Today has left us exhausted! We experienced anger, outrage, disgust, joy, excitement, impatience, and LOVE all over a period of 12 hours. As I told you in my previous blog, we spent our Tuesday in Mulago Hospital (the national referral hospital). We started our morning early by leaving the apartment at about 6:40am. We drove to Gaba and picked up our teammates David and Joseph. While we were doing the pick up, Jill took some clothes to James’ mother who has been staying by his side and is displaced from her home in Mubende. We then took off for Konge. This is the slum district that we worked in on Monday and we had plans to pick up two young girls that needed care at Mulago. One of the girls (Tendo) and her mother were ready to go with all of her medical records in hand. The other girl (Nakiganda) was no where to be found. We sent David, Joseph, Lydia (a school teacher) and Tendo’s mother to find Nakiganda (pronounced Nachaganda). She was found, in her house, alone. A boy showed up and helped our crew get Nakiganda dressed. Before they were done, Nakiganda’s grandmother showed up. She was evidently quite rude and initially argued that the girl was fine and did not need to go anywhere. After some insistence, the grandmother said, “fine, I really don’t care what you do with her, but I am not going to the hospital”. So we loaded up the little girl and headed to Mulago.
Mulago is like a VA hospital, but with much worse facilities. Everything is slow and people are moved from one clinic to the next. If you have ever seen the movie, "The Last King of Scotland", your would recognize Mulago. The hospital scenes for the movie were filmed here.
As I discussed yesterday, Nakiganda is at least 6 years old, but at the hospital today, she weighed 8kg and was 80cm tall. That is 17.6 lbs and 2’8” tall. She really looks like she is 2 years old. We stopped at the store to pick up some diapers for her, so that we didn’t have a surprise during the day!
We signed both girls in to be seen.
|Tendo is bigger and 1 year younger than Nakiganda!|
Tendo was signed in to the surgery ward, and Nakiganda was signed in to the pediatrics ward. Turns out that Nakiganda got to be seen first out of our two, about 2 hours after we arrived. She saw an older pediatrician, and he feels like she would show a world of improvement with a month of good nutrition, love and stimulation. He diagnosed her with “Severe Failure to Thrive” and “Malnutrition”. He referred her to the neurology clinic on Thursday. I could not get him to admit that this was the smallest 6 year old he had ever seen but he would say her case was “extreme”. He thinks that she was probably born premature and then has never had adequate nutrition. He also feels that maternal deprivation has played largely into this. We were able spend time with her today, giving her juice boxes, roll-eggs, g-nuts and some cookies. She started the day with no facial expression and making no noise. By the time we took her home, she had laughed, smiled, talked some and really made progress with just one day of love. When we took her home, her grandmother accused us of feeding her too much and she was angry that now she was going to “poop” in the bed. Grandmother didn’t seem to want to know what the doctor said or be interested in the follow up appointment. Our family would love to take her home and provide that “month” that the pediatrician wanted, but we don’t know what would happen from there. If we knew of a good solution to her problem, we’d love to be a bridge to help her to that solution. Please pray for that solution to be found. We will be investigating the social services aspect tomorrow.
Better news with Tendo. We waited around until about 2:30pm to see her doctor. He is a cardio-thoracic surgeon. I was able to join Tendo and her mother for this appointment. Dr. Tom ordered a chest x-ray and has her coming back on Thursday to review the chest x-ray and schedule her for surgery. The date for surgery is tentatively set for May the 11th, as this was the first available. To review Tendo’s situation, she was run over by a car a little over 2 years ago. Through this accident, she had a rupture of her diaphragm on the left. She now gets short of breath and has trouble swallowing. We stopped at an imaging center to get her chest x-ray done so that she would be ready for Thursday. This cost us a whopping $20. So her chest x-ray, today, shows her bowel all up in the left side of her chest. This caused her heart to push to the R side of her chest. So her left lung is almost completely collapsed and not functional. Her esophagus is also pushed to the right side and this makes it hard for her to swallow. I asked Dr. Tom what this surgery would cost, so that we could try to help the family make arrangements. Turns out that the surgery, hospital stay and follow up care will cost around 2,300,000 shillings. This is about $900. We have to pay half of this when we schedule the surgery (Thursday) and the other half when the surgery is completed. I am excited that the supporters of Due Unto Others can join together to make a life saving difference in this 5 year old girl’s life. I would have to guess that if this surgery was done in the US, it would cost about $50,000. If you would like to donate to this specific cause, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make arrangements.
This day has been emotional for Jill and I, but the kids too. It is a blessing to see the kid's hearts hurt for what hurts God's heart.
I will keep you updated on Thursday’s appointments.