The Lived Experience of Chief Nurses in Military Operations Other Than War -- M. Turner
Profound experiences were imprinted forever in the memories of these nurses. Extraordinary effort in extraordinary circumstances demonstrated without doubt that human caring raises us ever closer to our full potential.
And then I went up to... Went on this helicopter and went up to... this mountain? It was a very famous mountain. So they let us off at the top of this mountain and said "All you have to do is walk up the hills to the camps themselves." We got up to the top and saw that the rest of it was up another hill. You walked up to that one and there was another hill. .... I got up... I walked up there, I sat down on the ground because I was so tired and I was not in physical shape. I mean I was totally out of shape at the time. I had a back pack with supplies and everything in it. So I got up to the top of the hill, sat down on the ground, and a man came by with a donkey and he wanted me to ride the donkey but they had told us that we were not to get on any animals, to stay away from them. So I got up to the top of the hill and when I got up to the top of the hill, this man said, "We were watching you, you almost stepped in this land mine." And I thought I was going to faint. I just stood there and I started trembling. I said, "Are you kidding?" He said, "No." This man had weapons all over his shoulders. He had a Russian gun and he was standing there. And we saw them all there. We got up to the top of the hill and you could hear this wailing. You could hear it when we got off the plane and we thought it was like the wind or something, we didn't know what it was. We got to the top of the hill and it was this conglomeration of national troops, aid agencies, and everyone else who had come there to give medical care to these people. ... we went across this little pond and it was about... 12". They had water falling around this pond that had cholera. All these patients had cholera. ... we went in and most of them were kids and most of them were dehydrated. They had a measles outbreak and they had all those people in close proximity. And I'm thinking, "Well the ones that don't have measles are going to get measles because it's going to go from one to the other." But actually it didn't. They used good infection control techniques.
The patient who committed suicide...I think that that one incident was probably the absolute hardest that any of us ever, ever had to deal with....it was such a painful and trying time for everybody that... Even those who were the least involved felt... Felt the emotion and the impact of it all. It was very traumatic.