asking why. . .
It was midnight. . . I had been at my patient’s bedside for 5 hours, doing everything I could to bring up her oxygen, to give her comfort, to comfort her mother, to hope for another miracle after 8 months of miracles. Holding the breathing tube open between my forefingers, I rested my head on the bed for a minute.
The Maasai mom in the next bed looked at me quizzically and kindly. She speaks neither English nor Swahili, so our communication was limited, but I could imagine what she was thinking. . .
“Why, why is this American in this room right now, at midnight? Why is at the bedside talking to that tiny baby, arranging her blankets, obsessively checking the oxygen and heart rate. . .”
I was asking myself the same question, actually. I knew there was nowhere else I would possibly be at that moment, but the why. I discussed a patient in casualty and one in the NICU with our clinical officer while I continued to hold her trach in place, waiting for the surgeons to come secure it. Everything seemed surreal at that moment, perhaps because of my exhaustion. Why here, now, in this moment, in Kijabe at this bedside?
No specific answer came – except that this is the person and the place where God has me for this moment.
We were watching Wonderwoman last night with the girls, and the pilot is asked why he is fighting. . .why he continues to try to stop the inevitable war. . . He says, “I don’t know, but I guess I’ve got to try. . . My father told me once, when you see something wrong happening in the world you can either do nothing, or you can do something, and I tried doing nothing. . .”
Sometimes in medicine, I feel like my training and experience have taught me what to do. But some days, situations are new an unpredictable, and I have to trust that because I am the person in that place at that time, that what is asked of me is to try. To do something, not nothing.
So, I found myself quoting Wonderwoman when talking to a friend about why we do what we do. . .a reason to stay up night after night, to see patient after patient, to train, to share, to pour out when I am at my end.
“For I know, that only Love can truly save the World. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be. . .”