Tuesday, February 05, 2008

First stop...Lunsar...

After 2 hours of driving, we reached Lunsar, in the hope of finding my patient. After a few confusing (Krio) phone calls we figured out that most likely she was in the St. John of God Catholic Hospital at Mabesseneh (rather than the government run hospital). So that was where we looked first. As I got out of the vehicle and approached the hospital a girl of about 7 years ran up to me and threw her arms around me. My first thought was, wow, she’s super friendly. Soon enough I found out that she is on the same 4-bed ward as my patient. The family had seen our land cruiser drive up and decided to stand by the window to watch us, while this other little girl ran out to greet us, excited that we had come to visit her new co-patient.

We quickly made our way to the ward where we found 5 year old Mariama. Her family was excited to see us. I think it meant a lot to them that we came. Mariama herself was somewhat subdued; very quiet compared to the cheerful little girl I had seen in Freetown only 11 days earlier, full of smiles. A sign that she had started chemotherapy and it was kicking in. Despite the fact that she was a little down, this was a good indication. And fortunately, she seemed to have relatively few side effects thus far. Finally, 6 months after her jaw tumor first appeared, she is receiving the correct treatment. There’s still a long road ahead of her, with various courses of chemo to take, but there is hope.

After an hour of chatting, sitting, unwrapping crayons, a coloring book, a jump rope, a stuffed animal, etc., teaching Mariama how to color (although her father enjoyed it the most), playing with her baby brother (who loved the stuffed animal), it was time to leave again. As we left the hospital, I felt relieved, knowing that finally I had found a place to send my Burkitt patients to, so that they could receive proper treatment. I am thankful and full of hope. So is Mariama.

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~