Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Emmanuel is a ten your old boy who came to us with bilateral club feet. His calves were as thin as sticks and his feet severely mal-rotated. He lives at an orphanage. His belly is large and bloated and his hair discolored. Two sings of probable malnutrition. A common occurrence in Liberia.

He had been my patient for a week and a half. During that time I was really able to get to know him and his caretaker, Lucy.

At the end of last week has was always trying to play jokes on me. With a devilish, boyish smile he would tell me he had "plenty plenty" pain or that he had to go pee-pee, and then burst out laughing.

One day, I let him be my nurse. He listened to my lungs with my stethoscope and also took my temperature. I ached and moaned that my leg hurt. I grabbed a pain scale and pointed to a pain score of ten. I demanded medication.

He laughed so hard. It was wonderful.

Yesterday, I knew he was going to be discharged so I walked down to the ward to say goodbye. He was sitting in is bed wearing his clothes, waiting to go home. Lucy, his caretaker asked me how much longer I would be on the ship. When I told her I would be here for an entire year she was very grateful.

"Tell your mother and father thanks for sending their daughter to Liberia."

Lucy put Emmanuel and his crutches on her back, and carried him down the long ward hallway to the patient gangway so they could leave. I grabbed his other bags.

I am going to miss Emmanuel. I promised to think of him when I sang my favorite Christmas song, "Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel," this December.

I think I'll always think of him when I hear that song.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also thank our Father for sending you to Liberia.