As I lay here in my bed struggling with the side effects of 7 vaccinations necessary to make this trip to Uganda, familiar thoughts and emotions surface…why am I doing this? I really should not be gone from work right now. I shouldn’t spend this much money! The self doubt and questioning of my sanity usually strikes half way through the trip, when we have a difficult case, almost lose a patient or really struggle with the environment to the point of well, even danger.
And then…we see the miracles start to happen. Patients who “see” their grandchild for the very first time. The patient with a tumor so far advanced we didn’t think she would survive the surgery and yet she recovers long enough to have several more years with her family. The child who came to us in Vietnam with an enlarged eye because we were an ophthalmology team there to do cataract surgeries. Unfortunately this child had a brain tumor causing the eye deformity…oh, but wait. We just happened to have a neurosurgeon joining the team a week later. She survived the surgery with a full recovery.
The rich exchange with the medical communities who host us, the language of “surgery” transcends all other communication barriers and we experience first hand how 90% of communication is nonverbal. As I write this blog the memories come flooding back of all the sweet relationships developed with team members from all over the world and the patients whose lives are changed because of a surgery performed.
I never go on these trips lightly, but with fear and trepidation, praying…God please give us wisdom and healing in our hands, above all…let us do no harm.