Screaming Day

Yesterday Febuary 18th, 2008 was officially the most intense, over whelming, and challenging day of my whole life. The day started at 5 am with my alarm clock going off and wondering how in the world am I going to get through this day. About 70 crew members piled into our Land Rovers and headed off to the Samuel K. Doe Stadium. Once we arrived there was a line of MANY people snaked around the parking lot. Some of them had obvious physical ailments (some we can help and some we can't), some people with stomach problems or lung problems, and some that just came to see what was going on.

I spent the day in the lab and specifically I drew the blood of the children that were selected for surgery. Please forgive me if I don't describe this well,  for there are no words to describe what I experienced yesterday. I am still processing it and shedding lots of tears. I received my first kid at 7:30 am and  my last at 8:15 pm. Most of the day I was hunched over children (my youngest 7 weeks) drawing their blood. Some looked healthy and some looked so sick, but all of them looked up at me with there big brown eyes not understanding why I was sticking them with a needle and taking there blood. Some of them kicked and screamed and one even bit me, while others just sat very still and stoic.  So many children sat across from me all with there own stories and problems. Some had club feet, some cleft lip and palate, some had burns, one boy was born with out an ear, we had so many women with goiters the size of a cantaloupe, lots of hernias and an assortment of other problems. Mostly I just saw their veins or lack there of. But in the near future, when they come to the ship for their surgeries I will get to know them as people. I will learn their names and know their stories. As the day went on and I felt like my head was going to explode from all the screaming, I started to think about all the hugs and loves I will be able to lavish on these beautiful children of God and how their surgery and treatments that they will receive on the Africa Mercy will impact the rest of their lives.

Today I was talking to a fellow nurse and he told me that he talked to a family member of one of the patients that he was drawing blood from and the guy said "Thank you for holding this Screaming day". Yes lots of patients were screened for surgeries, but in the room that held the lab it was definitely Screaming day.