Today in the ward 7 year old Massa was playing on a blanket with two other girls in the ward. They were having fun, surrounded by crayons, coloring books, and a few hand knit teddy bears. In the midst of some beautiful childhood imagination, they took a blanket and covered their heads, pretending to be in a house (or maybe a cave or a car or a train..the possibilities are endless).
I don't want to sound boastful, but in my childhood I feel I earned the title of master fort builder. My brother's and I spent endless hours transforming bedrooms, basements, forests, and living rooms in to caves, houses, castles, battleships, and far away lands, utilizing our limited resources of chairs, blankets, and the occasional towel.
When I saw the girls under the blanket it was apparent to me that they needed a proper fort. So I made them one. We have curtains attached to magnets that we use to provide privacy for our patients when doing procedures. Using a curtain and a chair, the girls had a small fort in the middle of the ward. Little girls love playing house and they were quite excited to play in their "house".
Sadly, Massa had to leave early so we could change her dressing for the first time. Massa's mother is not here, so her teenage sister has assumed the caregiver responsibilities. She told me Massa's story.
A few years ago Massa was drinking water and she spilled it all over her shirt. She went next to a fire (in a country with no electricity fire's are the primary source for light, cooking, and other things) and held her shirt up, hoping to dry it off. But Massa got to close, and her shirt caught on fire, leaving her chest and left armpit badly burned.
Today was Massa's first dressing change. I stroked her head as the bandages were slowly removed but I could not sooth away her worried tears. But she was a brave little girl and remained remarkably calm for a seven year old.
What a sweetheart.