Monday, October 24, 2011

A day filled with drama and suffering

This morning we learned that Titus, a lovely older man who was bitten by a rabid dog two months ago succumbed to death after a week of suffering pain, muscle spasms, insanity, hydrophobia and confusion.

Jima, a little malnourished boy who came on Thursday and was making great progress died this morning. He was making gains every day and was out of the woods as far as we were concerned. Yesterday I thought I would discharge him into the outpatient nutrition program this afternoon. However, I guess the grandmother wasn't pleased with his progress and took matters into her own hands. After he died this morning (after Dickson spent almost the whole night at the clinic saving him) we learned that the grandmother had fed him leaves and herbs yesterday. That explains why he suddenly became so sick and not in any of the usual ways we see life threatening illness--usually respiratory infections, dehydration and malaria are the things that kill, or almost kill. Dickson said he couldn't understand what happened because the boy was doing so well.

The other inpatient families told us about the leaves and herbs AFTER he died and the family took him away. They saw what the local "medicine" did to him. Something in the leaves or herbs slowed down his heart and breathing rate and he just went into death quietly--a type of poisoning I guess. The grandmother was probably sure she was helping. I wish the other families who observed this had told Dickson last night when he could have done something about it. This was the young mother's first baby. Please pray for her comfort and that the grandmother will learn from this tragic mistake.

Later in the morning I treated a woman for snake bite. She is suffering great pain and walked for hours on the swollen, painful leg to get medical treatment. She will be ok, but will have pain for a few weeks.
Angelina, a tiny, wasted malnourished child was given a concoction of roots by a witch doctor about 2 weeks aog. She has not spoken or eaten since, but finally drank some special milk for malnourished patients today. Such a sweet sight to see her little throat moving with the swallows. She still makes not a sound--neither speech, crying, laughing or moaning in spite of injection, certain pain, hunger, fear, etc. Her eyes have been expressionless but today she following me around with her eyes. Progress! Hum d'Allah!

After a long day at work I rode to the nearby market town of Bunj to take photos of my friend Magdalena’s family (her husband is in town for one week away from this job as a driver in Malakal). On the way a dog tried to attack me but I managed to get away without it actually making contact. I then nearly ran over my teammate on his bicycle. In town we enjoyed visiting and doing the "photo shoot" and eating the always present boiled pumpkin, such a huge part of the Sudanese diet this time of year.

As I was parking my bike by my tukul I noticed my neighbour Judy's' porch was glowing orange. Jokingly I called out "Judy, is your veranda on fire?" and then I realized there really WAS a fire, by the time I'd thrown my bicycle down and run to her she was pulling a blazing kerosene cooker out of her house on a rug. The scary part is that it rolled off with flames shooting several feet into the air right under her dried grass thatched roof. I knew if the roof caught the tukul and contents would go up in flames very quickly. Praise God with everyone helping dirt was thrown on the kerosene flames and the roof didn't catch.

That is a lot of adrenaline rushes in one day. I would like a boring day, but those don't ever really happen here.


At 10:07 AM , Blogger NurseJulie said...

Thank you so much for posting updates, Sheila! I love reading the work that God is doing through you! You're an inspiration! :)


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