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A new heart for Daniel, and while you're at it change mine

Sometimes I forget that there is more than one way of being self centered.

There is the obvious way, the way that most people think of, the person who does whatever they want to do regardless of the consequences to others. Then there is the sneaky way, the way of perfectionism, the person who is so obsessed with getting things right that they forget to actually look at the person in front of them.

I slip into this second type of self centeredness all the time. And it's oh so easy, because you think that you are simply trying to be a better person, while in reality you are caught up in a fog bank of thoughts like, "How am I coming across today? What do people really think of me?" "Oh my gosh, My Spanish = THE WORST THING EVER!" "Did anybody see that? I did finally did it right!" The only problem with all of those thoughts is that they are completely about me, instead of about the person in front of me.

What does the person in front of me look like?

It looks like two parents looking down at their one year old with anxiety. They are uninsured. They have spend most of their savings on this hospitalization. Scratch that, they have no savings. They are purchasing all the medications for their little boy with a credit card that has a 20% interest rate. They want to know why I'm taking his respiratory rate. "Is he better?" "What does Pneumonia mean?"

It looks like a four month old baby from the Goyeneche hospital named Daniel. He was abandoned because he has a congenital heart malformation called truncus arteriosus, which means that his aorta and pulmonary artery share a common branch from his heart. He has to work twice as hard to eat, to breath and to live.

It looks like the nurses here, who want to share life with me. They ask about my family, the weather in California, my plans for the weekend.

If I am over analyzing everything, I miss out on all of this. I miss a chance to reassure the parents that their little "Wawita" is getting better, I miss a chance to hold Daniel and keep his tiny hands from pulling at his O2 cannula, and I miss a chance to get to know my co-workers.

Whenever I see little Daniel, it is a reminder to me. His heart and my heart both have problems. I could complain about how I have to work twice as hard to do things here, because of the language barrier, because I live in a strange city, etc. Or, I could look at him and remember. I chose to be here, he didn't. He needs a new heart and so do I.


  1. I read this to the girls. We then talked about what it meant and then prayed for you and us. :)

  2. Love you guys Christine. Tell the girlies hello for me please. :)


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