Thursday, June 23, 2005

Acquisition of Compassion

Anthony suffered a major set back. He had been doing so well. We were careful with his diet and gentle with the anti-worm medication. He was working up on his diet, his swelling greatly subsided and he had begun playing with the other children. Then his world came crashing down. He awoke yesterday morning with face more swollen than when he first came to us. He wouldn’t eat and he had little energy. We suspected his kidney’s and did a very simple urine test which demonstrated he had developed nephrotic syndrome. Jenny and I were surprised. We have seen lots of complications but this we hadn’t seen. Nephrotic syndrome is an immunologic disease launched against the kidney’s which can be triggered by multiple different entities. It was necessary to get him to the main hospital in San Pedro in case he needed dialysis. It was so sudden we were afraid that steroids might not be enough. He knew something bad was happening as we scrambled about poking and prodding him. He knew he would be leaving to go somewhere but where he couldn’t understand. His eyes were large and helpless. He held my finger and tears began to well up in his eyes as sweat beads poured from his forehead. I felt like a traitor as we took him to the bus stop. In his arms I placed a small teddy bear and I kissed him on the forehead as I explained he’d be back soon. He wasn’t buying it. Sarah a worker on the plantation was in charge of getting him to the hospital and caring for him while he was there. The hospital doesn’t have enough funding to provide a nursing staff that can give medications and baths and do treatments so when a child goes there they must be accompanied by an adult to stay with them 24 hours a day. Sarah is great with the children an experienced mom and a good one at that. She swept him up in her arms more gruff than I would have but this is her life and her world where children get sick everyday, their parents leave and don’t come back, they have needs that go unmet and sometimes they die. Sarah had that wall of emotional experience that she used as a guard to ward off unwanted sadness. It worked and in some ways her cold strength, like a bluff in poker, protected the children from the level of worry we each held inside. I couldn’t sleep last night wondering what would happen, what would they do to him, how frightened he must be, wondering about parents in the States that lay at night and worry when their child is in the hospital even when to us it seems like a straight forward admission to them it may be terrifying for all the same reasons. Compassion I did not know I did not have till now that I have it…….


Anonymous audio stories adult said...

She turned over and said Just leave me alone. Only when he whined did he match his fathers rarecomplaint.
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She turned over and said Just leave me alone. Only when he whined did he match his fathers rarecomplaint.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Michael Boyle said...

Moving article... Politicians don't think about it when they create laws...

7:09 AM  

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