Friday, December 19, 2014

appendicitis and kangaroos

So...I (suzanne) had a recent bout with appendicitis and got some firsthand experience as a patient in Australia :)

After a day and a half of feeling pretty sick, Nick took me to the emergency department at the hospital where I work, and within 3 hours I was on my way to the operating theatre.  A nurse asked me if I was feeling nervous, but I was in enough pain that I was more than happy for them to just take the silly thing out.  And I felt much better when I woke up.

Nick took very good care of me the during the recovery, and now I'm feeling SO much more like myself.   :)

Throughout this process we were thanking God that I had appendicitis here in Australia, rather than in France or in rural Africa.  It would have been more complicated in France with the language barrier, and could have been dangerous in Africa.

But as we kept saying "better to have surgery here in Australia than have appendicitis later on in Africa", my next thought turned towards the many people who DO need surgery in Africa.  Because the only reason I get access to good healthcare and so many others don't is because of my nationality, and sometimes the unfairness of it all really gets to me.  

When I was being wheeled back for surgery, I was mostly thinking "bring it on, just get this appendix out".  I wasn't worried about whether or not my surgery would be successful, or whether or not the instruments were sterile.  Needing surgery in West Africa comes with many more risks and fears.  I remember one of our interpreters in the Republic of Congo last year telling us "you do surgery here on the Mercy Ship like it's a piece of cake- I don't think you understand, when someone needs surgery here in Congo, we immediately start thinking of death."

Being a patient in need of urgent surgical care myself was very thought provoking, and gave me a new perspective on the needs that we are trying to help meet in West African hospitals.  And also a new perspective of thankfulness for the very good care I received, free from fear.


On a lighter note, my goal of seeing some Australian animals before we left Brisbane was met last weekend.  Nick took me to the Lone Pine Koala reserve and I loved every minute of it.

One of the main things I took away from this visit was how amazing it is that Koalas can look so comfortably asleep while wedged between tree branches.  

Thanks for reading!

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