On the 19th of October, we had to admit PePe to the hospital, she had a high fever, bad cough, sores in her mouth and throat, and she was dehydrated. When I went to her homestead to see her on the Wednesday evening before, her heart was racing and she was extremely hot with fever. Her father said that she had only drunk about ¼ of a coffee mug of water all day. She had eaten one egg and one banana. I instructed him to start offering her a cup of water every hour. He was just letting her sleep and not waking her to offer her food or water. I told him that if we didn’t get some fluids down her, she would have to go to the hospital. When I returned the following morning, she was no better, maybe even worse. I told her father that she needed to go to see the doctor immediately. When the doctor looked at her chest x-ray and examined her, he decided that she needed to start on TB treatment, IV fluids, and IV antibiotics.
When we walked into the children’s ward, PePe looked afraid. When we put her in a bed, she began to cry, and say that she wanted to go home. The nurse had us move her to another bed in a more private room, when she realized that she would be on TB treatment. So I carried her to the room crying that she wanted to go home. By the time I made it to the room and sat her down, I had to go outside before I started crying myself. That hospital is not a nice place. It is very dreary, dirty and run down. The only bright spot about the children’s ward is the new curtains that were made by Barbara Conti (Patrick’s mom). They are such bright cheerful colors and they really help to brighten the place up a bit.
Susan (one of the cooks from the care point) has been helping to take care of PePe on and off for a while. She stayed with PePe the first night. She then had to go out of town due to a death in her family. So, she found someone else from the community to stay with PePe while she was gone. The care giver must take care of the patient and give her the drugs for AIDS twice daily when they are due. All that the nurses do unfortunately, is pass out other medications.
PePe’s father came to visit, the first or second day that she was there. Susan told me later that he made the statement that he was tired of taking care of this child. Susan told him that she would take care of her, if he would let her. He doesn’t want to take responsibility for taking care of her, yet he doesn’t want her to go with someone else.
It has been almost a week and a half since she was admitted to the hospital. During the first four days she received IV fluids, IV antibiotics, and one unit of blood, because she was very anemic. Now, she is able to hold food, fluids, and her medications down without vomiting. She is no longer receiving IV fluids. She gets an injection each day for TB and she is also taking pills as well. The doctors said that she would need this treatment for 60 days, but that she could go home after a couple of weeks hopefully and just come back daily for the injections. The problem is that we are not sure that her father is giving the medications for AIDS consistently and now we add TB meds that need to be given consistently.
I try to go by and visit her every day or every other day. When she sees me, she starts crying to go home. I saw her on Saturday, she is still fairly weak, but at least she is sitting up now. I took her for a short walk outside of the children's ward and she started crying again that she wants to go home. On Friday, Nthombie and I went to see her and talked with her for a little while. We asked her if she knows what happens to us when we die. Her answer was very sad. She said that we are put in a box and then put in a hole in the ground. I then told Nthombie to explain to her that only our body is placed in the ground, but that our spirit goes to be with Jesus. Nthombie explained, using a stuffed animal angel that we had given to her when she went into the hospital. Nthombie is one of our teachers, she has a special gift from God to talk to children. PePe seemed to understand and be satisfied with that. She is still coughing a lot and I can still hear her lungs cracking and popping when I hold her in my lap. I don't know if she will ever be 100% again, but if we can get her to a point that she can have a good quality of life, and not be in pain, I will be happy.
Please keep PePe in your prayers that God’s will be done in her little life, and that we can show her the love of Jesus in everything that we say and do for her.