So I’m on night shift, sitting at the computer in the dim light, listening to the heart rate beeping on my little 2 year old patient who had a cleft palate repaired today. I can also hear the breathing of my little 6 year old girl in bed 15 who had a pharyngoplasty two days ago and is breathing through one clear nostril and the other which has a nasal airway.
This is my third night of three and it is shaping up to be a good one. I am looking after 6 children, aging from 3 months to 6 years. Each one of them responds differently to our care. The poor little boy in bed 6, is often inconsolable. Yesterday morning he stood at the door, with a bandage over his head, only one eye peaking out, softly banging on the door, crying. He wants to go home, but it’s not time yet.
The 3 month old in bed 2 had a cleft lip repair today. She is the chubbiest little thing, with big squeezable thighs and a sweet smile. Her name is Beauty. Her mama obviously loves her, especially knowing that she called her Beauty even though she was born with a cleft lip. Babies born with a cleft lip are often unwanted or outcast among the village, with people thinking that it is a sign of the devil. Sometimes they are left to starve. So seeing little Beauty so chubby and fat, makes me so happy!
The good thing about this ward being such a small environment, is that even sitting here with my back to the patients behind the curtains, I can hear every little movement. I have tuned my ears to know the sounds of someone rolling over in bed, of each baby’s cry, of a cough and hearing who is walking to the toilet in the dim light.
As I lean over my patients this night, I am reminded of my love for this job. Why am I so privileged to be able to look after them here for this time? What a special thing it is to be a part of such a big change in their lives.
For two of our patients here now, we have made new noses. Can you imagine living your life for years with part of your nose cut off, or lost altogether from skin infection? These two patients now have new noses! They will go back to their villages and who will recognize them? How will they feel walking through their streets with a new look? I hope they feel confident to stand proud and tall.
Not only are we in the business of physical repair but we offer the love of Jesus to everyone. I pray that through the care I give, they will recognize the love poured out through my hands. And the love cannot be from me, for if it were just through my own efforts I would have expired long ago. I would have run out of love to give. Patients come and go, taking a piece of my heart with them. I have to be filled up somehow. And I choose to let the love God pours out upon us, to overflow from me to the world.