The last day is over! Well, not really. We still have to travel back home tomorrow, but today was our last day of service. We only planned for half a day so it wasn’t as heavy but there were still people with need and we were there to help.
A First For Me
I have been on six of these trips as chaplain, translator, and surgery scheduler. Every time I have come on a trip I have been offered the opportunity to observe a surgery. Now this does not mean I get to watch it behind a glass from far away. This means I get to stand in the OR (that means operating room if you were wondering) and see the action as it is happening. I have never been interested in doing that, but I decided this was the year. They were going to do a C-section and someone had mentioned seeing one the day before and how amazing it was. I think FOMO took a hold of me and I decided I would watch the surgery.
I was not prepared for what I witnessed in that room. A C-section is one of the most intense and violent procedures I have ever witnessed. There was a moment that myself and the daughter of one of the surgeons retracted back against the wall as if someone had punched us in the face. We couldn’t believe what we were witnessing. The cutting, the pulling, the blood, and then…the gentle cry of a baby. He was right. It was amazing, and I’m so glad I witnessed it with my own eyes. I will never forget that moment.
It Comes To An End
And that’s that. The week is over and we pack up to head home tomorrow. We helped a lot of people, and many we couldn’t. That is the interesting emotional ride you experience on a trip like this. You feel great about all the people you are able to help. In the end, with surgeries, procedures, and consultations, we helped over 900 people. That is awesome! But there were so many that we couldn’t help.
The fourteen year old girl who is in constant pain because she has an inflamed fallopian tube. The 15 year old girl who has cancer in her femur and will probably have to have her leg amputated. The woman who has a growth on the side of her face that can’t be operated on because of the possible damage it could do to her face. All the poor people who are dealing with years of pain and discomfort but can’t get relief because they have no money and we ran out of time.
That is what we face every time we come. But in the end we just have to be content with the people we were able to help and prepare ourselves to come back, because there are more people we can touch and make their lives better. And that truth keeps us going.