Maya, our 9 year old daughter, wrote this. She has given me permission to share it on our blog.
How to Visit the Patients
Are you scared to visit the patients? The patients like it when you are down in the wards. They are very cheerful and happy. So here is how to visit the patients and make a friend.
Here is some stuff you will need to know. You can learn the basics of French. For example, “hello,” is “bonjour.” Also knowing where to go would be helpful; deck three is where the wards are. If the patient speaks another language a translator would be good. You have to ask them nicely to come with you.
What should you do when you are down there? Find a patient to play with. Asking questions like, “what is your name?” is always polite. See what they like to do like playing games. Lastly tell them about you.
Leaving is a little bit difficult. If you will come again you should tell them that you will. “Au revoir” is bye in French. Tell them what you enjoyed.
Now you know how to visit a patient. Take a friend if you want to. The more you go, the more comfortable you will feel. So keep going down to the wards!
Straight legs and a new start in life mean the world to 12 year old Ulrich who has now received free surgery on the Africa Mercy to correct his backward facing legs: “Before people would just stare at me in the street and label me a handicap. Now they will look again!”
We went to the Hope Center with some of our friends, including Orthopedic surgeon, Frank Hayden. The Hope Center is a place in town where patients stay after they don’t need to be in the hospital anymore but still need to be close by for follow-up appointments and rehab.
During our visit, Ulrich gave his walking sticks to Dr. Frank, saying “I don’t need these anymore!” Such a powerful moment.
The surgeons, like Dr. Frank, work very hard, and these surgeries couldn’t happen without them. However, the patients work extremely hard as well. As you can see in the picture, with one of our physical therapists, Robin, surgery is just one step in the healing process. Those bones have been chopped and have to heal and learn to work again. Walking at first can be very painful, and the patients and their caregivers have to persist through pain and struggle. If they give up, the surgery won’t help. Thank God these patients are brave and tough. Please pray for our patients as they continue to heal.
Ulrich (Junior), orthopedic patient, before surgery.
Ortho patient Ulrich standing without his cruchers at the hope center
Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Frank Haydon greets Ulrich at the Hope Center.
Ulrich having his cast changed on his left leg in Inpatients.
Robyn Porep, Physical Therapist, guides Ulrich along Deck 7 as he learns to walk with straight legs.
My dad is an amazing man. Patient, loving, thoughtful, generous, selfless, humble. He’s my hero.
He is also having surgery on his heart today. I would really appreciate your prayers for safe surgery, a good result, and quick healing. Above all, I would ask that you pray for God’s supernatural peace and comfort to fill him and my mom.
As I’ve mentioned before, the hardest part of being overseas is being away from loved ones, especially during times like this. Thank you for lifting him up!
that’s a big number. But honestly, I don’t have a good sense of how big that is. There are 7.4 billion people in the world. 5 billion of them don’t have access to safe, affordable surgery. FIVE BILLION people out of 7.4 billion people don’t have access to safe, affordable surgery. That is a lot of people.
They simply can’t get surgery that will save their life.
Ernest in the ward on his first day after surgery doing lip exercises
Ernest, Maxillofacial patient, before surgery,
Ernest, maxillofacial patient, looks at his face for the first time after having his tumor removed.
The hospital is in full swing! One of our patients had a very large surgery yesterday, and our chief Medical Officer asked everyone on the ship to pray for her surgery. He made an announcement last night that the surgery went really well and to pray for her long road of recovery. I was sitting in the public area of the ship and everyone started clapping. It was such a joy filled moment and cool to see how everyone was involved in this girl’s care: the plumbers, business people, teachers, housekeepers, YOU, the list goes on and on.
Here are some pics of some of our brave patients. They face so much to get here. Most live in remote villages, so to travel so far and come on a big ship with lots of people speaking crazy languages who look different, smell different, etc can be more than scary. They have to be so brave to come here! We take for granted what is normal to us. Things like door handles are foreign to many of the people we serve, but they come anyway not really knowing what is going to happen but filled with hope. Please pray for them. These are not just emotional images we see on a screen, they are real, awesome people!
I love watching this little girl with her daddy. He speaks perfect English and is constantly teaching her English also.
This strong boy had surgery on one of his legs and will have surgery on the other soon. Please pray for him! He is so strong and fast.
I wish she was smiling in this pic, because she has the most contagious smile!
I’m glad she got surgery for health reasons, but isn’t it hard to imagine a more beautiful smile?
This man is becoming Brian’s close friend. He has had his surgery and is recovering on the wards. Please continue to pray for his healing and pain. I can’t imagine the recovery of such an intense surgery.
Dr. Frank and Kathleen our orthopedic surgeon and nurse showed us how to do orthopedic surgery with wood and a drill!
Hannah helped empty a patient’s catheter! (don’t worry, it was an apple juice catheter)
Hannah leading a patient who is blind from cataracts.
trying to figure out how the gowns work!
changing a dressing.
getting ready for surgery!
Maya not wanting me to take her picture as she gets ready to perform surgery.
A few nights ago, the hospital was opened to the entire crew and we got a little preview. There were stations throughout the hospital, such as sterilizing instruments, being a nurse for a day, making the bed race, performing surgery, giving fruits injections, and much more. I love our crew!
More and more crew are arriving to the ship each day. The dining room gets louder and louder each meal. Every year, we hire local workers who work on the ship and live in town, they are referred to as Day Crew. They have started working and it’s so exciting to meet people from Cameroon. They are thrilled to help people of their own country.
The first surgeries are on Tuesday!
Please pray for everyone involved as we get everything ready.
Hannah started Karate! Let me tell you, she is fierce!
Maya had a great, messy birthday turning 9 years old!
Maya watching our arrival ceremony and wearing a henna by her talented friend, Megan!
Our new cabin is big enough to host the OR team for dinner, and it’s been nice to hang out with them.
Many of the crew (adults and kids) play ultimate frisbee on the dock each Friday evening. AND, you will see that we can see green trees from our dock, which is a big deal becasue before I’ve only seen concrete. Since BJ seems to be missing from all my photos, he is in this one, one of the blurs of neon.