I'm not a doctor, a nurse, or any sort of medical professional. Yet, I spent two weeks in full surgical scrubs in a Vietnam hospital, managing patient data, assisting in the operating room, and otherwise doing what's needed on a medical mission with the International Extremity Project. It's physically and emotionally exhausting, the heat and humidity are powerful, and I enjoy every minute of it.
Until my first IEP mission two years ago, my medical expertise was typically that of a patient -- or a parent's mom. Truth be told, one of the circumstances that got me there is the fact that I'm a klutz. I started working on the IEP website after seeing a photo on my podiatrist's wall. Then in 2012, the team invited me to join a mission trip to Vietnam's Mekong Delta to work at Can Tho Central General Hospital.
It's hard to explain the experience because there are so many dimensions to being there. As soon as we landed in Ho Chi Minh City this time, everything felt familiar to me, only better. (Probably because the flights were much smoother and I didn't spend my first several hours in Vietnam throwing up...)