Hospital Visit again today! Usually all our kids are at the same hospital, but due to their varying needs and conditions, we are floating back and forth between two different ones. Today, rather than send one group to two hospitals we split in half so we would have more time with the kids.
I visited Chera and Joman. Chera is an adorable little ten year old girl. Scratch that. Eleven year old girl. She celebrated her birthday in the hospital yesterday. Her surgery was over a week ago now. We had hoped she would be back at our complex by now, but due to some complications, the doctors have kept her at the hospital longer than normal. This cutie is about as sweet as they come. And as small. Since she her heart has been so weak for so long, her growth has definitely been stunted. In Iraq, she had surgery three different times in an attempt to fix her heart defect. All of them failed. In many ways, this is her last chance. The doctors were initially pleased with her surgery, they still are. But her rapid heart rate is making them cautious. For Chera's mother, it is a reason to despair. Her downcast face shows her lack of hope. I don't think she believes her daughter could ever be well.
Today at the hospital, two clowns stopped by to cheer the girl and her mother up. They were completely ridiculous and hilarious. It was just what the doctor ordered to lift Chera's spirits. They even danced around with one of the other fathers. I feel like this might have broken some Middle Eastern proximity rules for men and women... But hey, what do I know? Once they left, Chera and I hit a balloon back and forth to each other and then blew bubbles. It was so great to see her smiling and giggling again!
In the middle of the day, I made a quick run down to the ICU to see Joman. This adorable little boy went straight to the hospital after entering the country. He was losing consciousness every day at home so the doctors felt an emergency surgery was necessary. When I saw him he was sleeping soundly. For part of my job, I'm supposed to take pictures of the kids and their families and write about them for the website. I love it! Except when I have to get shots in the ICU. Those nurses don't like foreigners in there and they really don't like cameras. I always try to move fast, not use the flash when I can, and be respectful.... but I think I'm going to need to start finding creative ways to hide my camera so they can't tell I'm documenting the inner workings of the Intensive Care Unit.
I went back and hung out with Chera awhile longer while the other two volunteers and I waited for our ride to come pick us up. The mothers all sat around chatting and I was perched on the edge of Chera's bed. As we sat, she slowly scooted over close to me, laid her head on my lap, and held my hand. I just rubbed her back and played with her hair as her eyelids struggled to stay open.
One of the biggest things I have learned here- kids need comfort. They will react however the adults around them are reacting. If the parents stay calm, the kids will be too. If the parents freak out, the kids start to cry and get nervous. Right now, the worry in Chera's mother's eyes is echoed in the little girl's face. But throughout a day, if we can be calm and cheerful, slowly I see her relax and her spirits begin to rise. I pray that her mother finds the true peace that Jesus offers. I know He can heal all her pain and relieve her anxiety.