Thursday, November 24, 2011

Random Ramblings of a Night Shift Worker

I've been meaning to post, really I have. I honestly dont know if what I'm writing will make much sense to me later on today when I awake from the slumber which I'm hoping will be sweet, unlike the restless mayhem I was in last night.

The past few days have been a whirlwind filled with unexpected surprises. Yesterday at Cheshire, we got out of the cars and realized something wasn't quite right. My nose was burning but I thought it was just my nose being weird. Then the girls I was with were saying their noses were seriously hurting them. That's when I realized mine was more than just dry- rather it was burning... completly burning and in a lot of pain, when my eyes started burning. We went to greet the other car in hopes whatever was aggravating us would be better in a spot further from where we entered. It was worse. All of us were in a lot of pain and just plain confused. We started asking what was going on when one of the Aunties said 'tear gas'. I was in a bit of a panic once I heard this- trying to figure out what we needed to do to escape the gas, when a 7 year old- one of my favorite sweeties from Cheshire runs up to me with his nose under his shirt and buries his head into my belly- I welcome this to offer him some refuge from the pain. Soon, we go insde and I flurry around trying to close the windows. Thank God it diffused quickly. It turns out there was a misunderstanding at the football match at a stadium very close to the home, and tear gas was used. Funny how you never really think about how those things affect the people around.

The goodbyes have started... I said bye to my patients- only to find out that many of them are actually still on board- I'm hoping to get down to say a real goodbye, but my sweet 4 month old Ali is gone... no more cuddle time with my sweet boy. I'll have a whole different kind of cuddle time on December 22nd though- when I see Jordan again for the first time in about a year... CRAZY how time flys but crawls at the same time.

My day worker's last day of work is today and we will say our goodbyes tomorrow. Tears are certain. If not in public, in private- especially after only 4 hours of sleep.

Night shift has consisted of water colors and small projects all week... not sure what tomorrow will be... maybe making ornaments... that could be good.

My mom sent the world's best package to me yesterday and it was the surprise I truly needed to lift my spirits... so blessed to have such a great mom who sends coffee when I asked for meds;)

That is all for now... more later...

<3 M

Monday, November 14, 2011

Alberta- my favorite one yet.

The following story was written by a fabulous ships writer- not me, but Alberta is easily one of the most wonderful patients I've ever met in my life. Super smiley, so fun-loving, always laughing and always finding something to sing about;) I loved Mariah as well... I miss them TERRIBLY, but am so happy they finally got to go home:)

Alberta Johnson

“Alberta loves dancing and singing gospel songs,” said Mariah of her five-year-old granddaughter. “She helps me shop, and when I do the dishes, she rinses them. She always wants to help.”

Since Alberta was eighteen months old, Mariah has raised her, allowing the child’s young mother to finish her education. Three years ago, Mariah was cooking over an open fire in front of her Liberian home when Alberta awoke from her nap. Still groggy from sleep, the little girl walked too close to the fire, falling near the cooking oil. It splashed over her left arm and leg, up her back and over the back of her head. The fire quickly followed. The little girl’s left arm was terribly burned, immobilizing its position at her side. Her leg, back and the back of her head were also severely burned and scarred.

For the next two years, Mariah searched in vain for someone who could surgically release Alberta’s arm so she could raise it above her head. The frozen arm caused much embarrassment for Alberta at her day care, where the children constantly taunted her and called her names.
Mariah is a member of the Eden Church in Liberia, where she coaches football (soccer) for a group called LACES. This group organizes teams for boys and girls, ages 10 and 11, teaching them about Christ through sports. The team members collected enough funds to send Alberta and Mariah to the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship where the volunteer plastic surgery team released Alberta’s burned arm.

Because burned skin and nerves were cut during the surgery, Alberta spent several weeks in recovery. An infection added more weeks of recovery time. But her bubbly personality helped her to make many friends among the crew, including the physiotherapy team that coached her through new exercises and the medical team that gave her post-operative care. Much of that care was painful, but most of the time she remained very brave, generously sharing her brilliant smile and even singing while the nurses applied new dressings. Such behavior is very rare among West African children.

“Sometimes she would fall asleep while I was changing her dressing,” said Nurse Becca Noland. “I love that girl. She’s amazing!”

“I am HAPPY!” said the five-year-old as she approached the end of her stay. “I can play and go to school!”

“She’s going to remember this. I will remind her repeatedly of everything she has seen here,” said Mariah. “It’s a miracle of God that she can have this surgery.”

Story by Elaine B. WinnEdited by Nancy PredainaPhotos by Debra Bell and David PetersonVideo by Beau Chevassus