Monday, July 25 2016
This was our first full clinic day, and we were told to expect somewhere around 300 patients to come through our doors. I, for one, was really excited to get started! But first, we got to experience worship and devotional time with our team:
I was disappointed to find that the first half of our day turned out to be frustratingly slow. We had little spurts of activity, but overall we were lacking patients and I was itching for something to do. It was the first time since arriving that I found myself with time on my hands and no work with which to fill that time! I wandered around to the various areas begging for a task to fill the time, but it seemed that everyone else was left feeling much as I did. During the lull there was a lot of chatting with other team members, which I rather enjoyed since most of the people working in the triage area with me were from other churches. It was fun getting to make new friendships!
After lunch, things really picked up, and from that point on it was all hands on deck. We didn’t get much of a chance to even stop and think until we closed the clinic for the day at 5 PM. We worked hard and sweated even harder in the sweltering heat.
One particular lady stood out to me that day. She was an elderly Guatemalan woman and I immediately recognized her because she always wore a decorated apron over her dresses. She had been to the clinic each day it was open, always collecting more and more items we were giving out. She got clothes, hygiene bags, shoes, toys and more. Admittedly I was initially frustrated by her because she was clearly being greedy and taking advantage of us. Each thing she took was one less thing we could give to someone else who was also in need. After speaking with a fellow teammate about it my heart was changed and my attitude adjusted. I have never walked in this woman’s shoes. I have never had to wonder where my next meal was going to come from, nor have I had to worry about how I would clothe my family. Even in my most lean times of life, I have always had my most basic needs met. I shouldn’t be so quick to judge someone when I have never had to walk a mile in her shoes.
On the bus ride back to the hotel that evening I began feeling unwell. Mostly I just felt weak and nauseous. I chalked it up to a combination of exhaustion from the busy afternoon and intense heat, and perhaps some motion sickness from the bus ride back. Once we got to the hotel we had about an hour to ourselves before needing to meet in the lobby for dinner. I took some anti-nausea medicine and lied down on the bed to rest. It was soon clear that things were not improving, so I made the decision to skip the group dinner in favor of spending the evening in bed. Having Crohn’s disease, these symptoms aren’t unfamiliar to me. All I could do was rest up and fervently pray that I wasn’t starting a flare-up…
To read about Day 5, click here.