Excerpts from Iraq

The power of prayer is dawning on me as I see how the people are broken and grateful after being prayed for and how panic and depression are relieved. In some situations, there is so a little a nurse can do, but prayer is always available and always effective. I forget this in the medical world at home.

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Today, with another nurse, I visited patients that I knew from previous visits. It was special to know them and their struggles when I walked into their tents. And how exciting to see blood pressures improving from our previous visits. I also saw the frustration of someone forgetting how to take meds and starting over at square one. Education takes time but when it is a success it all looks worth it.

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We met a 12-year-old girl today. Her mom was very worried about her. “She is not eating. She just sleeps all day. She is very weak.” The girl stood there, head down, meeting no one’s eyes. Her clothes hung on a very thin body, and dark circles were under her eyes.

The other nurse and I looked at each other. This child was obviously very sick. “I wonder if she has the C-word,” she whispered. I nodded. I had thought of the same thing. Cancer.

But there was nothing we could do at the moment, even though they had no one to help them and said that blood work was out of the question. The mom was a widow and very poor. We had to walk away, after the other nurse took the tent number so she could check in on them later. There was something about that girl’s eyes that haunts me…

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I’m learning that there are many ways of approaching nursing but that the fundamental aspect no matter where you are is to care… I feel so blessed to have come here to work with the medical team and see the difference they are making both physically and emotionally in the lives of the refugees here.

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I kind of wish I could have stayed longer and learned more, even though it is good to be home in a way… Home is where the heart is, and my heart wants to be where God wants me. For now, Pennsylvania is home, but if God calls me elsewhere, my heart will be there too. I pray God uses the last two weeks and the lessons I’ve learned as a way of making me better prepared to serve Him wherever he calls me…

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