Today I had the most enjoyable shift. Everyone was happy. All my patients were children. I worked with my roommate Dorothy and we wrote a few ridiculous songs about the daily routine's of the ward (like the "Pupu song" did you want that dose of lactulose? Wow..I am such a nerd)
Levi was one of my charges. He's a ten year old boy that weighs only 20 kg (about 44 lbs.). He had a large facial tumor debulked that is suspected to be cancerous, probably Burketts lymphoma. It took only five months for his tumor to take over the right side of his face.
Tomorrow we are transferring him to a facility where he may start chemotherapy. I have taken care of many newly diagnosed cancer patients and it breaks my heart every time. I wanted to cry in report when I heard Levi, who I had never cared for before, might have cancer and need chemotherapy. Chemo is not fun for kids and you hurt for the patient and family because you know the road they will be traveling down.
As I was getting report, Levi came by and began to ask us for cow meat. He is on a soft diet that apparently was not satisfying his appetite. Immediately it was apparent that he had an extremely sweet demeanor. He was happy, friendly, shy, and polite.
And so skinny.
It's always sad to see a child be sick. But there is an extra element of sadness here when you think of the very limited resources available in this country. Levi lives in a country that has no electricity or working plumbing. His hospital experience will not include specialist, air conditioning, nutritionist, complex medical equipment, or a single bed hospital room. He'll get chemotherapy and hopefully clean water.
I'm going to keep his sweet face in my prayers this week.