It's taken me a full 24 hours to process yesterday and be able to write about it. I feel a little like I'm living in the tale of two cities--it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Andrea, one of my housemates, came with me to Hermano Pedro today. She has taken a week off from language school, and wanted to hang out with the kids she's heard so much about. She took to the kids right away, and they will be lucky to have her attention this week.
In fact, there are some great volunteers in right now. A couple of med students are finishing their last week with the kids, and are great with them. Wilmer, who himself is Hispanic (though I don't know from where) and Sebastian, who is from Germany, will be with us 5 months, working with the kids daily. All of these guys are very interested in the activities I'm doing with the kids, and join in readily. It's so much fun watching the kids as they ask these volunteers to get their favorite activities for them, and it's fun for me, too, to encourage them to do the things they don't like. I'm still challenged, too, to find ways to help these kids who have so many motor challenges, yet such bright minds.
That was the best of times. The worst of times has to do with sick kids. A number of kids have gotten respiratory infections, and two, Jojo and Leonel, seem to be getting worse each day, rather than better.
Yesterday I found Leonel was now on a feeding tube, because he was not eating enough on his own (he originally came in to the malnutrition unit, I think 9 yrs. old weighing 14 lbs., so you can see why this is a concern). He looked so weak and frail lying in bed. When I picked him up to hold him though, we rediscovered his smile. He even drank about 2/3 of his bottle for me today, though it took about an hour to do so. I love this little guy like a grandson, and it is so hard to watch him struggle. I'm hoping prayer and time will bring him back to normal. I think Leonel is partly having a episode of "failure to thrive" as his dad had just visited last week, and I know Leonel gets homesick when he leaves. I think the hour or so I spent holding him was the best, and hardest, hour of my day.
Jojo, on the other hand, really has me worried. For a number of reasons, Jojo continually has breathing problems. Right now he is so congested he can hardly force the air in and out of his lungs. When I first saw him today, he was crying inconsolably, but, because he was receiving a breathing treatment and was on oxygen, I was hesitant to take him out of his chair and hold him. A while later, when he was in bed and Dick was visiting him, he really had a lot of respiratory distress. He also was burning up. At Dick's request, I asked the charge nurse about calling the doctor for him, and she explained to me, as if I was a bit dense and just didn't get it, that Jojo had congestion, and that they were treating it.
Now, I may not be a nurse, but I am a mom, and I know the difference between congestion and not being able to breathe. I had to walk away for a minute to "regroup" and keep from saying something spiteful. . . when I was back under control, I went back to the desk and said I understood they were treating him, but that Dick thought he was getting worse. Would she pleeeeaaaasssee call the doctor. And she did. I think this was a much to humor me as because she believed anything was wrong.
When the doctor arrived, however, things started happening quickly. An IV was started (after multiple attempts to find a vein and stabbing the poor kid a bunch of times), another breathing treatment started, the nursing supervisor came in to help, and Jojo was surrounded by people finally paying attention to his medical needs. Everyone, except Dick, seemed to forget, though, that this was not an unresponsive life-form being treated, but a scared little boy. The nurses, and even the doctor were so intent on helping him that no one spoke to him, no one told him what was going on or what they were going to do.
Eventually, Jojo was more stable, and we left. Walking out last night was hard, really hard. I was filled with pain and anger and frustration and confusion. I was angry at the casualness with which the nurses treated Jojo´s distress. I was frustrated wondering how long it would have taken them to notice that Jojo had a problem if Dick had not been there. And, for the first time in a long time, I was ticked at God for what I saw Him allowing one of His little ones to go through. I didn't even know how to pray for Jojo except to say, "Come, Lord Jesus."
As I write this a day later, I realize Jesus answered my prayer--this time through the hands and heart of Dick as he cared for Jojo. Okay, God, I get it. . .if we want to be Jesus, we have to embrace the suffering of the cross as He did. . .thanks, Dick, for another object lesson. . .