This morning when I walked into the surgical ward to see Victoria who was assigned there today, “Dr. Cornelia” was making rounds and checking on a patient. She turned and said to the group of nurses and doctors that the patient would need blood transfusions and that a donor (or two) was needed. The patient’s only family member was his young daughterand could not donate..I did not realize at first that she was asking someone in the group to volunteer…and it did seem that she was looking right at me! So of course I volunteered and so did Victoria.
There was no backing out as the patient’s blood type was AB (universal recipient). So the process of Cambodian blood donation ensued. First we made a trip to the hospital lab and got the okay to proceed. Then a hospital employee drove us to the Cambodian Blood Donation Center (the Cambodian version of the Red Cross, I suppose). The whole process took a bit longer than expected but the units of blood were successfully donated (Victoria’s first time to give blood!) and we received t-shirts proclaiming blood donation plus a package of red pills referred to as vitamins that were instructed to take…two a day for a week). We were then taken to the “snack room” which was quite different from the coke and peanut butter crackers from the Red Cross…It was a full meal…hard boiled egg, two small bananas, some type of pastry, coca-cola (in a can, always served with a straw), and a bottle of water! Needless to say, we did not eat it all…we did not want to offend our hostess and we were able to discreetly (that is, tucked inside the new t-shirt) take some of the food with us..our driver said he would give it to some of the patients waiting to be seen at the hospital.
So it seemed like a great adventure…but the heartwarming part occurred back at the hospital. I went back to the surgical ward and showed the nurses and doctors the new t-shirt and told them of our successful donation. Their response was so touching..”you are so kind”, “you will help this patient to get better”, “thank you” were repeated several times. Something that was not difficult for us meant so much to our new friends. And the patient will have two units of blood ready when he goes to surgery tomorrow.
Our group of students are seeing and doing amazing things and their hearts are forever changed. They have sent wonderful messages to all of our families, friends, and colleagues who have faithfully prayed for us and encouraged us. I am very blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of women. The trip is half over…the next week or so will fly by. We covet your continued prayers!
With a grateful heart…Keary Dryden