Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fatu and Mary

The past three days have been busy. I have been working in D ward, which is currently our dental abscess/ max-facial ward.

I have been caring for a pair of ten year old girls, Fatu and Mary. Fatu had some work done to her palate while Mary had a TMJ release.

Fatu was sick today. I felt quite bad for her. Despite my best medicated efforts to relieve her uncomfortableness she still looked rather miserable. But thankfully she had her mom.

Her mom told me, "Normally Fatu is tough, but not when she is sick." Fatu kept requesting to curl up against her mothers chest rather than her pillow. Her mother spent the entire day (as well as the night before) watching her, stroking her, singing to her, praying for her, loving her, taking care of her. Almost one in four Liberian children die before their fifth birthday. I believe have seen many parents be very dis attached to there children and I believe this statistic plays a large roll.

But Fatu's mom was quite attached. She is a great mother. I hope Fatu feels better tomorrow.

Halfway through my day I looked for Mary on her bed and release she was gone. A second glance reveled she and her mother were sitting on a mattress on the floor. The spent the rest of the shift there. It made me lough; this would only happen in Africa.

Many of our patients don't have beds so sleeping in one is a strange, unfamiliar experience. I am assuming that's why Mary and her mother preferred the floor; it's what they know.
I feel quite sad for Mary. She has a strangely flat affect and is difficult to engage. Sadly, I have seen this as a trend in many of the TMJ patients. I am imagining they are teased rather horrifically; and that is why they are so withdrawn.

I hope this operation gives Mary the chance to step outside again.

Before i finish I will mention Abraham, a 14 year old who broke his jaw playing football (soccer) a few days ago. For reasons I don't know, his mother could not be with him today. When I assessed him this morning I could tell he was very nervous. I sat on his bed and explained that it was okay to feel nervous and that we would take good care of him. I thought he looked a bit relieved.

However, i was disproved when we stepped foot into the hospital to walk towards the OR. 14 year old Abraham broke out into vicious tears. He was really scared.

I sat on the OR waiting bench with my arm around his frame (which was closer to that of a ten year olds), trying to offer some comfort. Poor guy.

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