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, 17 June 2012

Fedo - A Father's Day Prayer

He is said to be six months old, but this embattled angel behaves like a much older infant.

He arrived on Tuesday of last week, swollen from from protein-energy malnutrition, with a cough, fever, diarrhoea and a severe case of thrush in his mouth. He wouldn't drink - not milk, not juice or oral re-hydration solution. not from a bottle, a cup or a syringe. I remember arguing half-heatedly with the head Haitian nurse. She knew, that I knew, the baby needed an NG tube, she told me. I did know that, but I still didn't want to put the tube down. Fedo was an older infant. It is painful and distressing to have an NG tube passed. Fedo would fight. Still, he was dehydrated and we could not allow his condition to deteriorate under our care.

Re-signed, and with the tube in my hand, I explained to Fedo in a gentle voice, what I was going to do, and why. He put his hand up in front of mine. The gesture and the facial expression that accompanied it communicated his feelings on the matter very clearly. Stop right there Madam! I am not ok with this! The NICU staff were as surprised as I was. Maybe Fedo was considerably older than six months. Maybe he has just experienced too much in his 6 short months in this world. Maybe he knows too much.

Fedo came during an exceptionally busy week, during which, at one point, the orphanage's Intensive Care room was full to bursting with 15 babies, many of them sick, and a three year old in heart failure. Fedo received a continuous feed, electrolytes, medications and vitamins through his NG tube. By Thursday, his swelling was going down and his infections were clearing up. On Friday, he began sucking from a bottle and smiling. I was thrilled to see this fragile baby healing so quickly. Kwashiorkor malnutrition causes swelling of the tissues, wasting, severe immune-deficiency due to low protein levels in the blood and many together with nutritional deficiencies. Fedo though, was on the path to recovery.

Despite these hopeful signs, Fedo experienced a life-threatening complication related to his malnutrition today. Our orphanage Director checked in on the NICU babies after lunch and found Fedo extremely ill. While she was starting an IV on him, he went into shock and developed severe breathing problems.

It seems as though the tissue wasting that has resulted from extreme malnourishment has affected Fedo's intestines. He developed a high fever and suffered a  gastro-intestinal bleed this afternoon. When I arrived in the NICU, he was unconscious, unresponsive, extremely pale and in such severe shock that we could not detect a pulse.

For over an hour, we worked hard to stabilise him with IV fluids, oxygen and antibiotics. Dixie, the orphanage Director, performed as ice-water lavage to slow the bleeding. As we worked, we prayed, against the terrible fear that Fedo might die in front of us. We advocated hard for this orphaned child, for a healing, preferably in this world, according to your perfect will, Lord

At the time of writing this post, Fedo is in a serious but stable condition. He re-gained consciousness this evening and turned to my voice. His gaze was searching, pained and confused. What is happening to me? Please explain it Miss Susan. In all my life, nothing as terrible as this has ever happened!

We ask that you echo our prayers for Fedo tonight. Our God is the Father of the fatherless. He is Fedo's Daddy and the great physician and I have great confidence in his infinite love and concern for his stricken infant son. Imagine his anguish as he watched his helpless baby suffer. I am thankful to his birth Father, for seeking help and I am hopeful that for Fedo, help has not come too late. Although I recognise that Fedo couldn't be in better hands than in his heavenly father's. I am so, so sorry that his earthly father doesn't have his son in his arms. Today is Fathers Day. No Father should be forced to make the impossibly difficult decision, to give up a child in order to save them.


Anna Kagstrom said...

praying for fedo, his daddy and you all today. love from cali :)

Jane BB said...

Susan, praying you, for sweet baby Fedo and for healing of body and broken hearts, blessings and hugs