A Finished Story

July 10, 2009

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One returns from a medical team to Haiti with many stories. Sometimes those stories have an unfinished ending — meaning one doesn’t know the final outcome for the patient involved. One can hope and pray that the patient lives and thrives.

That was true of my trip to Haiti one year ago.

On our first clinic day, a four-year-old girl named Mercile was brought to the clinic with a severe burn. The burn went completely around her right arm from the elbow to her fingers. I was the one who held her on my lap during the painful process of cleaning the wound each day. Mercile was one tough little girl. At the end of each session, her mother, who couldn’t bear to stay in the treatment room and hear the cries of her daughter, expressed her gratitude for the care and love her daughter was receiving. She would also tell Mercile to “di mesi” — “say thank you” — to those treating her. Hard to believe that little Mercile, in the midst of her pain, would actually thank us. As I left with the team at the end of the week, I only knew that Mercile was being transported to a hospital several hours away for possible skin grafts and I prayed there would be no life-threatening infection and minimal scarring.

Last Thursday, on a return trip to Haiti, just before the lunch break, I felt a tug on my skirt and looked down. It was Mercile. She had a smile a mile wide. I scooped her into my arms and she gave me the biggest hug. I was not expecting the tears that came to my eyes. How awesome to see Mercile healthy and completely healed. Skin grafts had been unnecessary and if I hadn’t seen the original wounds I would not have known the trauma she had been through. I am thankful to have a finished ending to this part of Mercile’s story. May she grow into the lovely person I see in her.

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