Friday, August 30, 2013

Thats one sick little kid!

Last week I was up in Kangole with the intention of spending a few days working with the VHTs but had heard over and over about how bad the road was and how I would get stuck and not make it out to Nakayot. I had other things I could do in Kangole but really had the feeling I should go. Friday morning after praying,  I felt increasingly convicted that I had to at least try. I packed extra drinking water, a tent, tarps, tow straps, boots and shovels and headed out thinking at least if I got stuck and had to sleep out there it was what I was supposed to do.  After some significant off-roading (thinking the whole time “People pay money to do this as a hobby?!” ) We reached the village. They seemed genuinely happy to see me, or at least see the medications and supplies I was offloading. 
But we’d only been there 10 minutes when the question was translated for me “There was a sick child that the father was refusing to take to the hospital. Could I help?” I said I would try but I didn’t want to make the father angry. A very few minutes later a group came running up to me carrying what appeared to be a dead child. The 6 year old wasn’t conscious and barely breathing.   With sternal rub be stopped being flaccid and started exhibiting the most classic decerebrate posturing I’d ever seen. His skin was so hot it felt he could practically leave blisters on my hands.  When he was moving air (which wasn't as often as I would have liked) he had adventitious lung sounds that could be heard without a stethoscope.   HR was more than 200 and I didn't take time to get a BP.

Trying to find a dang 22g cath.
I laid him on the tailgate of my truck and, through one of many miracles that was going to happen in the next 24 hours, got an IV in on the first try. I had rocephin and fluid running as fast as I could and then told the family that I felt the hospital was the only thing that would save the child. Amazingly the father agreed right away and 20 minutes later we were back on the road. Several times on the way the child stopped breathing but each time he started again. The mud was thigh deep in several places but the way around, through the bush, was somewhat clear and we made it to the hospital in less than three hours.  I know, in the vehicle, both of my translators  were continuously praying for the life of the child (and my rather reckless driving) and somehow he was still alive when we arrived.

The treatment room later after everyone had cleared out.
It was after 4pm so triage was closed, we carried him straight into the treatment room where afternoon meds were being administered to 40 other children. We cut to the front of the line where valium, glucose, fluid and more antibiotics were given quickly by the nurses and he was admitted to wait for the evening doctors to come see him. All we could do was pray again and head back to my house in Kangole.
The following morning I had several responsibilities and couldn't get back to the hospital as soon as I liked. I realized that I didn't even know the child's name and if he had died in the night the father would be gone already.  However, I headed into "ICU" and found the patient right away. Still obtunded but breathing! I got an update from the nurses- they were treating for both meningitis and cerebral malaria. (I suspect they didn't have the equipment for an LP. ) One of the guys I like working with the best was free and I had asked him to come along to translate. We (meaning they  mostly because the conversation wasn't in English) sat and talked with the father for a while. He told us he had given up on the child and refused to let the mother walk the two day trip to the hospital. (Mostly because it would cost him 5,000/= , money he didn't have. ) But when we arrived and he saw me giving medicine and praying he thought maybe the child could survive. He wondered if God was telling him to have hope.

The ICU. (Sorry about my finger, I was trying to be discreet.)
Finally responsive!!

We encouraged him and Elupo  spent a long time talking with him about God's plan for us and salvation. I was really wondering if we were sent to Nakayot for this little boy and his family. On Sunday we didn't make the trek to the hospital but on Monday morning when we arrived he was awake and talking!! His dad said he is confused but able to eat so they had taken the NG tube out. Again we prayed with them and gave them money for discharge when the time comes.
I'm back in Soroti now so I don't know how they are doing but please pray that God continues to speak to this family through all of this. I made the father promise to come find me the next time that I'm in Nakayot to give me an update.

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