Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bear Scare

No, not a "real" bear. Not in Kenya.

But we do have a large, matted, much-loved (and very unhygienic) stuffed bear at Maseno Mission Hospital. He has served long and well as a comforting pillow for our patients. He arrived here several years ago, the gift (after $62 "duty"/ransom was paid) of U.S. church friends. His seams have been re-sewn countless times, and his fur has been rubbed off in several places. The bear disappeared awhile ago from the wards. He had been relegated to an ignominious existence in a storage room. When we found him, his stitched-on smile had frayed to threads, and his once-shiny nose was dulled by dust.

His eyes were still bright, however, so over the weekend I brought him home to Rotary House for a bath.

First, however, he and I spent a few hours in storage-room "surgery." The bear's head was flopping, his seams were split, and his stuffing was well over half-gone. Fortunately, the somewhat powdery remnant of a foam rubber mattress was folded next to him. After a few hours with bandage scissors, my knuckles were blistered and my sinuses were clogged. But the mattress was recycled, and the bear had new "muscle mass." Most importantly, he also had a respectable bear-belly once again.

Before his Omo bubblebath, I stitched up seams, embroidered a new mouth and added an unfortunately lascivious-looking felt tongue. After his sun-dried air-freshening, I polished his nose with magic marker. Sawa! Our good-old Bear is now as real as the Velveteen Rabbit. And for the moment, at least, he shuffles again between Wards I and II. This is as close as I'll ever get to being a surgical nurse, and it's not much of a mission legacy. But "we can do only small things with great love..."

And with great apologies to our visiting infection control nurses.


Kim said...

Love it!

Nancy Rowe said...

I love it too! What joy you bring to those around you in miraculous ways! YOU GO GIRL!

Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny said...

Asante sana. Ya' gotta' laugh...

Anonymous said...

Your "surgery" is just as valid (and probably just as healing) as those with fancier degrees posted on their walls. It takes a very special kind of skill to heal something as important as a Teddy Bear! Love you!! l&h&b
(my word verification for this was excope - no mitre either?)

Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny said...

Hm. Given the current state of affairs in the Anglican communion, perhaps it's just as well not to ask. Love you, too!