Sunday 18 March 2018

Hello everyone!

A day late with the email this week. This past week has been busy with one thing and another – just flopped into bed last night amid the chaos of 3 new cabin mates arriving and unpacking as their flight was delayed.😪

Cataract surgery continues with 15 patients per day. Have the usual medical problems to contend with, along with a patient with a broken leg! Yes, another one! It was a different patient from the last time. Daily, I am still having unexpected events to deal with. Rachael is working with me in the eye room, and is just as shocked!

On Monday evening, all the occupants of our cabin (4416) went out for a meal to the Seamans Mission. Think I may have mentioned this place before, they do good food which is not too expensive, we can walk to it from the Ship and they lay on transport for us to return back to the Ship. Also, they have a cat who has several cute kittens, and they hang around the tables waiting for the leftovers, which usually includes fish. As we were leaving, several of them jumped onto the table to take advantage of the fish heads that were left. It was a good evening, it was a really lovely group of girls who were in the cabin – 4 of them departed over the weekend and now we have 4 new arrivals, we are back up to full capacity of 8 girls. The next ones to leave are Timica from Australia and myself on 31 March.

Wednesdays medical inservice was a talk on abdominal wall defects. After that, I attended an Alpha Course for those interested in the Christian Faith, or who wanted to learn more about their Faith. I decided to try it out. It is running for 8 weeks – so unfortunately I will only be able to participate in 3 at most. I will see if I want to attend any further sessions. When that had finished, I went along to the Taize prayer group – I was by then ready to go straight to bed! Sometimes everything seems to happen all at once.

Friday was our usual celebration of sight. When I look at the group of patients assembled there waiting for their YAG, it saddens me that I have very little recollection of them on a personal basis. The numbers are so great. When we had our cabin meal out on the Monday, everyone said what their most memorable aspect of their field service was. They varied from trips out to see the chimpanzees, nice beaches visited, memorable patients from the ward and rehab areas, and children at the orphanages and HOPE Centre. I was at a loss to identify a memorable moment for me personally. At that time, all I could recollect was being so exhausted from the daily demands of my position, a difficult Christmas, massive temptations to leave and go home and the episode of shigella with all that it brought. However, when I was looking at the group of patients on Friday, I noticed one woman who was smiling and waving at me. At the end of the morning when the patients were leaving, she shook my hand and said a lot of things in French. Via a translator, I learned that she was saying ‘thank you’. She went on to explain that she had been incontinent of urine during her surgery, and when she came out of the theatre and returned to my room, I exchanged her wet dress for a dry one from the laundry, and sent her on her way. I had completely forgotten all about that incident – BUT SHE OBVIOUSLY HADN’T and remembered that it was me. I was quite touched by that, and realized that even though I deal with a large number of patients, it is the little (and often overlooked) things that matter to someone sometimes. I now have my memorable moment!

Saturday brought chores – laundry and cabin cleaning duty😒 – but went for a swim in the afternoon at The Pullman Hotel.

Attended Mass on Sunday and then walked to St Germaine café with Rachael (who works with me) her husband Bill, and 2 other girls for brunch – followed by a further walk to Maison H for some sorbet! Well sweaty by the time we got back. Watched a couple of ‘Miranda’ episodes with a UK group, community meeting and bed! Start all over again – Monday today!

If anyone would like to check out Mercy Ships UK website – they have written an article about the donation that The Rotary Club has given to me, in memory of one of their deceased members, Linda Butler. Linda was a volunteer on the Ship several years ago.

That’s all this weeks news. Just 2 weeks left now.

Take care

Melanie x