Monday, July 06, 2009

Tema ca. 1964 - 5 July 2009

Tema passed away late Sunday afternoon. A victim of a slow silent disease, poverty, and an overloaded, broke medical system. We did what we could through CHIPS and getting her into the medical system. But in the end, even that did not prove enough to overcome the hurdles of disease and medical non-practice.
Teresa had the opportunity to pray with her a number of times and she came from Christian Family Church in Tambankulu, so we trust she knew Jesus. But it was still very hard as Teresa was by her bedside as she took her last breaths Sunday. Alone. Abandoned by family. We had gone to Siteki and Maphiveni on Saturday to pick up more clothes for her and a month old x-ray that they had failed to send along with her when she was transported to Mbabane Government Hospital. With no family to care for her in the hospital, all her clothes had become soiled from constant vomiting and diarrhea. The hospital supplies nothing. Teresa had met a compassionate lady on the house keeping staff who was doing what she could for Tema. We were going to approach her today to see if we could pay her a little extra to take Tema's clothes and wash them.
Please pray specifically for Teresa. She needs His strength to continue. She has His heart and compassion.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

CD4 Count of 3

Then there is the man (Mlungisi) with the CD4 count of 3! A normal CD4 count should be in the 1000’s. I received a call from Lori a few weeks back that this man was very sick and they weren’t sure if he was going to make it through the night. Jabulani took him to the hospital and they gave him IV fluids, as he was very dehydrated. They couldn’t admit him to the hospital, because there were no empty beds, so they sent him back home after midnight. Jabulani had to turn around the next morning and bring him back. They didn’t start him on ARV’s that day because he was still too weak. I went to visit him on Friday of that week, and he was feeling stronger. He was started on ARV’s earlier in the week. When he was walking towards me, I saw that he was literally holding his pants on his body with his hands. He was so thin! When I touched his shoulder bones, it almost felt sharp, because he has absolutely no tissue, only skin over his bones! I could see he was getting tired just standing for a few minutes, so I asked him to sit before he fell. We prayed with him and I felt led to ask him if he knew Jesus. He said that he didn’t, so we explained how to receive Jesus and that He would be his best friend and live in his heart and forgive him of his sins. I asked if he wanted to accept Jesus and he said he wasn’t ready. I told him that all he had to do was to ask for forgiveness and receive Jesus into his heart.
About 2 weeks later Jabulani received word that Mlungisi was ready to receive Christ! Praise the Lord! Pastor La’Salette, Lori and visitors from Phoenix were able to go and lead him to the Lord, as well as several other family members! They have also done some work on his homestead, which was falling apart. What a blessing!
Unfortunetly, about 3 weeks ago, Mlungisi had to be hospitalized. He was able to eat and feeling better. I received a call that he was not doing well and was on oxygen to breathe. I received word that he has gone on to be with the Lord! Although this is very sad physically and emotionally, it is a victory spiritually! He is now in the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! If he had died just 3 or 4 weeks earlier, he would not have gone to heaven, where he is right now! Praise God! Please remember Mlungisi’s family in your prayers!
Sad but True
We have lost 3 of our CHIPS patients in the past month. First was a 19 year old girl who was diagnosed with abdominal TB. She had been hospitalized only for about a week before she died. The day I went to visit her 10th June, she was breathing very rapidly, talking out of her head and looked as if she was scared to death. I asked Jabulani if she had been like this the day before and he said no this is new. We reported to the doctor, who said he would see her. I received word the next day that she had died during the night.
The next one was a man named Patrick, who has been sick for a long time. Jabulani brought him to the hospital on several occasions and they did not admit him. He was finally admitted about a week ago and then he died on Friday 19th June.
The third one is of course Mlungisi, who died the 22nd June, 2009. Although, very discouraging, I know that God is in control and we are doing what He led us to do. So we must keep doing what we know He wants us to do. Please keep all of these families in your prayers, as well as the CHIPS staff. Pray specifically for Jabulani, who is on the front line everyday with these precious, sick people.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Transfer to Mbabane Government Hospital

We facilitated the transfer of Tema to the MGH on Friday. Teresa is working with the doctors she knows here to verify the diagnoses made at Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki. If confirmed, they will start the process of having her sent to Pretoria to have the corrective surgery performed. The doctors here said they would not be able to perform it here because of inadequacies in the Intensive Care unit. Winter has come with a vengeance this week. It is probably a full 10 degC cooler here than in Siteki now. Tema came with only what she was wearing. The past few mornings have dipped down to 0 degC (freezing for those used to degF). There is no heat in the hospital wards.
Teresa and Joelle went thru some of Joelle's outgrown clothes to give to Tema to help keep her warm. And with only a thin blanket from the hospital, she was shivering when Teresa went to visit her. We took out two of our blankets that we had not been using and gave them to her (I think they were hand made by my grandmother years ago).
Please pray for Tema. We have had three caregivers in CHIPS pass away within the past few weeks. All of these and Tema came into the program very sick and have had to struggle to survive. Three have lost and we feared Tema would give up as well.