Monday, October 12, 2009

Update on Sipho & Nonjabulo

I just got back from spending 7 1/2 hours at the hospital/clinic in Manzini. Thembie brought little Sipho and his mother, Khanyasilie, down from Lomngeletjane to be seen by the Dr. The thrush in his mouth is no better and he cries a lot. Actually, I think it is worse, but when we finally got in to see the nurse she said he was much better. Sipho has gained weight, although only .2 kg in two weeks which now moves him down from the 97 percentile for weight to the 50 percentile for weight. When we finally saw the Dr. he was the same Dr. that was on duty when Tiphelele was admitted back in June. He remembered me and even remembered that I was with the Methodist church. I was amazed. He asked me where I keep finding these babies. I told them they were families of kids that went to one of our schools. I asked him how a baby so young could get thrush, which is really why I waited with Thembie and Khanyasilie (the baby's mom), He said the most common reason is that the mother is HIV+, the second reason would be if the mother had taken a lot of antibiotics during pregnancy and the third reason would be if the mom had taken steroids during pregnancy. She hadn't taken any antibiotics or steroids. Khanyasilie had been tested for her HIV status in July when her husband passed away from TB. She was negative, but one must follow up the test in three months which she hadn't done. So he sent her to be tested. While we were waiting Sipho started crying. I tried to quiet him, but that didn't work. So she went to strap him on her back. He was crying and squirming so hard he almost fell off her back a couple of times it was so good I was there to catch him. I think he was too young to be on her back but I couldn't say or do anything. Finally a nursing supervisor came out from her office and told Khanyasilie to take the baby off her back and to hold him in front of her. He quieted very quickly. Of course, then out came the breast again. Some mothers here just leave the breast hanging out so the child can feed on demand or use it as a pacifier. Whatever works I guess. When the nurse called her back in for her results, she wanted me to come in and hear the results. She was negative which is a huge praise. I was so nervous sitting there waiting to hear her status. I can't imagine how nervous she must have been. The Dr. gave her another week's worth of medicine. Somehow we have to find the cause of the thrush.

While we were waiting, Thembie and I went to check on Nonjabulo. She is just the sweetest little girl. She smiled right away at me and let me hold her. Then she discovered the necklace I always wear. When my necklace fell down inside my blouse, she actually followed it to retrieve it again. We all laughed at how cleaver she is. (If someone is said to be cleaver it means they are very smart.) Nonjabulo's weight has gone up to 4.75. She is almost there. She has to be at 4.8, which is off the charts on the low end of weight for her age, before she can go home. We are thinking she will be able to go home tomorrow.

I had brought a book with me to read while we waited. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there. All of the benches were taken and so some people just sat on the ground. Not one person had brought anything to do. No books or newspapers or magazines or coloring books or toys. Nothing. Many looked at me as I sat there and read. Once again the stark contrast between our American culture and theirs was so striking. Most also didn't have anything to eat or drink. Finally about 2:30 I gave some money to Thembie to go buy something for her and Khanyasilie to eat. I didn't want to eat anything especially being around all of the sick babies. There is no personal space. Everyone is crowded into each other. I tried to at least sit where the breeze could hopefully blow a few of the germs away. I also didn't have anything to drink because if I did I might have to go to the toilet, which I REALLY didn't want to do there.

I finally had to leave them and come home because I had an appointment with the guy who is going to do the legwork to get my Temporary Resident Permit renewed before I leave for the States. And of course, he is now over two hours late. At least he called.

Please keep praying for the babies and their mothers and gogo's.

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