It is 2 am and I'm sitting next to a mug of hot coffee that Lauren just made- we are sharing it with the other nurses that work at the hospital. We bought the ground coffee at the market today and will definitely be needing it these next 4 nights! Our patients tonight are very gracious and kind. They don't ask for much. They either had hysterectomies, cholesystecomies, hernia repairs, or bladder repairs. Their husbands are not allowed to visit for long and only one member of the female family is allowed to stay with the patient. There are 2 women staying with 2 patients who don't speak Spanish but rather Quiche. Those family members are translating to Spanish for us. They are dressed in typical Guatemalan flare and are about 4 feet tall!
The pediatrics side is different. They can have any family member stay with them and some of the mothers sleep in the crib with the patient. One little girl named Siría had her left club foot released and told me she has no pain- she simply said "I'm bored but not tired." She is probably 6 years old and is just smiling. She keeps waving from her bed when I walk by. The other patients have had club foot repairs, cleft lip/palate surgeries, and one amputation. And everyone is successfully asleep right now!
I started writing this while sitting outside of our patients' rooms (there are 2 with a total of 8 patients), and found myself staring into their rooms with not a thought on my mind. Maybe it is because I am already exhausted and it is only 2 am on the first night shift. Maybe it is because I am at peace or perhaps it is because I'm living in the present. I'm not completely sure. What I do realize is that these moments make me reset, reflect, and start over again. It is a nice pause that I wish happened more often. Now I've gotten to thinking how lucky I am to meet these sweet women and children. While they think I'm helping them, they are helping me more. They make me appreciate life and family. These patients are simply happy to be here, as am I. One woman continues to thank us and hopes that she will see us again. She keeps rattling off a thousand words a minute while just squeezing my hand- I'm attempting to understand her Spanish but I am overwhelmed by how thankful she is. There is a patient next to her who asked me my name and she said she remembered me from 2 years ago- I met her with her son who wanted his leg amputated due to a congenital abnormality. The mother was very skeptical but the son was 16 at the time and was allowed to choose- my dad performed the surgery on the 3rd day that week. He came to visit the clinic on Sunday for a minute and looked great- I had no idea I would be taking care of his mother next!
I am learning from all of these women how to be strong and gracious. I am also learning from my other night shift coworkers. It's nice to spend time with people and genuinely get to know them in such a special environment. I've also been reading a book this trip and have found a quote that I will end tonight with:
"The power of giving is so strong that the excitement and the good feelings are often greater for the giver than for the receiver. Which is why, when you find your calling and you design your life in such a way that you can share your gifts with the world on a consistent basis, you feel like a rock star."
Written by Jenna Quill,RN
COTA Medical Volunteer