Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Thursday, May 10th 2012

Well I'm home now.  I've been home for almost two weeks.  I never wrote an entry for Saturday, because I was just too tired.  And once I got home, I became really sick and couldn't muster up the strength to write a final entry.  So I'm a little late with my final entry for this trip, but maybe the time for reflection will be beneficial.

We said our tearful goodbyes to the orphans early Saturday morning before getting on the bus for one last time.  As we were saying goodbye, I noticed that most of the girls had their braids and pony tails undone in preparation for washing their hair.  The older girls get to do the younger girls and I think every girl anxiously awaits for her opportunity to show her creativity through hair.  It dawned on me that when I got there a week ago, all of the girls were doing each other's hair, after the weekly washing. It seemed appropriate that things had come full circle in a week.

I don't know if it was the perfect combination of team members, my heart breaking, the obstacles we overcame or just the constant reminder of hope, but this trip was my most rewarding so far.  Most likely, it was a combination of all the above.  I never know what to expect on my Haiti trips, but I never expected to climb through mountain valleys in the rain, never expected to push a Land Cruiser out of a foot of mud, never expected to sob on the shoulder of a new friend amid the clouds and definitely never expected to love it all so much.

On my first trip, I left feeling that I wasted time acclimating to my surroundings.  I'm ashamed to admit that I couldn't get as far away from myself as I had hoped.  The odors, heat and humidity consumed me and I regretted letting that happen.  I didn't feel that I had done enough and kicked myself for it.

When I returned a few months later, I felt better about my work, but felt under utilized.  We spent days in lock down due to civil unrest and life was easy in air conditioning and a never ending supply of Coke's and Prestige.  Not that I minded, but once again, I felt that I could do more.

I did more this trip.  More than I ever imagined, especially emotionally.  Usually, I don't let patients into my heart. They stay in my head where I can give the best care.  It's harsh, but emotions can get in the way of nursing and as a Charge Nurse, I try to remain objective and often have to put my emotions on hold.  If you ever work with me, that explains my crude sense of humor in dire situations.  It's inappropriate and I know it, but it's the only way I know how to cope. Something happened during that dire situation; I let Cousonal into my heart. And it hurt.  It still hurts.  I'm beginning to tear up as I write this, just as I do every time I pause to enjoy my children.

It wasn't until our lengthy lay over that I realized how blessed I was to be on a trip with such a great group of people.  I laughed, laughed and laughed some more with these phenomenal people.  While we were getting close to be getting kicked out of the most amazing candy store ever, I realized that my teammates were a blessing themselves. It usually takes people a while to understand my quirky personality, but it felt different this time.  We had a wealth of medical knowledge, support and love within the twelve of us and dare I say, we made an impact on Haiti.

The team minus Marty! 

My adjustment back to life with first world problems wasn't as severe this time around either.  Most likely it was because I was forced to slowly re enter my normal life.  As I mentioned before,  I became very ill my first day home and was pretty much out of commission for over a week.  I saved up all my energy for work and avoided grocery stores, Target and even most people.  I couldn't do the mundane housework chores that make me despise all of our American goods and needs.  I slept, looked at pictures and reflected.  It was almost the perfect transition (minus needing IV fluids).

It's always hard for me to leave the boys for a week.  However, I hope that they will someday realize how important this is to me and use my example to follow their own passion in life.  My children always end up sacrificing more than my absence; as I have a hard time justifying any extras.  However, we end up doing more as a family and spending better time without material items.  I took Jace to the zoo today, just because we could.  It was a great day, as I didn't stress about the small things and let him lead the way.  I love being reminded of the important things in life.

Will I go back?  Absolutely.  Of course.  Without question.  I'd love to go in October, but don't think it is feasible.  April?  Probably.  Guess we will see where God leads me....

Never underestimate the fun of a jetway...

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