Monday, April 1, 2013

"Jesus Wept."

 Bringing hope and healing
Screening day: This boy is having surgery on his eye and hand
This hand belongs to the young boy pictured above
 2 weeks ago, I finally started the job that I came here for, and the job that I love oh so much-- dressing changes!  Plastic surgery has started, which means lots of skin grafts and complicated, delicate dressing changes!  I love wound are of all types, but skin grafts are near the top of the list.  They require a lot of patience and precision; it's an art really, to wrap it just perfectly so that the new skin is properly protected, but yet has enough freedom to move and do therapy exercises.  It's similar to the relationship my sister and I have with painting-- I am very careful and precises to be sure that the whole wall is perfectly covered with no streaks, splatters, or bumps on the floor, ceiling, or trim-- similar to doing a skin graft dressing change! Nicole, on the other hand likes to use fast, dripping brush-fulls of paint, no matter where it lands: floor, ceiling, dog, mom..-- similar to doing a quick patch job on some road-rash before shipping to the hospital.  Needless to say, I don't think Nicole would be cut out for my job!

One of my dear english-speaking patients on screening day

The first 2 weeks were refreshing, doing what I loved and teaching other people the delicate art as well.  Then after 2 weeks it's time to start pulling out K-wires.  If you rewind to 1 1/2 years ago, I also talked about pulling K-wires while in Sierra Leone.  A K-wire is a metal rod that holds a joint still so that the graft has time to heal.  I like pulling them, but I don't like the pain and torture I cause the patients by doing it!  I usually just pull it out, whether they are screaming or crying-- just like a bandaid- you just have to do it!  Sometimes nurses would cry after pulling out K-wires and I would think to myself, "what a weakling! have some backbone, don't be a baby!"  Last week  I pulled 4 wires out of a girl named Nancy*.  She is 24 years old, and even after a hefty dose of valium to relax her, she screamed bloody murder, told me I was killing her, and had to have 3 people holding her back.  It took an hour, and by the time I pulled the last one, she was off the chair, swinging at me and screaming.  I left the room while the others patched her up and calmed her down.  I went into the ward to ask the nurse to get her some pain medication, and when the nurse asked me how it went, I instantly started crying.  I went out into the hallway and tried to control myself but the heaving sobs kept coming uncontrollably.  A small 8 year old patient from the ward was walking by and started petting me and hugging me trying to console me.

It was a strange feeling, I had no idea how much it had affected me.  It's not a good feeling- to torture somebody.  And I now fall into the category of weak-sauce nurses!

It is currently Easter season, so the story of Jesus' journey to the cross is fresh on my mind.  Jesus went through so much pain and torture, both physical and emotional on his way to the cross.  He was beaten and mocked and had the ultimate torture of dying on a cross.  Before his trial, Jesus said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Mat 26:38)  When Jesus was lead to Golgotha to be crucified, he was beaten, had his clothes stripped from him, thorns put on his head by the soldiers, yet he never showed any anger or vengeance against them.  And when all is said and done, and Jesus was sitting on his heavenly throne- if those soldiers asked for his forgiveness, he would give it without question, even after all the torture they put him through.

I was reminded of this amazing forgiveness when I went back into the ward an hour later to see Nancy.  I was so afraid that she would hate me forever and never understand why I caused her so much pain.   But when I walked into the ward, she called me over to where she was sitting on her bed, she gave me a thumbs up and then hugged me.  I could have cried all over again!  I was so thankful that she could see through the pain and understand that I wasn't trying to hurt her, that I really cared about her.  

It's not always easy to help people, and sometimes you have to cause them pain in order to give them healing.  Thank goodness we have a God who is merciful and gives healing when it is most needed!

Some of my patients:
This young woman was burnt due to an accident during an epileptic seizure.  She and I had a dance party last week when I left the bandage off her leg because her wound was healed!
This sweet lady is from very far up-country and is one of the sweetest, strongest women I know.  She smiles at me every time I pull a staple out of her and never shows any fear or pain.     

A few pictures from the ward, post surgery with all of their splints and bandages, which I change for them everyday!

Just a good lookin baker I know!

Prayer requests this week:
- quick healing for all the patients, and pain free dressing changes!
- healing for 3 of our patients who are struggling with infections
- for my upcoming travel to Sierra Leone and Nigeria in 2 weeks!


  1. Thank you Danielle. Beautiful.

  2. what a great story. thsnks for sharing. you will always be one of my favorite babies. hugs flo

  3. Wow, awesome stuff Danielle! So glad you're back to doing what you were made to do. Love you girl!!

    Danielle Jacques