Monday, October 16, 2006

Medical Mission Reflection

Reflecting back on this past week with the Mission of Mercy medical team, we saw over 1700 people in 4 and ½ days. Many people came to know the Lord Jesus as their personal savior, and many were also tested for HIV. It is our primary goal that the spiritual needs of the people are met, and then that their medical needs are met to the best of our ability. It is also extremely important that they know their HIV status. Overall it was a great week, and many people were touched and blessed both spiritually and physically. It was a huge blessing for me to work with such a wonderful team of doctors and nurses, as well as all of the others that were a part of the team. Every person more than pulled their weight and sacrificially gave of themselves over and over. I was able to learn so much from this fantastic group of people. They also worked with and taught our Swazi staff of health care workers so much. Our Swazi health care workers are also a great group of people who also gave of themselves over and over this past week. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people to work with! The whole Children’s Cup team worked extremely hard to make this week a success. We also had other volunteers who helped us interpret, register, and counsel the patients each day. Thank you so much to everyone who was involved!

The first day of the clinics was the most stressful for me, primarily because one of our little ones who has been on treatment for HIV for two years was brought to us in extremely poor condition. As soon as Dr. Beyda saw this one, he was very concerned. She was very anemic, weak, dehydrated, with a high fever and cough. Immediately after hearing her breath sounds, he diagnosed her with pneumonia. He said that she needed IV antibiotics and IV fluids as soon as possible. We didn’t have all of the supplies that we needed for these things to be accomplished, so I got on the phone to get the supplies that we needed. Once we got some Tylenol, fluids, IV antibiotic, and oxygen going, she started to look better and her fever came down. Thank God that this team was here and they were able to save this little girls life. The next day, we gave her more fluids and IV antibiotics. She looked much better, but she was having diarrhea and not eating very well. When we saw her on the third day, we started her on oral antibiotics. On Friday, she looked better, but still not eating much and continuing with diarrhea and fever. We took her to see the doctor at the VCT clinic at RFM hospital. He looked at her chart and saw that the last time she was in, her CD4 count (an indicator of the immune system) was extremely low. It had been up to over 100 and now it was down to 7.4, which means that she has absolutely no immunity. We are afraid that her father, who is sick also, has not been making sure that she takes her medications properly, which would explain the drop in her CD4 count.

One of the ladies that cooks at the Care Point had been taking care of her before, and she was doing very well when she was with her. This lady came with us to the hospital, and I asked her to please take this little one back to her house and take care of her while she is so sick. This little girl is 9 years old and she looks like she is 6. My little girl, Joelle, who is 8 is much bigger than her. She also went with us to the hospital, and she was amazed that this little girl was older than her. As I watched the doctor examine her, I couldn’t help but start to cry, as I thought of how healthy she looked just a couple of months ago, looking at her now, so frail, thin and weak. The doctor at the clinic wants to see her back on Monday, and if she is not any better, he will change her antibiotic and possibly test her for TB. Please help us pray that the Lord will intervene and heal this little one, or if she doesn’t make it through this battle, that we will be able to keep her comfortable until the Lord takes he home to be with him. I need wisdom and strength for the task that is ahead, but I know that my God is able to do more than I could ever ask or imagine.

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