Last evening I started writing down a list of everyday occurrences on my ward life that I will miss and not experience as an American nurse.
It was Thursday night, which means there was a community meeting. We always turn on the TV's and let the patients watch them. During worship, a little 1 1/2 year old male cleft lip patient, his chicken legs and diapered butt sticking out of his multi-colored gown, started dancing to the worship music. It was more like flailing. That crazy run around and just wiggle your body with a totally serious face kind of movement that small children seem to be so proficient at.
He beckoned me to join him. So I did. Together, we flailed our bodies throughout B ward.
Christian is a 10 year old who was here last year. We think his mother probably had rubella during her pregnancy and his developmental delays support this theory.
On his bedside name card, under his medical information, is the stared word "Deaf". Christian is deaf. Next to "deaf" is two large whited out blocks that use to say "and blind." Christian was blind according to last years records. However, after receiving bilateral cataract surgery, he can no see. Hence the white out.
At home I cared for a lot of developmentally delayed children and I readily admit to being bias. They are my favorites. They have the sweetest, most fun, free-est spirits. Christian fits this mold.
He is a sweetheart.
He laughed so hard when I tickled him. He jumped up into my arms and had me carry him around the ward. He enjoys being tucked in next to his mother at bedtime.
He had spent most of the day unable to eat while waiting to go to surgery. Another nurse was playing with play dough and he bent over and tried to eat it the way you'd eat a pie in a pie eating contest. His surgery was postponed and I was able to get him bread. He grabbed it from my hands and immediately started to chomp away.
I really like Christian.
Baby Rosseta, five months, belongs to Felcicia in bed 16. Felecia had an operation on her face after having Noma. We may never let her leave so we can indefinitely keep Rosseta on the ward.
No one has ever heard Rosseta cry. She has a tiny little afro and small pierced ears and feels like a doll when you hold her. We all pass her around. Nurses, translators, even patients visitors. Everyone wants to hold Rosetta and Felicia is very generous with her.
Last night Felicia was my patient which made me responsible for Rosseta. Not wanting to neglect my responsibilities I spent as much time as possible with her in my arms.
I was holding her at the end of the shift and she fell asleep in my arms. Of course, being my responsible self, that necessitated my holding her for the entire 1/2 I gave report. You don't want to wake a sleeping baby. It was enough to make even a hardened cynic claim a maternal instinct.
I was telling someone today I really don't know what I am going to do when I can't walk down the hall and get my beautiful-child-holding fix.
I'm guessing some serious withdrawal.
Bed 10 was crying. Not because of pain. Not because of anxiety. Not because his mother was gone.
He wanted rice. Everyone else had rice, but he could not have any because he recently had cleft lip surgery.
I know how it feels; I use to hate it when my mom wouldn't give me rice.