on celebrating the wins. . .
When A. came to Kijabe several months ago, she was dying. She was 6, but her abdomen was so big it looked like she had swallowed two watermelons. Someone in Tanzania had told her that the best place to get care in Kenya for kids was Kijabe, so she rode with her grandmother on the back of a pikipiki (motorcycle) for 4 hours to our hospital arriving late into the night.
When she arrived, she couldn’t breathe and she was admitted to our monitored unit where we took 2 liters of fluid off her abdomen, put her on high flow oxygen, treated her for infection, and gave her nutrition through her veins to try to give strength to her failing body. It took every expertise on our team- our nurses, surgeons, PECCCOs, and doctors to get her from hour to hour and hope she would improve.
Over her next two months in the hospital, A was curious and joyful, smiling through difficult procedures and asking for cake. On her birthday, she decorated her bed with the balloons she was using to strengthen her lungs, and she slept surrounded by color. She was still on nutritional formula, so we sang to her and promised cake when her body was strong enough to process the sugar that it entailed. . .
2 weeks into her treatment, we all sat upstairs in a room and laid out her almost 2 year illness course and her previous and current treatments, and decided despite all the complications that were confounding, the only cause was certainly peritoneal tuberculosis leading to a cascade of all the other problems and we resolved to continue the treatment we had started while working with nutrition and physiotherapy and occupational therapy to make her stronger.
A month ago, an almost unrecognizable child waltzed into our ICU complete with all her Maasai finery – she sat at the nurse’s desk and chatted away, her now-not-swollen belly cinched with belt and her cheeks filling out with signs of health. She was ready to cut her cake and celebrate with us all – a testimony to the goodness of God and the team that He brought her to that stormy night when all seemed lost. . .