Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A God-filled Day

I went to bed early last night (8:30) because I was ready for the day to end. I slept well and woke up renewed and refreshed. I took it easy this morning, drinking a couple of cups of (decaf) coffee while I read my chapter for tomorrow's bible study and then answered some e-mails. (If you have sent me an e-mail and I haven't responded, please know that I loved hearing from you, I just sometimes don't get around to answering the e-mails in a timely fashion.) Then about 11:00 John called me asking when I was going to bring up the plans for the septic tank and I realized I had to get in gear. The rest of the day went at warp speed.

First I had to "draw" up the plans for the septic tank and french drain for the teacher's house based on a conversation we had with the health inspector a couple of weeks ago. Who would have guessed that one day I would be sitting in the southern part of Africa making a technical drawing for a builder to make a septic tank? I certainly wouldn't have guessed that and I can assure you neither did my Junior High or High School teachers!

Before taking the drawing up to John I went by the hospital/clinic to give Thembie some money for Dr fees and lunch. Today she was there with a 14 year old girl who was raped a year ago. The girl hadn't been to a Dr. because of the lack of money. So we were bringing her to have a HIV test and also to get medication for a possible STD. Sipho's mom is the girl's step-mom so of course she had to be there again today. She was so excited to tell me and show me that Sipho's mouth was clear of sores! It was truly a miracle. We all rejoiced and thanked God. I am not kidding. I've seen some amazing things, but this is an absolute miracle. All the prayers that have covered this baby have been answered. He looked like a completely different baby today. The nurses in the clinic couldn't get over the difference.

Thembie also brought another girl that is 11 years old. She is one of 15 grandchildren living with the grandmother because their parents have died from HIV. The girl was being brought because of her "big stomach" but we were also hoping they would test her. When I arrived, they were both waiting to see the Dr. The first girl had been tested for HIV and Praise the Lord, she was negative! The second girl had seen the Dr. and he had sent her for a scan and x-ray of the abdomen and chest. I gave money to Thembie for the x-rays (almost $8.00) and then I bought some lunch for the 5 of them (another $8.00) and then I had to leave to get the drawing up to John at Lomngeletjane.

I took the drawing to John and then went to check on the twins. Several people had told me that one of the twins was sick. My little welcome committee, the twins' cousin Musa, ran out to greet me. The twins were doing fine. Tiphelele's sister, Tiphotakhe is now walking. Tiphelele is standing holding on to things. Their mom told me that Tiphelele had been sick the week before and she took her to a rural red-cross clinic. They suspect she has asthma, but they gave her some medication which has helped.

Tiphelele and her family live very near the Chief's Corral. The women of the chiefdom had gathered to finish the thatched roof on a traditional hut they are building for one of the ceremonies next month. They were gathering to leave at the same time I left the twins house. All the ladies waved hello to me as I passed them by and the kids that saw my car came running to the side of the road so they could wave and say "bye-bye" to me. What a gig this is. Every time I go to Lomngeletjane I get treated like someone really special. It always lifts my spirit and makes me sing and laugh.

I drove back to the hospital/clinic to see how things were progressing. The first child and her mom were waiting to get a prescription filled at the pharmacy. The second child was waiting to see the Dr. They called her in shortly after I arrived. As luck would have it, my favorite Dr. was the one seeing her. He said the scan of the stomach was normal, but the scan in her lungs was not good. He said he suspects it might be TB but he is going to treat it as if it is pneumonia and she is to come back in a week for another x-ray. If the x-ray is worse, then we will know it is TB. He poked around on her stomach and asked a few questions. He said the girl is in the beginning stages of malnutrition. He also asked if the girl could be tested for HIV. The grandmother said yes and as the Lord would have it, right about that time one of the nurses from the Baylor clinic at this hospital came in the room. The Dr. talked about how he, Thembie, the nurse and I were all Christians being guided by the Holy Spirit. The nurse took the girl and her grandmother to be counseled and tested. The girl is HIV+ which we suspected. The good news is, we have her into the right clinic that can help her. She will come back on Thursday to have her blood tested to determine her CD4 count. Depending on what her CD4 count shows, she may or may not start ARV's. If hr CD4 count is over 200, she does not need to start ARVs. We're all guessing though that her CD4 count is not that high. It will take two weeks to get the results of the blood test.

While we were waiting for the second girl's prescription to be filled, I went to the hospital side of the building to see how Nonjabulo is doing. As I started walking down the ward I heard women calling to me "stop, she is in here." At first I thought they were nurses, but then realized they were mothers of other babies who had been in the malnutrition room. They motioned me into the room they were in. Without thinking, I walked right in. She had been moved to a TB patient room. The room was very small. I'm guessing it couldn't be more than 8' x 10' at the most. It had 4 small cribs along the wall and there were chairs for 4 mothers to sit by their child. Nonjabulo's mom had stepped out of the room for a minute. As I was standing there it dawned on me that I was in a TB room with the door shut, with 4 babies that have TB and their mothers who probably also have TB, and that perhaps it would be better for my health if I waited outside in the hallway. The good news is, Nonjabulo is now up to 4.85 kgs. Unfortunately she will have to stay in the TB room for a while. No one knows at this point how long she will be there. I wondered why she wasn't put in the TB room right fro the start. It seems like they are closing the gate after the horses have escaped. But I'm sure they want all the malnutrition babies in one room so it is easier to keep an eye on them and the same for TB. Nonjabulo's

After seeing nonjabulo, I drove quickly to a pharmacy that is about 2 or 3 km's away and to get some Erythromycin for Shipo's mom because the hospital pharmacy was out. (Don't as me how a hospital can run out of that basic drug because I can't get my head around that one.) Then I went back to the hospital to pick everyone up and take them home. While in Lomngeletjane we checked on one of the kids we sent to the Dr. two weeks ago. She went for severe sores on her head. They were a bit better but a long way from being healed. It's lucky we stopped by because she should have gone back to the clinic for a recheck on Monday. So it will be back to the hospital on Thursday for this child and for the other one to get her CD4 count.

One of the really fun parts of the day was holding Sipho while his mom ate. He was sleeping so I could hold him without him crying. He did open his eyes and study me when I first took him, but then he fell back asleep as I rocked him and softly sang Jesus Loves Me to him. He is a precious little baby. Everyone is so amazed at how big he is.

It was a busy day. But in spite of the medical issues and having to hang out again at the hospital, it was a God-filled day. We have to figure out a way to get these children better nutrition and to get some of these kids to a healthier state. But with the Lord's help that will happen. The main thing is they know people care about them, they are getting proper medical attention and they are coming to know the Lord by our conversations and when we give Him the glory and praise.

Please continue to keep these children in your prayers.
weight was so low I guess that took precedent over the TB. Once again I can only shake my head.

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