In the immediate aftermath of the flood this year, I had been praying for Townsville and felt a little useless being so far away. So when I got the phone call asking if I would consider heading to Townsville to relieve/backfill at the hospital, I wholeheartedly said, “Yes.” This is what I love about my job. At the core of every health professional is a heart and a calling to serve and care for those in great need. To be able to say that kind word, be that listening ear, be the helping hands and take the pressure off the nurses and the patients who experienced complete devastation is what I would consider the epitome of walking out my call.
Throughout my deployment, I had the privilege of caring for patients who had been injured during the floods and work with nurses who had lost everything. To hear their stories and witness what they’ve gone through is absolutely heartbreaking, yet through it all, they demonstrated such resilience and determination to band together and push through.
While their homes sat in stagnant mud with mould infiltrating their carpets and walls, patients were dealing with severely broken ankles and hips from trying to escape the flood waters, and the nurses kept showing up for work to care for them even though their own homes are in complete disarray.
Every staff and community member I met was so welcoming, supportive and grateful for the extra help. I even had a doctor stop and personally thank me for being there. He said that because the Logan nurses had come, he didn’t have to cancel or close the operating theater. So the patients who needed brain surgery for traumatic brain injuries, tumors and strokes could have their life-saving surgery done without delay.
I had to choke back the tears because I had felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t gotten my hands dirty and “helped” with the cleanup. But in that moment, all the disappointment of not being able to clean someone’s house just melted away. I would never have expected that a simple but unhesitating, “Yes I’ll go” could impact me, my patients or a community like that. This one comment just blew my mind at the enormity and weightiness of our obedience to say YES to the moments that are placed before us.
I thought I’d never get to meet those patients who needed those operations, but on my second last day, one was my patient and as I introduced myself to him, got his background story and heard from him first hand how much it meant that his surgery could still go ahead on time, I almost buckled at the knees.
There are certainly pieces of my heart I’ll be leaving behind in Townsville, but so many wonderful moments and memories that I will hold onto forever. This has been such a humbling, eye-opening and motivating experience for me and I am truly grateful that I got the opportunity to help an amazing hospital see its community get back on its feet.