Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Coma to walking

This little girl came in at the first of the year after being increasing unresponsive over a period of 5 days. Her parents had taken her to a local health center where she received some malaria medicine, but she got worse. They watched at home for 3 more days before bringing her to the hospital.
a little camera shy
Did they live far away?
Nope, less than a kilometer away from the hospital.  They simply hoped she would get better on her own.  When she started having seizures, they decided enough was enough and brought her to us.

When we initially saw her she could not talk, would only moan and open her eyes to pain.  She couldn't even tell where she was hurting.  We started malaria treatment again and tested her for meningitis among other things.  We treated her seizures and started tube feedings through a tube in her nose.  For 4 days she stayed in her coma, then she was alert enough to pull the tube out herself.  The next day she was crying and disoriented.  One week after her initial presentation, she was walking on her own and could tell me her name.

Why do I share this?
First, to underline the lack of hope.   Sometimes our patients come from far away, and they take so long to get here because of transport difficulty.  Sometimes it is money, but sometimes it is just not wanting to admit that there is something wrong.

The denial turns quickly to hopelessness that there was nothing to be done anyway.
Each child like this- that we can bring back from being mostly dead- is another story that is told in our town that helps people believe that maybe kids do have a chance.
We can give hope that there is a chance for life.

Second, I want to point out that little things can make a big difference.  Just giving this girl a way to have safe nutrition, treating malaria with basic drugs, and watching for other problems was enough to give her a chance to make it back from the brink.

Third, it's always good to see answers to prayer.  This is tied into the first reason, but when parents and caregivers hear us praying for the patients, when we remind them to honor and praise God for the times He gives grace- those stories are also told and retold in our community.

So thanks for praying, thanks for being a part of what is going on here, and keep it up.


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