Precious is a 2 year old patient who came in with vomiting and diarrhea. After a couple days, her abdomen became acute and she was taken to the operating room and found to have intussusception. This is a condition where one part of the intestine slides into another part of the intestine causing a bowel obstruction. After the surgery, she was very ill with a persistently distended belly, total body edema, and electrolyte abnormalities. She had a fast heart rate, fast breathing, fever, and pain.
I would check on her several times a day and see her mother’s usually smiling and confident face. Only once did I see her mother become tearful. Then on Sunday night, the electricity went out and she had no oxygen overnight. I thought for sure she would die that night. I would wake up in the night thinking that she must have slipped away and that the Surgical Ward just hadn’t called me to let me know. I finished my call week and turned the case over to Brent on Monday. I was spent worrying about her and just could not face her mother again to tell her that we were trying, but that her condition was not good.
She lost her IV on Monday and they could not replace it because of her body swelling. Maybe that was a good thing, because when she began to drink, she was able to self-regulate. I could not bring myself to see Precious and her mother again until Thursday, when I heard she had turned the corner.
Today, about 2 weeks later, Precious was sitting outside picking the leaves off of the huckleberry stems to make Njamma-jamma, the local greens eaten everyday with fufu. She won’t let me touch her, but she did let me take her picture. I said to her mother, “God is good” and she said back to me, “God is great.” And isn’t that the truth.