Friday, March 23, 2012

This is Rubidia. She is 5 months old today and we met her 10 days ago in Chiminisijuan. Before I could even get in the door I heard her cough and knew that she was in distress. She was continuously coughing and gasping for air, her sats (oxygen level) were in the 60’s (normal is above 90)…for how long, I don’t know. We started her on oxygen and gave her some medication and she calmed down and was able to nurse. She is a scrawny little thing, weighing only 8 pounds. At the end of the day, we knew that we had three
options….take her into the Quiche hospital – which her mom refused to do; let her go home knowing that she would probably die; or take her home with us. And when presented with those choices, her mom chose the last.
So for the last 10 days we have cared for and prayed over Rubidia day and night. Her mom is so young - just 15 - but she loves her baby, never leaving her bedside. Yesterday, after realizing that she was not getting better, we made the decision to take her into the City for an echocardiogram. She has a PDA in addition to her pnuemonia, so she will stay in the national hospital in the City until her lungs are healed enough to withstand heart surgery. We left Olga (her mom) alone in a place where no one speaks Quiche, where she has no idea how to get home, where her mom cannot enter, in an area where it is not safe to step outside of the hospital. And yet this is the best hosptial that this country has to offer the poor. I have been there when the entire hospital had no water. The staff frequently goes on strike because of the lack of supplies. One time I was in the ER and there were no paper towels or soap for the doctors to wash their hands with. I watched them wash with water and then dry their hands on the curtains. The hospital was full yesterday but somehow they found a bed for her. Often it is so full that they shut the Emergency Room. Where these children go then....I do not know.
It has been an exhausting 10 days and I slept like a baby last night knowing that she was in the hands of others who are smarter than I. Our hope is that one day we will be able to have a place where children like her could come, be cared for professionally in combination with the love and prayer that we are able to give. Without a lab, or ability to do chest x-rays, or most importantly, a physician....we can only offer half of what little Rubidia needed. At moments like these, I am overwhelmed with inadequacy. I find myself asking, "Why Lord, what is it that you want us to learn from this?" Maybe it is just so that we fight and pray harder to build that place where children like Rubidia can come. Would you pray today for Rubidia and her mom?

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