Our very own physician assistant Sarah Thebarge is launching a book this week!
In WELL: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa, Sarah writes about the months she spent volunteering at a hospital in Togo, which was ranked by the United Nations as the Least Happy Country in the World.
In her first week at the hospital in Togo, Sarah witnessed more deaths than she’d seen in ten years of practicing medicine in the U.S. Patients died of tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, diseases that are easily preventable or treatable with the right resources. Because Togo doesn’t have pediatric immunizations, children died of hepatitis B and meningitis. Sarah took care of a 5-month-old baby girl who died of tetanus because her mom pierced her ears with an unsterile needle.
Sarah contracted malaria and was a patient herself in the hospital for a few days. And then...the town ran out of water. For days, the temperatures soared over 100 degrees, and there was no way to cool off. People in the village began drinking out of contaminated cisterns because they were so thirsty, and died at even more alarming rates.
At her lowest point, Sarah contemplated returning to the U.S. early. But then she remembered the story of Sisyphus. In the Greek myth, Sisyphus makes the gods angry, and he’s condemned to an eternal punishment of carrying a heavy rock uphill -- but just as he reaches the top of the hill, the rock rolls back down and he has to start over again. And again. And again.
The famous novelist Albert Camus wrote an essay in which he said that we must think of Sisyphus as the hero of the story, as the victor not the victim. We must even think of Sisyphus as happy.
How could he possibly be happy? Sarah wondered. She kept researching the myth until she came across a piece by Stephen Mitchell, in which he said that we must think of Sisyphus as happy for one reason.
And it’s this: Because Sisyphus fell in love with the rock.
He fell in love with the rock, so it was nothing for him to put it on his back and carry it higher.
At that moment, it dawned on Sarah that the reason she needed to stay at the hospital, the reason she needed to continue working 28-hour shifts, the reason she needed to stay with people who were suffering and in pain -- and the reason she went into medicine in the first place -- was because of love.
We’re proud to have Sarah as part of our team of excellent, compassionate professionals who work seven days a week to provide care for our patients here at Golden Gate Urgent Care.
We hope you’ll purchase a copy of her book to read more about the story.
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