Thursday, September 14, 2006

Yesterday versus today...

Two days couldn’t be more different. It’s amazing and scary that one or two incidents can have such an affect on me and my day.

Yesterday I had an awful day. Honestly the day was terrible and it wasn’t because it was so busy- I didn’t even have clinic. I had some follow-up cases, children for vaccinations and administrative work to do. However, a few things happened that made me feel awful.

On Monday I diagnosed a 7 month old with malaria and mild anemia. Since the child was feeding fine, tolerated the first dose of anti-malarials, and mom didn’t want to be referred, I let them go after warning them that if the child wasn’t any better in the morning, they had to go to the referral hospital. The child died Wednesday morning! To say the least, my mood changed when I heard this. Apparently, on Tuesday morning, instead of going to the referral center the father took the child to a traditional healer. And on Wednesday morning the child died at home. I heard this Wednesday mid-morning and felt awful. I tried to help this child but failed (that’s what it feels like anyway). At the time I did what seemed right. Looking back, I don’t know. All I know is that looking back won’t help anymore.

Later on Wednesday I saw a 3 week old child with a cleft lip and palate. I see him once a week to monitor his growth. Unfortunately he had lost weight and developed jaundice. Blood tests showed a very high white blood count. It was one of those situations in which I had to make a decision but wasn’t sure what to do. In the end I sent him to the referral center. I didn’t want to take any chances.

These two incidents made me feel really bad and left me feeling inadequate, inexperienced and like a failure. It made me wonder what I was still doing here?!!?

Today on the other hand was much better. Even though clinic was really busy and I worked non-stop from 800 till 630pm it was a good day. What was good about it?

I survived for one! I made it through another day.

Two, I saw familiar faces. A couple of today’s patients were ones that have been to the clinic before. Ones that I am starting to build a relationship with. It is fun to recognize them as they walk through the door. It’s fun to know them by name, as I have seen over 4000 children from the Freetown area in the clinic by now. And because I know the children it is even more rewarding to be able to help them as I see and feel like I am making a difference in their lives. It is these parents that show their gratitude and I am happy I can be here for them.

Three, I was reminded again about why I am here and realized that I would miss this place if I were to go. I would miss the children I have gotten to know. I would miss joking around with my staff. I would miss attempting to speak Krio and realizing that I was actually pretty good at it. I would miss helping these children that have so little going for them.

Every day is different. Whether good or bad, it moves me forward.

I try, I succeed, I fail, I laugh, I learn, I cry, I try again, I move on.
On to the next day.

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~