I didn't mention it before, but I have been planning a trip to Greece for the last few months. It has taken some time to plan as half of the time I am here, I'll be volunteering on a refugee camp which I now know houses Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Two dear friends and I are here now and I just wanted to check in. We will be spending about 9 days on camp (though we are living in an apartment in a nearby town) doing whatever needs to be done. So far we have helped arrange some storage, sort clothing, distribute bicycles, set up a clothes shop, and teach some first aid (with help of forgiving translators).
This may all sound very mundane, but it feels important. Important to help these people (read: people) to feel safe, comfortable, and normal. There is just so much going on politically, I have barely a meager grasp of the details. But what matters is that these are people in a terrible situation that could happen to any of us.
Anyway, there will, I'm sure, but a f…
Midnight: Flank pain. Been seen in the ER three times already. "It just hurts."
0330: Woman thinks temp is 108 due to using a 50 year old unreadable mercury thermometer.
Midnight: 30 year old with pain. Was in the ER this afternoon, left against medical advice with a diagnosed problem. Didn't fill prescription,
didn't make follow up appointment, pain worsens.
0520: Shortness of breath that "just started" according to facility staff, been going all night according to patient.
Midnight: 20 year old throwing up for 1 hour. Doesn't know what to do.
0400: 40 year old with weakness for two days. Why now? It just didn't get better.
Midnight: 22 year old male with a fever.
2310: 29 year old with anxiety.
0230: 24 year old. Supposed leg infection. Just left er waiting room against medical advice. Walked to payphone, Called 911
0100: Short of breath. Just needed a chat
0245: 55 year old with blood in urine since noon.
0445: 26 year old with a…
Sometimes this job is like a race. Like you're carrying this person on your back, and it's a messy race. You're tripping and sweating and you almost drop them. It's bouncy and there's trash everywhere. And if you can just get them over that line. To the line and throw them over. Throw them over and into the ER, you're obligation is fulfilled. Your job is done. You've won the race. And for a long time, that was it. Mission accomplished and I wasn't responsible for anything else. I didn't care about anything else. Get them to the hospital. Dust my hands off and pat myself on the back. But somehow, they crept in. What did happen? Did they live? For the first time I asked myself. I began to bring them home. I put them on a shelf and they stared down at me. They said, did you run fast enough? Did you fall? Did you drop me?
You threw me onto this island- over your line, but was it salvation? I left in a helicopter. I left in a c…