Day four of surgery is done and thus the week is coming to a happy close. We started this morning off by meditating on the proverbs again and their statements of blessing to those who are kind to the needy, and tonight we reaped some of those blessings. We gathered together for an awesome meal and scrolled through an amazing presentation put together by Sally Kolenda which included, among other things, the happy totals of the week. The team triaged a total of 152 patients, and completed 111 surgeries that included 177 procedures. (31 ENT, 27 General, 22 plastic, 17 gynecological, and 14 urology surgeries.) It is truly amazing to think about all the lives that have been touched by what the team has been able to accomplish. This week was by no means easy or fun at all times. There have been many complications, late nights, early mornings, exhaustion, and other chaos that is just the nature of the work, but the bonds that have been formed between new friends and strengthened between old friends were on full display tonight; not despite the hardships, but because of them.
To all the doctors, translators, techs, cooks, administrators, pharmacists, discharge ward supervisor, reverend, pre-op nurses, anesthesiologists, and especially those who worked in the PACU this week who came to the hospital with everyone else and typically stayed well after dark: Thank you. The joy, camaraderie, enthusiasm, love, and perseverance you all have shown all week has been inspiring. To see you cradle children to your chest as they weep for their mothers made it hard to keep my eyes dry. Seeing you calm anxious patients before surgery and comfort hurting patients after surgery shows how much you care for each and every person that has come looking for healing.
Also, thank you to everyone who supported this week’s mission with finances, prayers, and the many other supplies and gifts that were sent! I can assure you that your generosity was not thought of lightly. One thing that coming on this trip both last year and this year has made me appreciate is how rewarding it is to see my friends, family and even anonymous donors give so generously to something that I believe in so strongly. Before joining in this mission I was a person who felt like taking up a cause alone somehow made your actions more noble and sacrificial, but I have found that by laying down pride and inviting people to join with me, I kill three birds with one stone a) I raise support for a just cause, b) I get blessed by the joy that comes from seeing the generosity around me, and c) I facilitate an opportunity for others to be blessed, themselves, by joining hands in the pursuit of a shared mission. This has been another week where to bless means to be blessed.
My church closes every service with a benediction and I feel like that is an appropriate way to close this week’s blog. Here’s one from Numbers 6:24-26.
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.