Where is my compassion?

March 7, 2011 Amy Disability StuffFamilyFriendsJesusMissionsResidencyThe FutureTRAVEL

Its 4 AM.

I am so tired I can hardly move much less make a life altering decision for someone else’s baby.   I am so tired that despite my fleece, knee high socks and scrubs I am shivering. My body aches, my right hip feels like its going to burst and the muscles around the shiny hip are stained.  I am tired to the point that I am short tempered, angry and I can’t remember why I am doing this no matter how hard I try all I can feel is anger. Anger at the child. At the parent. At the nurse. I try so hard not but all i feel is anger. Its not the baby’s fault. Its not the baby’s fault I say to myself.  As I drag myself to the room of another sick child, I can’t remember the child’s name and awkwardly refer to them as “the sweet baby” or “pretty little girl” or “buddy”.  I am covering 60 kids and I am on hour 23 of call and I just can’t bring myself to care beyond just making it another two hours to sign out when my comrades will get there…..and beyond to 7 hours from now when I can go home and sleep in my warm bed….

I look down at the baby, someone’s child and all I can think is how did I get here and why am I going through this torture.  Where is the compassion I had in medical school? Where is the excitement I had in college? Where is the dream?

I am making preparations for Kenya. I am counting down the hours till I can pack up my little CRV and drive across the mountains home for a night, north for a precious and much needed steroid shot and then boarding a plane to take me EAST…..

and then SOUTH. to warmth.


to more sick children….but somehow in Kenya its different.  Maybe it waking up to the Great Rift Valley with the mist burning off the smoldering African plains, maybe its the craziness, the chaos that is a hospital in rural East Africa, maybe its the grateful smiles of every parent, maybe its quiet morning prayers. Maybe its that life exists on Africa time.  Maybe its that I can’t call for 20 consults.  Maybe its that the internet works ON A GOOD DAY only. Maybe its because for a little while I can be Amy again not Amy the super intern at a top program or Amy who wants a competitive fellowship or chief spot.  I can just be Amy who knows some medicine, who knows what its like to suffer and who works to find some way to bring those things together in a productive way that brings healing. Maybe I can just be.

Its the 4 AM of my 12 month internship and I am tired, cold, sore and angry.

so I do the only thing I know how to do….fly, fly, fly away to somewhere life is harsher yet simpler.   Somewhere that i knew and learned compassion and that I pray will be gracious enough to teach and humble me again.

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