In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pray For Mario

In the first few days after he arrived at GLA, 6 month old Mario, who was swollen with malnutrition, responded well to treatment. He tolerated his feeds and became hungry. We increased the levels of protein in his diet. The swelling began to go down. These were good signs.

Then, Mario became more irritable. Children with Kwashiorkor are often irritable, so we didn't think too much of this when he first came in. We just kept a close eye on Mario. The irritability was soon accompanied by vomiting. At that point, we became even more watchful. The protein deficiency Mario was suffering from would affect his immune system, we knew, and we wondered if in his malnourished state, Mario was developing an infection. We had to monitor him very carefully - Children with compromised immune systems often do not develop symptoms of infection until their infections are very advanced. Their bodies are just too weak to put up a fight.

Our Paediatrician was very concerned: Mario was not having true fever spikes, but the front of his head protruded, and his fontanel was bulging, These were possible signs of hydrocephalus (an abnormal build-up of fluid on the brain). The Paediatrician was worried that Mario might be developing Meningitis.

We hoped that wasn't true. We wanted the protruding forehead to just be a symptom of rickets. Many of our malnourished children come with bowed legs and protruding foreheads. We hope this wasn't Meningitis, but we had to treat it as though it was.

The day after we began treating Mario with high doses of antibiotics, he began spiking fevers, that would not come down.

Tonight marks the first 24 hour period he has been without a fever. The swelling on his body has gone down, and Mario is much more settled, and no longer vomiting. These are signs that the infection that has been making him sick is under control and that his body is healing.

Please, say a prayer for Mario tonight. There is sunshine in his smile and I believe that the world needs his

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