Something on 7East is always beeping. There is quite a variety of beeps, actually. There’s the empty IV bag beep, the downward occlusion beep, the air-in-line beep, the sequential compression device beep, the fall prevention beep, the call light beep, the bathroom beep….the list goes on and on. Some of the beeps are sharp and urgent. Some are softer, fading into the background soundtrack of the night. All of them get annoying. All of them have to be addressed. But tonight I’m just amazed that we have so many at all. Despite all of their efforts to keep me focused on my patient assignment, my mind keeps floating away from Ruby Memorial Hospital, and back to the soft sands of Pochomil on the Pacific coast.
There’s this post-Nicaragua sense of appreciation that descends on most of the RMU group by the end of every trip, a sense of fresh perspective. Anyone who has been on the trip before understands it well. For me, stepping back into an American hospital nearly makes my head spin, seeing hand sanitizer and elevators and medical equipment and computers and medication scanners and all of the other modern-day healthcare amenities that we simply expect to find when we walk through the door. Because this is America. And Americans have it all.
I don't know.
For me, our success will be defined by what happens next. Success will happen when these RMU students become RMU graduates and wade out into this nation of pushovers and cynics and stand up for what’s right when the world tells them it’s wrong. For me, the success lies in DJ Smith when he doesn’t forget about that kid in Nicaragua who wants to be a doctor someday because of him. The success lies in MaryKate O'Hear when she raises her kids one day to appreciate the food on their dinner plates. The success lies in Brianne McLaughlin when she takes the time to talk to kids about working hard and taking pride in their country. The success lies in each and every RMU student who not only cherishes the college education they’re gaining, but then uses it as a tool to enrich the lives of those around them.
So the potential is certainly there. What happens next remains to be seen.
...because there is not a hospital that comes close to it anywhere in Nicaragua.
Like David wrote in the Psalms, they continue to call out to the God who gave them life. For some, that's the only hope that they have. But it is enough.