• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
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hope

hope

Hope is a strange thing. . .I read something a few weeks ago that said that hope was not enough. . . that hoping someone would do better was pointless. . . I knew I didn’t agree, but I didn’t know why. And then this week, and last night, happened. . .

Yesterday morning, two precious babies were entrusted to my care in the ICU- one a tiny preemie, weighing less that 2 lbs that had come from the refugee camp on the border of Somalia and Kenya with no connection from her mouth to his stomach, and no opening for stool. She had not fed for 7 days when she arrived in the middle of the night asking for help. The other was a 9 month old unable to breathe.  Her blood count and cells under the microscope  revealed a problem even bigger than her pneumonia – a lymphoblastic leukemia and white blood cells 15x the normal limit.

The tiny one lost her heart rate minute after arriving in the ICU and we brought her back. . .she opened her eyes and kicked my hand. I fought for her blood pressure to rise,  for her kidneys injured from 7 days of not enough fluid, and for her body wracked by an infection in her blood. She improved, her kidneys began to work – she moved as I touched her tiny hands. I hovered at her bedside, and with every moment she survived, I began to hope she would defy death and live.

The other precious girl required higher pressure into the lungs from our ventilator than I have given in years, her unequal pupils belied a problem with her brain in addition to her blood and her lungs, but she improved with medicine and positioning and I began to hope. She survived moments that she shouldn’t have, and I let it creep in. . .perhaps this was possible. . .

I didn’t sleep much last night, as I paced from bedside to bedside. . . reassessing, readjusting, consulting, praying for miracles. I brought cookies to the ICU nurses who hadn’t stopped for lunch as they fought by my side. These children were sick in ways that required every bit of our combined skill.

When tiny meets problems with intestines meets overwhelming infection, there is impossibility. When cancer meets probable TB pneumonia 3 days after a uvulectomy in a cultural ceremony, there is impossibility.  And this morning, impossibility won. Most things looked better, but neither baby was awake, their pupils showed no recognition to my light. Despite every possible thing I could do, they had lost the battle in the most important place – their brain.

So I cried today, with two families. I felt my hope hold on until the last moment only to leave my heart drained from the battle.  And tomorrow, I will return to the hospital to fight again, to wonder again, to hope that my hands will be used in this place.

Hope is the thing in our brain that drives us to fight the impossible, to have compassion in the hardest moments, and to seek miracles everyday.  Hope makes me run to the hospital in the middle of the night. It is why I  breathe for a baby for an hour or more when convention tells me to stop. Hope opens the door to love when we otherwise may have protected ourselves from pain.

Hope is beautiful and undeniable expectation given by the One who works impossible things.

12 thoughts on “hope

    • Author gravatar

      you amaze me and I am so blessed to have you in my life! How blessed those children and those families are to have your hands and your hope!

    • Author gravatar

      Your story brings tears to my eyes, but it is such a blessing for you and for those children to be there! I love reading your stories and seeing the photos! You truly inspire me, doing what we all wanted to do when we went into our field, sometimes saving lives, but always fighting and hoping!

    • Author gravatar

      Arianna – I am a friend of your sister, Anna. As a mom, this story touched and broke my heart at the same time. I just wanted to say that you are doing amazing things for people who need it most – giving hope to so many. Prayers are being sent to you and your family. Keep fighting – keep hoping!

    • Author gravatar

      Thanks for your story about hope. It is a beautiful thing and without we are lost!

    • Author gravatar

      You are always in my prayers. May God bless you and your awesome work that you do.

    • Author gravatar

      And I pray that the One who works the impossible will give you strength and courage…

    • Author gravatar

      Love you. You did all the right things… including hope.

      • Author gravatar

        Dear Arianna, I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch them slip away, but they were incredibly blessed by you and the others there, in their time of need. I hope you are able to find small times for YOU, to be able to sustain you. You are in my prayers. Thank you for being our hands and feet. May God bless you and yours abundantly.
        <3 Debbie

    • Author gravatar

      Habari, this story showed up in my Samaritan’s Purse newsfeed. I too have been to Kijabe Hospital not as medical personnel but as a missionary bring children to be treated. Hope may not be enough but LOVE is! The love you showed these 2 precious babies, the hospital staff and these babies’ families will be a blessing to each of them in its own special way. The “One who works impossible things” used you to share HIS Love, Christ’s love. Lifting you up in Prayer. Be Blessed!

    • Author gravatar

      Thank you for the reminder. My daughter is serving God in Nairobi. I will share your story on her timeline

    • Author gravatar

      Your account about these tiny lives brings tears to my eyes and an enormous ache in my heart. God surely placed you in this exact place to bring hope, and comfort, and healing when possible. I pray for you and those you touch.
      My son and daughter served in Zambia for 4 years and your stories remind me of
      the very special people God has chosen to care for His children all over the globe.
      Thank you for your service and love for mankind.

    • Author gravatar

      thanks for all you did to save our baby Darwin even tho we lost him.we shall forever be greatful.God bless for yr gud work if saving lives.

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