• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on an apple. . .

on an apple. . .

Today, I walked from patient to patient on the floor.

First bed, a baby, 1 month old today. She coded on her 3rd day in Kijabe, heart stopped completely. Our nurses worked quickly, gave medicine, restarted her heart, and here she was, breast feeding and looking straight at me – ready to go home tomorrow.

Second bed was another miracle. This tiny one had come in nearly unconscious, seizing, almost overcome by infection. The first day I sat with mom and told her we would do everything in medical armamentarium, but I was worried she may never wake up. Mom looked at me quietly and said, “It will be well. . .” And today, I had to flip back the card and check again to make sure it was the same child. Because this baby girl was looking at me and giggled. She cried when I examined her and calmed and cooed in mom’s arms She carries some small scars from her journey, but that giggle caused me to stop rounds and remind the interns to take note of what God had done.

Third bed was a patient I had admitted 3 weeks earlier, an echo had diagnosed her with severe heart failure, but with medicine and follow up she was improving rapidly. This time she had come in for a virus but was kicking her legs over her head as she laughed at my stethoscope and strands of hair escaping their rubber band. Mom told us it was her birthday tomorrow, and Mom’s birthday today. We stopping rounds and sang happy birthday, and mom pulled out her phone to record it all.

Fourth bed, the mom across the way called me over. I had colored and played with her daughter the last week when she was sick in our ICU with a terrible infection of her ankle. Mom handed me an apple, smiled, and motioned toward her daughter. “She is doing better, and wants you to have this,” she explained. I walked over to high five with the patient, but her hands were covered in fruit juice. So, we made a pinky promise instead as I placed the apple in my pocket. She looked like a different child than the one we had coaxed to sit up mere days ago.

I walked over to have chai with my team after rounds, and the newest intern asked me “Why pediatrics?” I told her over my journey almost 15 years ago now, when I fell in love with taking care of kids.

But really, I could have pointed her to today – to the apple in my pocket, to the moms’ hope as their kids improved, to sticky pinky promises, unexpected miracles, and legs kicked over heads with new found energy.