Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Not Hydro

I will now take a break from my light-hearted posts of funny memories and moments of the trip to reflect on the deeper and more meaningful, life-changing parts of this journey.

Day one working in the hospital, I was working with Dr. John and we took a patient and his mother into the medical examination room. The appointment started out normal - just like the previous 5 patients we had seen that day.

This patient was 9 months old and lay there in his mother's arms expressionless. As the mother explained to Dr. John her concerns with the child, she seemed hopeful and joyful -- for she was at the best neuro hospital in the country and knew her son would receive great care. This mom spoke Luganda - the native language - so Dr. John had to keep translating back and forth between me and the mother so I could understand what she was saying. Throughout their whole interaction, all I could do was just stare at the beautiful baby boy laying in his mother's arms. He lay motionless, expressionless; the entire time.

This didn't seem like hydrocephalus. She didn't mention a growth on the back indicating spina bifida. What did this precious boy have?

Finally, Dr. John looked at me and said "I think this child has cerebral palsy." We ran some tests to confirm. He was sure. He then translated to the mother and explained the condition of the child to her. I watched as her face dropped. The smile I had seen throughout the entire appointment was gone - and I wouldn't see it again. She didn't look Dr. John in the eye. She didn't look at her sweet son. She stared out the window with a stern face.

Dr. John proceeded to tell her that CURE does not have the resources available to treat cerebral palsy patients and we would have to refer them elsewhere. After explaining this and the child's condition in great detail -- still without any eye contact from the mom -- Dr. John asked her if she understood. She grunted in agreement and stood up and walked out the door.

My heart broke in that moment. The mother that came in to our exam room so hopeful and joyful, walked out a different woman.

I see so many success stories here at CURE -- so many. But this particular case on day one really hurt my heart. Could we do nothing for them? Did we really have to send them away? I know the regional and government hospitals are poorly run and they would not receive great care. But CURE is such a specialized hospital - and cerebral palsy doesn't fall into the category of treatments done here. 

But my heart.

And then I think of the success stories we have here at CURE. Every day we have victories and triumphs. Everyday lives are saved and healed because of Jesus Christ and because of His power in those who work here.

Sometimes it hits me. The immensity of it all. There is so much need - and I am one person. I am inadequate. And I knew that coming here. But sometimes when I work so hard to make one child smile or make one child feel loved, my heart breaks all over again for the thousands that live each day without knowing what being loved feels like and that go a whole day without a smile lighting up their precious faces. 

And then The Lord comes in a still small voice and whispers to me that this one is enough. It's enough that this one is feeling His love. Because that love is eternal. Eternal.


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