Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Around the Web- From Millie

Millie has written another heartfelt blog post about caring for people here in Impfondo: 

It is impossible to describe the intricacies and roots of a culture where death is such a common part of life, where
children are sometimes deemed not worth the financial cost and/or time of treatment by the parents and nurses alike, where families are accustomed to facing a decision to treat one child at the risk of taking away resources from the other children at home. I could live here a thousand years and perhaps not even scratch the surface, but with time, little by little, small glimpses of understanding are given to us. Insight begins to bud, judgement begins to fade away and humbleness sneaks in and grants you grace for a group of people that are forced to face decisions, make sacrifices and experience loss in a way so foreign and unique to us in the western world that we can't possibly understand. The ethical struggles here are so detailed and extensive and I am sure there are amazing books written about all of it explaining everything... But to experience it first hand and care about the people as unique individuals and friends, can often prove to be quite the challenge and perhaps not as clear cut as it would appear from an outside standpoint. The other day a small child passed away from severe malaria. In the hour before her death we did everything possible for her with the resources available. When her heart stopped we continued to fight for her life with CPR, meds and bagging. Normally at a regular government hospital here in Congo, unless the family paid up front for all treatment she would not even receive the basic care, much less a team of people giving her everything possible. While talking to the dad after and expressing my condolences he simply said (in French) "it is life in Africa, but you did all you could, you did so many things, thank you." In a time where after seeing this scenario time after time, day after day, week after week, and watching death after death, it is often too easy to get discouraged, wonder why we do any of it, question if ignorance really is better than this pain, this dad's statement really made an impression on me. Maybe we were not able to save this child's life, but in fighting for her, in caring, in doing all we could, a value was placed on her life and the father recognized that. I thought back to all the children that have passed away these last few months and I had a vision of them in heaven already, but watching us fight for their life, and realizing that just this in itself makes everything worth the fight. The value in playing a role to place meaning on someone's life is immeasurable.

Read the rest at Nurse Millie Goes to Africa

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