Money can’t buy everything!
Recently I was thinking of situations that have made my life rewarding. I do believe I have a fantastic life. Would not change it for anything, came to realize that money can’t buy some of the most rewarding situations that I have been involved in the past.
Since I like stories, I must use one of my stories to illustrate this point. I usually tear off when I think of it. I hope you like it!
I am going to entitle my story “Dr Ricardo” , about ten years ago I was asked to donate some of our work/time to an organization called “Children’s Surgery International”. We did and provided a website to promote their cause. It was nice to receive a certificate of appreciation at a fancy dinner. A few years later I was asked to participate in one of their missions to help children who had been born with cleft palads in different parts of the world. I accepted and took the position as logistics manager and translator to a mission to Chihuahua Mexico. The group had four surgeons, six nurses and seven people who would help to play with the kids and aid as needed.
My job was to help the group to go through Mexican immigration and translate for the mothers and families from the time they provided their children to us at the time of surgery to the instructions needed for after care for their children. It was exciting and the comradery that I experienced with the group was fantastic. Surgeons who donated their time free of charge, nurses as well. We took many medicines and equipment from the US to Mexico. We had some issues in immigration, but we were able to resolve them easily once the nature of the mission was explained.
I was part of the team selecting the children to be operated. There were about 75 families wanting to have the operation, we had enough resources and time for 35 surgeries, but 37 were selected. We all agreed to work extra time and do whatever it was needed.
I had to wear scrubs which made me look like one of the surgeons and early on, families would refer to me as Dr. Ricardo. The first couple times I corrected them indicating I was just a translator. Since it happened so often, I let them call me Dr. Ricardo ?
I thought my job was going to be very easy, however on the first translation I almost fainted. There was a mother with an 8 month child. As she handed her child to the surgeon she started to cry and ask with broken words to take care of her precious child. As I started to empathize with her, my throat closed up and I had to translate to the surgeon. Quickly recovered and translated what she was saying. The surgeon was awesome and smiled, saying with his smile and embracing the child that all will be ok. I then took the woman out and spoke briefly to her. Told her about our American surgeons experience and their abilities. There were several situations similar to this one and then came one of the most rewarding experiences on the trip. A handsome boy we will call Pedro for this story came. He was 14 years of age, he came alone
to the surgery room and he was nervous. I asked him, Pedro how are you doing? – He answered “Bla ta eh no” I couldn’t understand what he said to me. He had a hole on the roof of his mouth and his enunciation was very hard to understand. I asked again and he answered “Te lo ka da “ this time I acted as if I understood and took him to the surgery room. I was able to hold his hand until he felt asleep for surgery and explained the process to him. He was one of the last patients we operated on the last day. The next day was a Sunday and the task at hand was to go through the hospital, check on the kids. By now we had three days of surgeries from 7 am to 9 pm, we were tired and of course I was Dr. Ricardo to everyone. I was the person providing the instructions in Spanish for after care, given to me by the real doctors in English of course. The surgeons instructed me to check on some of the kids for bleeding and make sure the kids were comfortable with minimal pain.
As I walked through the floor which had 37 beds in this large floor, Pedro’s mother held my arm and said: Dr. Ricardo, I have to share a story with you. Please share it with the rest of your team. Pedro came out of surgery at about 9:00 pm and I was by his side, he slept deeply and woke up at about midnight and yield at me and said “Mom do I speak ok now?” She answered yes honey you do. Pedro then said: “Great, I thought it was just a dream”. He was approaching puberty, he wanted to be heard and to be similar to all of the other kids. HIs mother then told me, Pedro woke up again at 3:00 am and 7:00 am and the same thing happened. He kept thinking it was a dream, but he now speaks like everyone else ? Her last words were thanks for changing my son’s life for the better…. As she said this, a warm feeling came into me, my heart rejoiced. I knew at that moment, she was right, we had changed Pedro’s life. It was very rewarding to me. A few minutes later I shared the story with my team. My team said, Ricardo, thanks for the story. It was a very exhausting experience but well worth it! We changed children’s lives …
Do you believe we all have the ability to change people’s lives?
Do you have a situation in which you knew there was not enough money to replicate it?
What life experience have you had which gave you incredible personal reward?