Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Struggle for Life

Sept. 22, 2007

Friday, the little girl who had the truck fall on her became my personal responsibility. I haven't really been working in a certain area since I'm still learning everything and watching other nurses.

So when James did his rounds and checked on her, he told me it would be my job to watch her for the day. Already earlier that morning she's had trouble breathing through the trach tube. Every time she started to come out of unconsciousness, she'd start to panic, breathing shallowly and bringing up mucous that would get caught and hinder her breathing. I sat next to her, checking vitals every 10 min. and helping her when she needed to get mucous out by suctioning until I had no breath left.

We had a couple close calls throughout the day, and when I got off work, she was too tired to breathe adequately by herself, so Sarah & Liz taught the family how to bag her through the night. She was constantly on my mind that evening & today at church. I had watched her for so long that her little face was imprinted on my mind and I could hear her labored breathing. She was doing well earlier today, and I think we were all thinking optimistically that if she just would wake up, it would be ok. The surgery had gone well and we kept telling the other little boy in the ward that soon he would have a new playmate.

Later today, Liz, Sonja, and I went on a walk and decided to stop by to see how she was doing. James was there and told us that her Oxygen sat. was still fine with the family bagging air into her, but he had noticed that her pupils were now fixed and dilated...meaning she was brain dead. I watched silently as he approached the family at her bedside and explained with someone translating in Nangere. He detached the bag and I quickly left, not wanting to see the life ebb out of her. I tried to control myself as I still had to smile at people and choke out greetings as we left the hospital.

The three of us walked out into the fields and rice paddies to watch the sunset and I cried for the young life that was so quickly gone. Some people say that I will become used to it and not be so emotionally attached, but I hope that never happens. Tears are cleansing and I will cry all year for these people because I love them. I will feel for them and just pray that God helps me to still give them the best care that I can with my limited abilities.

I stayed out with Sonja and Liz until it was dark, singing, praying, and talking. I had been praying and hoping before I came to Chad that I would get along well with them and I found out that they had been praying much the same about me. God answered our prayers even more than I had hoped. They are both filled with the same adventurous spirit as me and have an openness to God that is refreshing. We are going to have an amazing year together.

I am sitting on my cot right now, writing this as crickets chirp loudly and mosquitoes buzz on the other side of my netting. The drums and singing nearby has started to die down so that I can finally fall asleep...


  1. Sarah, I am so sorry that you have to "experience" so many bad things already. I know how difficult it is to watch someone die and I don't think you will ever get used to it and pray that you will soon be able to bear it. Enough sadness from me....

    The soccer team is doing better. We are 2-2 this year. They are finally learning to play like a team after a VERY rocky start. Roseburg beat them! and of course, Phoenix. But they beat Livingstone and a new team from Ashland. Only four more games left. I might actually get to go to tournament this year with the team. That would be nice. Maggie sends her love. Miss you and pray for you every day. Love, Lynda H

  2. Hey Sarah:
    I cried as I read your posts, both with sympathy and sorrow and with joy as I watch you grow with God. You are in my prayers, daily.

  3. Sarah,

    We read your blog with tears in our eyes. Thank you for your openness and sincerity. Please know that you are in our prayers. We are so glad that you are making connections. What a blessing that you and your new friends are all on the same wave length! Have a great week--we look forward to reading your next post.

    The Peinados

  4. Hey Sarah,
    I'm praying for you and am glad that you allow yourself to empathize with these people- a good nurse must resist the urge to become hardened. Caring is so much more than just caring for the physiology of a person- it requires an emotional commitment to the person as well and you are so good at that- I wish you could see Manna this Sabbath...God is doing wonders here at's different... Love ya, Lisa Hulse

  5. Hi Sarah,
    You are in our prayers. We had tears for you when we read your story...but the interesting thing is that we had already heard about it from James. He was a student at Forest Lake when we were there before we came to Milo. Small world when God is in control. God bless you.

  6. Sarah, sounds like you are getting your feet wet after a difficult start. I like that you are not afraid to feel with them and I really like that you are not going to give up on them. As I was reading this blog I realized that this would be a great worship for my A&P class here. Maybe it will inspire them to do the same. If you want to get me a list of things that you would need out there for the hospital or for yourself and the others let me know and I will try to get my classes to do something for you. I have recieved your messages and texts. I was slightly confused by the number that came up on my caller ID but then figured it out. I will keep you in my prayers and continue to ask for God's direction in your life. Hope your day goes wonderfully. Tell everyone there that you are all in my prayers.