Each day there always seems to be a special moment that is etched in our minds. Today’s moment was when an albino woman with skin as white as ours came to present three small yams to Susan and Sherry from pharmacy. Susan had remembered her from last year and made a point of bringing sunscreen and lip balm for her which she gave to her yesterday. Today, the woman walked 3 miles in the hot African sun to present these gifts of thanks to them. David reminded Susan to give her back her plastic bag as it was very valuable to her. She didn’t have much but what she did have she just gave away. What a great illustration for Chief Charles’ sermon on Sunday.
The gratitude of our patients is hard to describe on paper. Few patients leave our stations or our operating rooms without thanking us, blessing us and often blessing our children and our children’s children. Isaac, the Ghanaian optician, shared with the team that after the patients get their glasses and look around the room they say over and over “Jan Broni, Jan David” which means “thank you whites, thank you David Mensah”.
The day was full of many very moving moments for me. I was moved when baby Joshua’s father Peter carried a paralyzed woman on his back across the field to the doctors. I was moved when women would present us with their babies after being seen by us for infertility last year. I was moved when the nurses spent so much time cleaning and dressing a Buruli ulcer which covered a young man’s entire lower leg. I was moved when Dr. Gillian and Dr. Martin recalled a suffering patient from a previous clinic after considering some additional treatment options for her. I was moved to watch the 2 pediatricians Dr. Sean and Dr. Julie care for an endless stream of the sickest children all day long. I was moved to see a picture of man with a huge smile who, just yesterday, had a disfiguring tumor of his upper gum which prevented him from smiling. Dr. Kyle removed it yesterday and Dr. Rob sutured him up. I could write a book about all of the special moments from this day alone.
Dr. Magdi kidnapped Dr. Joe today and the department of anesthesia doubled in size. Dr. Joe did the spinal anesthetics while Dr. Ira did the general anesthetics for some very, very large hernias.
Every day at 3:00 Mary circulates a red tin box to each team member. The tin has the British logo “STAY CALM AND CARRY ON” written on the lid. Inside the tin is a treat and a little piece of paper with a quote of the day on it lovingly prepared by Dr. Sarah. Today’s quote was by Mother Teresa and said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest to you.” It is easy to be paralyzed by the massive crowds, the long hernia wait lists, and the many, many needs of the patients here. This team is doing such a great job of skillfully and lovingly helping the patient nearest to them to the best of their ability.
The evening closed under the gazebo as we all shared our stories of the day and stories of our lives at home.
One clinic to go! We plan to finish very strong.