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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Shift Work

I have now officially started working on the Africa Mercy. Yesterday was my first shift, I worked 7-3pm. I am on orientation for one more day (that's right 2 days of orientation) and then I am on my own. I took care of 3 patients yesterday. One man was in his 40's and had jaw reconstruction and a bone graft taken from his hip the day prior. I also had a 3 month old baby that had a cleft palate repair 4 days ago. My third patient was a women we think was in her 50's that had a thyroid goiter removed from her neck - that day. There are so many things on the ward that are SO different than at home, and some things are very similar. The bottom line is that you work with what you have and improvise the rest. Good thing I have babysat recently for my precious "nephews" Josh, Brandon, and Jack - since most of my shift yesterday I was busy making up bottles for the baby.

It is very different working on a ward where it is one room and all the patients are together. There are two sides to the room, women on one side and men on the other. However, they all share one bathroom. I find that astounding - but since most of the Africans don't have bathrooms as we know them at home - most have never even seen a toilet until they come on the ship - I guess they don't mind sharing. At the end of every day shift we take the patients that can walk outside to get some fresh air. I finished my shift watching some children patients play the Memory game on deck #7 . It was nice to get outside and feel the sunshine and the slight breeze. It is hot - but so far I haven't been outside long enough to get really sweaty. I am thanking God for the air conditioning on the ship. To think that back in the 70's when the Mercy Ships first began they had no air!!

One other thing that is different that definitely tells me I am not at home working- we start and end the shift praying for our patients. Also, when I took my one woman patient to the operating room for her surgery, the surgical nurse came out to meet us and he prayed for the patient and the surgery to go well, etc.

In my down time I have been trying to relax and get some sleep. This week I am working every shift, so I am just letting my body do whatever it wants for sleep. Yesterday I worked the day shift, today and tomorrow I work afternoons (2-10pm) and on the weekend I work 12 hr shifts from 7p-7am. So, I am sleeping whenever I feel like it. No sense in trying to get myself on any kind of schedule - I don't think I will have one while here!


Virginia said...

Hi Jen,

So good to hear from you...wow, sounds busy...and rewarding...and different...and a God thing. I do hope you see outside a bit...even if it is only a few minutes. Sometimes it just orients us. I am so excited that you get to pray for your patients...I always find that so meaningful and a honor to do that. I prayed for/with my clients this am...they were surprised when I suggested it...and thankful. Take care...and love you.

Kristin said...

What an awesome way to start & end a shift! God is awesome. I wish we did that here all together like that. That's how it should be. One room...one bathroom, really puts it in perspective how wonderfully luxurious our hospitals here really are. The patients at Club Beau have no idea how well they have it. They often complain about how poorly they are treated and how they want it to be more & more like a hotel. They need a wake up call!

What a wide spectrum of patients, all in one room-wild! Do the parents of the 3 month old stay with the baby? Are you feeding the baby? Is it hard after a surgery like that for it to eat?

I am glad you are having such an awesome experience already. I can't believe you've only been gone for 4 days. It seems like a lot longer than that already. Miss you & love you.

Jordon said...

thinking of you and praying for you always! I love ya so stinkin' much and I am so thrilled to hear how you are settling in and that God has already placed "adventure mates" in your life. I should have figured. I know how popular you are on the high seas!

Kendra said...

welcome to the dream. :)

sounds like you are having an incredible time.... keep these blog posts coming.

love you,

p.s. congratulations on finding diet coke.