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.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

We Couldn't Say No

We were reluctant to admit a child with diarrhoea to the main house. We all ready had so many frail babies in our care, and we had to protect them from new infections. We had fought so hard for for their lives. We were loathe to jepordise all of our little ones, for the sake of another, who should really be treated in a hospital.

Yet, two charity hospitals had said, 'no' to her. It was 3pm on a Friday afternoon. The Brothers orphanage, which is less than a mile away had brought her to us. The toddler in front of me was was severely dehydrated, and her body temperature was low. I knew that if I said no to her too, she certainly would not survive.

She doesn't have a name, and we don't know how old she is, but we are calling her Celia and we think she might be 18-24 months old. 'Celia' was abandoned at the gate of a remote orphanage. Two weeks ago, she transferred to the Brothers  orphanage in Thomassin, for special care. Celia has Protein-energy malnutrition -her hands, feet and calves are very swollen and in this malnourished state, her body and immune system have been overwhelmed by an intestinal infection. Twenty-four hours after she became ill, she had lost so much fluid that her body had gone into shock.

She did not respond when I pricked her finger to test her blood sugar. When Mme Berrnard started her IV, mercifully able to find a vein, as tiny and flat as they were, Celia didn't even stir. She was on a warming bed and her body temperature was going up. Her glucose levels were in the normal range. These were good signs that she would respond well to treatment.

We gave her a bolus of fluid and Celia's eyes opened. She cried after I'd finished giving her medicine. She was thirsty and reaching for the syringe. I gave her two ounces of oral rehydration solution to drink. It was a mistake. Over the next 2 hours, her body dumped 16 ounces of fluid. Celia was in an extremely fragile state. Her shock had progressed. I counselled her orphanage director, over the phone, that I was working very hard to rehydrate this little girl, but that I wasn't sure she would survive.

By 10pm, I had given Celia a blood alkaliser, and several fluid boluses. Finally her breathing pattern was normal, her heart rate was regular,  her hands and feet were warm and she was awake, lethargic, but aware of what was happening around her. She started to moan. She took a hold of my scrub top. She would't let go.

I scooped Celia up out of her crib. At that point, she had two IV's running. She rested her head on my chest, and she fell asleep. As I sat with Celia, I experienced a feeling of warmth. God was very close. I hoped you would say, 'yes'. 

He was smiling and he was blessing me, I knew it.


Jordana said...

God bless you guys. Stay true knowing you are doing His work EVERY.DAY.

Love. To you and to all the children, including precious Celia.

Marie said...

Gotta love it when we feel and hear God so clearly! I will pray for Celia. Blessings!

Lois said...

I have wanted to come to GLA since I was 15, but God has still not opened the doors and given me peace to move through them. But I love reading your blog, and it tugs at my heart and stories like this make me cry. I pray that Celia will improve, and that God would give you strength each day to continue your work there.

Asha said...

Bless you for following God's leading and embracing little Celia. I will pray for protection for the other babies and that the Lord would restore Celia to good health! May you find such joy in the work you are doing.