Everyone on the ship has a role, or a job.  On your badge, under your name is your title.  Brian’s is “Anesthesia Supervisor.”  Brandon and Maya’s are “Academy Student.”  Hannah’s is “supernumerary.” (which will probably be a whole other blog post one day).  Mine is “Primary Caregiver.”  My actual job is to help out with administrative things in the wards.  It means I get to use excel (which I secretly LOVE), and still visit the wards and get a glimpse of what goes on in our hospital.  While I get to help out here, and really enjoy it, that is not my role. My role on this ship is “primary caregiver.”  I give the primary care to three amazing, spunky, intelligent, strong- lunged humans.  I am responsible for their well-being and their development.  I even have to tell THEM when they are tired and need to rest, I’m expected to actually feel for them, because they aren’t ready to interpret their bodies and know when they need to rest.  It’s a joy and pressure.  The pressure is sometimes overwhelming (as in my last post), but the joy and reward is worth it.  When I put to words the pressure, I pray you don’t assume the joy is gone.  The joy is still there. I believe that when I bring to light the hard and then move forward, it’s my way of laying my burdens at Jesus’ feet.  Maybe I just need to get better at proclaiming the blessed part.   I just heard a song, and it said:

Bring to Him your troubled heart

Lay your cares before Him

He has suffered every pain

Blessed be His name

Ok, that was a side note.  Another cool part about my role on this ship, is that I share it with the other moms (sometimes dads) on the ship.  Not only do I share it with other crew caregivers, but with the caregivers of our patients.  One of my duties is to work with the excel sheet that lists all our patients.  On the far right side of this sheet is a column labeled, “CG.”  It stands for caregiver.  Each patient under a certain age has a caregiver.  Are you following?  The caregiver doesn’t have a name on our sheet.  Their bed is a mattress under the patient’s bed.  Many times, not only do they care for the patient, but they have another child sleeping on the same mattress with them that they are caring for.  For example, one lady came as a caregiver for her 22 year old daughter.  Her daughter has had many surgeries and they have been here for months.  Her daughter has two daughters, a 3 year old and a 7 month old.  So, grandma sleeps on a mattress tucked under a hospital bed with the 3 year old and 7 month old.  She cares for both babies and her daughter, surrounded by foreigners and languages she doesn’t know.  For me to share a title with her and many others like her, is an honor.  I don’t deserve to share this title.  Yes, I believe my role is important.  I would not want to have any other role, but I don’t have a clue what life is like for these caregivers.

My son plays playdoh and soccer with a boy who had lived with a giant tumor for 12 years, he has carried this tumor since he was two years old.   They smile and laugh about a  few things.  I try to relate to the mom, who also has a busy two year old daughter. The daughter makes fish lips and hits a balloon in the air.  She can’t help but shake her bootie every time she hears “I like to move it, move it.”  I feel like we are friends.  But the truth is, I have no idea what she is feeling.  My kids would have their thumbs pricked and blood drawn when fever lasted just a wee too long “just in case.”   All the while, I probably complained about having to wait in a air-conditioned waiting room with a fun fish tank with three tired babies.  I probably tried to keep them from touching the infected toys so they wouldn’t get a “cold”.  So the helpless feeling of seeing a tumor grow on your baby year after year and having absolutely no options, i know nothing about.  But, our titles are the same.

So, I’m seeing this role in a different light.  I am honored to share the title with these heroes, and I’m learning more and more how to be there for them.  Not to say, “I understand,” because that would be a big fat lie.  But to say, “I see you.”  To say, “You are more than a far column on the right side of a spreadsheet.” And, “it’s ok if you are overwhelmed, I’ll try my best to hold you up a bit, and be here.”  Please pray for our caregivers of our patients.  Pray that the floor of our hospital, where their mattresses sit, will be filled with his peaceful presence.  Pray for His Arms to hold them tight, and that they won’t feel alone or helpless.  Pray for signs and wonders and healing.