Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Before And After

A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I love looking at before and after pictures of our patients here on the Africa Mercy. I think it is the satisfaction of seeing such a drastic change so instantly. There is always something different in the after picture besides the obvious physical change. Eyes full of joy, laughter, wide tooth showing smiles, and a renewed sense of confidence.

What before and after pictures don't show you is everything in between that allows the patient to get to that after picture.Those pictures don't show the hours that these patients travel to get to the ship, the families and occupations they leave behind, the hours of surgery, multiple dressing and cast changes, and painful rehab and exercises that have to happen before that glowing, joyous after photo is a reality.

Just like at home patients have to come in prior to surgery to get tests and labs drawn so that surgeons and nurses can make a plan of care and make sure the patient is fit for surgery. The hospital has a fully functioning lab, CT scan and X-ray machine. 

 Even with all of these tests, highly skilled doctors, nurses and translators we never underestimate the power of prayer. One of my favorite parts of working on this floating hospital ship. 





People often comment to me how fantastic the people of Mercy Ships must be and how wonderful I am for doing this but in reality I'm on a similar journey as these patients. I can't tell you how often I wish that I could forget about the before things, skip all the middle ground and just go straight to the place in my life where everything is settled, all my questions are answered and my fears calmed. I would love to skip the challenging days, the places and people that make me feel vulnerable, the moments that test my patience and faith just so that I can finally get to that after state. Time and time again I forget that God uses that middle ground to shape me into who he wants me to be. One day when I am in heaven I will be the most perfect and complete after picture. However, I can't rush through the in between days anymore than these patients can rush through rehab, exercises or the healing process. God is taking me on a journey and I don't think he's so much worried about the after part as much as who I become in the process. Similarly, these patients are on a journey towards physical healing but it doesn't stop there. We pray that the spiritual and emotional healing and hope that they have received will far outlast and outweigh any physical healing that they have received.

"His priority, his work in us, is to continually transform our ability to love God and love our neighbor to an even greater level from whatever level of ability we have at the moment." Christine Caine

I'm thankful for these patients, their bravery, courage and various ways that they teach me everyday. I'm thankful that during this time God does not choose to keep us in a state of brokenness but continues to mold, shape and transform both the patient and caregiver in more ways than one.

The women's health program will start in a couple weeks and I'm getting excited for that. If you want to read more about OBF (obstetric fistula) surgery refer to these previous blogs: Beauty Of Nursing and Least Of These. For those of you praying continue to pray for good health and strength for the crew members, fast and smooth healing for our patients, and a good transition and start to the women's health program!

Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships.