him with paracetamol and codeine, I expected him to cry at least a little bit. It's not fun for anyone to have staples and sutures removed, let alone a little boy who doesn't understand what's going on. But he was so brave! He didn't cry at all and held perfectly still while I carefully removed each one. I was praying that God would help me be gentle, and He did.
A little girl I was looking after today had to have her head bandage changed. Her incision had oozed a little bit, and there was some gauze stuck to her chin. When I tried to pull it off she immediately started whimpering. So I put a little saline on the old dressing, and sang her a song while I slowly soaked it off. In the end I got all of the old dressing off, the incision cleaned, and a new dressing neatly wrapped around her head.
The same little girl had to have her last dose of IV antibiotics today. She did NOT like her IV to be touched even though it was still working well, and she started crying and wiggling as soon as I came near her. Then I thought to give her my penlight to play with, and let her examine the inside of my mouth, nose and ear with it. That distracted her enough that she didn't notice me injecting the medicine in her IV.
I know those are just little things, but it's the the little things that matter the most sometimes. The best part was that both of those patients still had smiles and hugs to offer me at the end of the day. :)