We are a family of three; Andrew, Jodie and Jessica (aged 18) from Tasmania, Australia who are currently serving in Douala, Cameroon, Central Africa on the M/V Africa Mercy, the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world, through Mercy Ships International. God has called us on a journey that has been many years in the making. For this season we call Africa home, as we seek to bring hope and healing to the poorest of the poor.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Vampire Diaries

It wasn't "Twilight" but there was plenty of blood involved! A definite highlight of the Academy school year is Work Experience Week and this year, Jess was finally old enough to work down in the hospital. She spent a week shadowing her youth leader and Senior Lab Technician, Jenny.
Jenny didn't go easy on Jess and she worked long and hard, on her feet all day and even returning to work one evening to assist with blood donation for an emergency surgery. Turn outs Jess is a natural vampire and Jenny decided that Jess could even have go at drawing blood herself. She was so proud of herself as she "got it on my first try".
Mum even dropped down to have her blood typed (by Jenny, not quite brave enough to have her child stick her)!
Jess kept a diary during her week of work exercise. These are some of her thoughts....
Day 1: "On the first day I went around the lab and did QC (quality control). That includes checking temperatures of all the incubators and fridges. Next we made sure all things were in date and all machines worked, using synthetic blood. After I learnt what each machine did briefly and did blood bank, which is checking blood types and cross matching blood donors. There were a few donors so I learnt how to stick a needle into someone. I learnt about antigens and antibodies, so like which blood types could go with who. I was also called back after dinner which was really interesting..."

Jess and Jenny

Day 2: "Today I basically did a little micro-learning about gram positive and gram negative cells. Also did blood smears. Mainly what we did was run in and out of the OR giving blood that we took from donors. I saw my first bit of surgery which was cool...."

I remember Jess saying to me, "Mum, today I went into the OR and saw a guy with half his face peeled off!"


Day 3: "Today was an exciting day. I started with QC and then haematology, working with CELL-DYN, seeing the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells, haemoglobin, platelets....other. Then I worked with  a little micro-biology and learnt how to streak plates and made up micro scan ID plates-they identify the bacteria based on chemical reactions and give antibiotic sensitivity. I also learned how to use a small needle and drew some of Jenny and Scott's blood. It was very good and I got it on my first try!...."


Day 4: "On day four we did QC the just jumped around from blood bank, haematology, looking at stained streaks. Typing in more patient information, Safety Committee meeting, community meeting, departmental devotions, coags...."

Ready to run into the OR to deliver life saving blood donated by crew members.

Taking blood all by herself!

Day 5: "I did more blood bank and drew blood! I did a bit more micro and haematology......"

What Jenny had to say!
Work experience on board the ship is an amazing opportunity to see how the ship operates outside the walls of the Academy. The kids get the chance to see where Mum and Dad work and to become a little more involved in the day to day running and mission of the ship!
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men"
Colossians 3:23