Thursday, January 14, 2010

Triumph Comes

Once in a while I come across extraordinary stories that are made even more special by retelling.

Florence is one of my nurses on night shift.  She's from Uganda, and has been in the States for 20 years.  She left to escape the political and civic unrest in her country.  Truth to tell, I am glad to have met her because Uganda, when I was very young, meant only gory stories from the book The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin.

In 1986, at the height of war, Florence was on her ninth month of pregnancy, and one night,  felt the first pangs of labor.  Her family took her to the nearest clinic in their village, unable to brave the flying mortar and face the violent, bloody riots in the streets, to go to the hospital.  Foremost on everybody's mind was to escape.

She was in labor for hours but the baby wouldn't come out.  She was the only patient, and the doctors and nurses wanted to leave.  The country was in a big chaos, and survival and self-preservation was the priority.  Finally, after more than 12 hours, the baby was delivered, dead.  Florence's water broke a long time ago, and for whatever reason, the amniotic fluid had continued to seep, and the baby died in her womb.

The baby was delivered, and the doctors and nurses left.  They said the clinic was the safest place for Florence.  If anybody happened to come by, they were unlikely to hurt a newly-delivered woman.  So she lay there on the delivery table by herself, while all around her the war raged on, her baby gone. For how long, I forgot to ask.

She said she wasn't even able to name the baby, and because of the general chaos, somebody just offered a portion of their private property to bury it in.  That place is now a gymnasium.  I said to go to that place and just offer a prayer the next time she goes home.

This story is special for two reasons.  First, she has never told anyone (at least, at work) about it except me (she said it's okay to write about it here), and she's been there years before I even got employed.  Second, Florence never got pregnant again after that, and had just had a total hysterectomy last October, meaning, she will never be able to conceive anymore. 

She likes to cook African food for the staff, and has a recipe for me, which I will share next time.  She is a very good nurse, and said I inspire her (thank God for that). 

I like to meet and work with people whose passion for life is deep and touching.  Their experiences and outlook make my life all the more meaningful and purposeful.  Sometimes, we don't fully appreciate what we have until we hear stories of survival and triumph.

______________

The recent earthquake in Haiti is heartbreaking.  My thoughts are with the survivors, and hope they get through this difficult time.

All my prayers for everybody.  Let's be thankful for the gift of life.

65 comments:

rainfield61 said...

You have another good and real story.

America is a place to provide all these mixed experiences.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

Brian Miller said...

wow. what a special story...thanks for sharing this one. my heart and prayers go out to haiti as well...

Icy BC said...

Story like this does make our life's trouble seems small and unworthy to talk about.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Oh, you Girl, am glad you're back in the circulation. Yes, I thoroughly digested every word you wrote. What a poignant humanitarian storyline. This can be made into a book. I am sorry to hear of Florence (my youngest daughter third name is Florence) plight. Not one of us can be a real soldier in the face of adversity where one life is deem more precious to save than our own. Very very sad.

Florence can still name the baby even if her spirit now joins with our Maker. The likes of Idi Amin not to mention our very own like him will have a lot to answer for before the Great Judge on Judgment Day.

Anyway, Florence is comforted by the Beatitude Chapter of Matthew 5.

Bless you Cherie. Where have you been? How are the boys?

Am going to be a Grandma in three months time. :)

Whitemist said...

A heartbreaking story, but I also look forward to a recipe. I have very little experience with African food and would love to cook it.
An earthquake, a Hurricane (or 3) are always sad things and I know friends who have lost people there.
Prayers are important.

Ricepatty said...

Florence has quite a story her life has come so far she is an imspiration to those around her I am sure. How fitting that she should become a nurse being named Florence. Thank you for sharing this with us. Haiti is on my mind and in my prayers.

Judy Sheldon-Walker said...

The stories of those around us are plentiful and poignant. Her story is such a brave one. In her 9 month she endured so much and only has her life and the memory.

Yes, she should name her precious angel. I would name him or her angel, as babies have a special place in heaven.

God bless her and those in Haiti. God bless you for sharing.

Ricardo said...

Wow what a story! She sounds like an amazing woman who survived lots of adversity. Very sad about the baby and just imagine there are many stories like heres going on in those war torn nations. Each one a tragedy.

The the earthquake in Haiti is very bad. Hope they get all the help they need.

betchai said...

this is a very inspiring story, Che, so hard to imagine going through these trials, but she passed it and is really an inspiration.

hope you have a good weekend, Che.

Gypsy said...

What a terribly sad and poignant story. Florence must have felt so terribly alone after everyone fled the clinic with not even a baby to hold after all those hours of pain and fear.

This really touched me Cherie and I thank you for sharing this story. It certainly makes me appreciate my life more.

RNSANE said...

Cherie, this was a touching and sad story. As an RN, I've worked with many excellent nurses from other countries who fled their homelands to escape terrible oppression and conditions and I am richer for having worked with them and having known them, both professionally and personally.

Like all of us, the scenes from Haiti are heartbreaking. Prayers and donations need to continue for many months to come for these already poor and suffering citizens.

Middle Ditch said...

Great to see you again. This is such a moving story. As Icy said, what are we moaning about?

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Oh i feel like crying reading this post.

SE'LAH... said...

I have missed coming here and thought I'd stop by tonight. Now I know why.

This is a heartfelt account, on so many different levels. Do send my love to Florence.

I truly enjoyed this post.
one love.

rainfield61 said...

Just come back to say hello to you.

努力 said...

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Sandra said...

You are missed; hope things are well with you and your family.

full said...

how do u do?

寧年 said...

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doroastig said...

kummusta na kaibigan?
busy ba

郭君 said...

Never hesitate to hold out your hand; never hesitate to accept the outstretched hand of another...................................................

Ebie said...

kumusta ka na Cherie?

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dell said...

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dell said...

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懿綺 said...

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Misalyn said...

Hi Ma;am Cherie. Napadaan to greet you a happy, happy natal day! enjoy your day. God bless.

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Ann said...

Tell her, her baby is in her heart. She doesn't have to go back to Uganda to be with him. I too lost my baby, and I think of him in my heart.

You must be a special friend for her to tell you her most intimate story.

Whitemist said...

I have missed your posts, hope to see more!

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Whitemist said...

I have missed your stories

Ak Sağlık said...

Thanks a lot!!!!
So Gooood Page..….
NIce post
Mikroenjeksiyon

cherry lyn said...

your stories were inspiring...
I am hoping I could get in touch with you.

Jinnifer richard said...

nice post. good luck to you

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