Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Familiar Faces

 Volunteers come and go, patients come and go, but not all can leave right away.  There are patients that have been at the hospital for months. Others are discharged but may return with bad infections. Then there are still others that just stay because they don’t have a home or family to go to.

A few of our long termers got to go home over the last few weeks. Mia, a happy little girl that had to have her leg amputated after an NGO car ran into her, was here when we arrived in June and got to go home in Sept. I hardly ever remember her being upset. She always had a smile on her face as she hopped around the hospital. I could often hear her calling to me “madame Nathan” from way down the hall.
Miranda also got to finally go home a couple weeks ago. As far as I know she had been here at least since April, maybe even before. Seven months is a long time to be in the hospital. She kept getting infections in her leg, but seems to be doing good now. She had a little harder time than Mia even though she was lucky enough to keep her leg.  When we first got here she would scream late into the night until Brooke (one of the long term nurses who is now working across town but held this place together for months) went in and had a heart to heart talk with her. She wasn’t necessarily in pain, just anxious about her leg and I am sure other things. But after Brooke said something to the effect of, “at least you are able to still have your leg, Mia wasn’t as fortunate” then she quieted down from then on.  It seems like one of the greatest fears that many patients have is that they will have to have an amputation. 
Andre did some  crafts with volunteers
that put on a program for kids
Andre hasn’t been quite as fortunate. He also has been here since we arrived, but doesn’t really have a place to go. Evidently the only family he has is abusive and so not a safe place for him to be.  We don’t know what to do, and so he just sleeps here at the hospital…but he can’t do that forever. There doesn’t seem like a whole lot of options for him, at least not at this time.
Another person that we don’t know what to do with is a baby David and his mom. They have been sleeping in a tent at the hospital, but now that the hospital is trying to move people off of the grounds, she has nowhere to go. She is a teenage mother that was sent away from home because she had a baby.  She wants to give David up for adoption, but all the orphanages are full. It’s a complicated situation for many reasons. It just makes me realize that I certainly don’t have the answers to know how to help her. 

Baby David and his mom

Like so many times during the day I feel at a loss to know what is the best solution for so many people or situations that arise during the day. Need is so great everywhere that it can be overwhelming to know how to deal with it on a daily basis. Several times a day people ask us for stuff or money or to sponsor their kid to go to school, but we simply can’t and I hate having to tell them no. Whether this is good or bad, I feel like I’m becoming numb to it so that it doesn’t hurt as bad when people cry out for help and there seems to be nothing that I can do.

Miranda getting a dressing change
              Nathan and Mia right before
             she left the hospital.


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