I got a phone call last night about 10:00. It was my neighbor and friend, DeNise. DeNise is an X-ray tech at the hopsital here in Shell. The first words out of her mouth were, “I need a HUGE favor. This is really big, Beth.” I didn’t really know how to respond to this, so, “Ooooookaayyyy??” was all that came out. It was one of those “okays” where you just say it because you have no idea what else to say at that point. “I’m the only one on call, and there was an accident and there’s four people waiting to get X-rays. I didn’t know who else to call. Can you help?” Of course, the first thought that came to my mind was, “How in the world can I help?” But, before these words could come out, DeNise said, “I just need someone to run X-ray film through a machine for me.” After a long pause, another “Ooookaaayy.” came out. I thought long and hard. DeNise is, afterall, my adopted mom down here in Shell (she’s cooked many a great meal for me!) and I know how hard she works. So, she wouldn’t call unless she was really desparate.
I get to the X-ray room at the hospital and as soon as I walk in the door, DeNise takes me to a room in the back and says, “This is how you do it.” She continues to show me, in the light, HOW I would do something. Of course, the X-rays can’t be exposed to light. So, she then closes the door and says, “Ok. Do it.” Remember – it is PITCH BLACK in this room. So, I’m feeling my way to open the contraption that holds the X-ray film (we didn’t have time to mess with the techincal terms for this stuff!), feel my way to the machine to run the film through, then feel my way BACK to a drawer to get NEW film to put back in the contraption film-holder thingy. I open the door, and DeNise hands me another one. All I could think of at this point was, “What if I totally screw up these X-rays?!?! This is insane! Am I really qualified to be doing this?!?!”
About 30 or 40 minutes later, a couple doctors (who had ordered the X-rays) came in to check them out. One is a doctor here at the hospital, the other is a doctor that’s just volutneering here for about a month. After a few minutes, the volunteer doctor says, “You must be one of the medstudents.” Almost in unison, Dr. Nelson and I both tell him that I’m actually the first grade teacher at the school. I will never forget the volunteer’s response…”Oh.” It didn’t even phase him that the first grade teacher is developing (or whatever the correct term is!) X-rays at midnight! Come to think of it, Dr. Nelson didn’t really respond either when he walked in and saw me working. Hmmm…
Well, after doing about 10 – 15 X-rays on the FIRST patient, the next one came in. This guy had swallowed a fish bone, so I was pretty excited to see how these looked! This all continued on until about 1:00am. By this time, I was feeling pretty confident in my X-ray developing abilities and was moving right along! As I walked home, I couldn’t help but laugh. Where else in the world would something like this EVER happen? Never in my life would I have thought I’d be doing this on the mission field. If nothing else, I was able to get a small glance into the life of an X-ray technician. I think I’ll stick with being a teacher for now, though.