I was so looking forward to writing you a heart warming update on the patients in my last blog and then this afternoon happened. I don’t have the energy right now to share all the details of my adventure from the visit to the premie that was born a week and a half ago, but I will do my best. I shared this story on facebook yesterday, so sorry if it is a repeat for you. The last part is my afternoon.
Yesterday after work, Sophie, the nurse that helped with the baby, and I headed out on her motorcycle with a piece of paper with the patient’s name and the name of her neighborhood. We were told go that way and just keep asking where to go. So we did. The first guy we asked said “It is that way, but it is far, probably three, four or five kilometers.” The next guy pointed us in the same direction and said, “It is close, probably 20 kilometers.” They agreed on the direction so we were off. We were in the back roads of the mountain range above the Rift Valley. It was absolutely beautiful. Farms, small creeks, cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, traditional homes… it was everything you think of in the middle of no where.
The language spoken was no longer Amharic, but Wolaittinya. “Lo-oh” is hello, so we rode along and said our lo-ohs and asked for directions. We arrived at one home and the lady suggested that she would ride on the back of the bike with Sophie and show her. So they rode off and I started walking with about 10 other people. A father of five children, some of his kids and some of the neighbor kids accompanied me across the pastures and hills to her home. There were no roads, not even foot paths. We finally arrived at the house
and the family was just delighted to see us. Traditionally, they name their babies seven days after birth. They named him Tamrat, which means Miracle. So we got to see the little miracle. He was doing well and gaining weight. Praise be to God. The ride back was almost as crazy. We went through another town, crossing paths with hundreds of peoples and animals headed home from the market, swarming bees and almost ran out of gas (thank goodness for a reserve tank!).
This afternoon, I walked into the lab and saw a woman holding a baby. The baby looked blue, so I started asking questions. She was born today. I ran to the ICU to get a pulse oximeter. They didn’t have one, so I ran to OB and got ours. The baby’s pulse ox was 50% and she was cold. I immediately grabbed her and ran to the ICU, where I knew they had oxygen, and told her mom to follow me. Of course, the heater was still not working, so they ran to OB to get a heater. I got the work up going, started her IV, antibiotics and prayed. She wasn’t even 34 degrees celcius. Once everything was going I heard her story.
She had been found on the side of the road about 4-5 hours earlier. No clothes, no blanket. Just naked on the side of the road. Her umbilical cord was tied in a knot, so she wouldn’t bleed out. The police had called one of the orphanages in town and the lady who I thought was his mother was really a nanny from there. One of the practices here is that if a woman does not want her baby, she will leave it in a field or along the road for the hyenas to eat. It is better for her to say the hyena ate my baby than for her to say she killed it. For this little girl, the hyenas weren’t the ones to happen upon her, so she had a chance. Her back was covered in scratches from the rocks that she had been laying in. Her right thigh had a large scrape covering about a forth of it. Both of her heels were covered in cuts from her kicking. And her elbow creases had remnants of the pebbled road she had been left on. The nanny had named her Holy. Everyones last name here is their father’s first name. Since they didn’t know who the dad was, her last name was where she was found, the highway. So her name was Holy Highway. At first she was improving, but I could never get her pulse ox over 81%. Then it slowly started dropping. There was nothing more I knew to do. When I knew she was going to meet Jesus, I unplugged all the cords and sang to her. I sang “Jesus Loves You” and “Holy, Holy, Holy”. I couldn’t sing half the time, so I just hummed and hoped that she would feel some love from this sinful earth we live in. I am so glad she is in the arms of God now. She is experiencing the greatest of all loves.