Mission Doctors Association

Why overseas work?

Thoughts from Lou Coda, the night before departing the U.S. to return to Uganda:


Is it because my heart will soon be reaching out to each person at the bedside scene of an ill African child? The patient suffering in the bed, the caregiver, anxious and weary at his side, and the other family and friends who have come to help.  At times the care is straightforward, and other times a broader differential diagnosis of treatment plan is needed.  For a few, I will need the willingness to admit that the illness is beyond the care available.


Is it because I look forward to meeting travelers from a multitude of countries who also find it important to reach out to others in need?


Who enjoy the adventure of traveling and are not afraid to take risks, put up with a few hardships, and who enjoy the simple pleasures of a visit, a shared meal, or a game of cards where the stakes might be a few M&Ms or a stick of gum?


Is it because back in the U.S. the day-to-day drudgeries of paperwork, budgets, reimbursement rates, production, and documentation have buried the patients and their needs so deeply I have forgotten why I went into medicine?  Am I forgetting what it means to be a human being, to help and not worry about the cost?  Have I lost my way without a compass to point my steps in the direction of life-giving service?


Is it because deep down there is a gentle voice, a quiet movement, the slight urge that says: Act, Choose, Believe, Trust, Reach out, Let go, Live, Love?


In the end I go because I must.  To not go is to slowly drift into an unawakable  sleep, to go is to wake from a long slumber, to breathe the free air, walk the dusty path, take the hand of God, and know that I am alive.

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