Thursday, May 22, 2008

the euphoric tales of a pedatric nurse

4.6 months old. 20 lbs.
An excellent snuggler.
Born with two club feet; has since acquired two huge cheeks.
Possibly the largest Liberian baby I have cared for.

Patrick makes me love being a nurse. He is a docile happy baby, who obviously loves to eat. I have a strong belief that babies were never meant to be skinny. Skinny babies make me sad. Babies like Patrick, with rolling legs and inflated arms, make me happy. I feel they are what God intended babies to look like (that's not doctrine..just a personal bent :).

I can't help but steal Patrick from him mother on a regular basis. Today I visited the ward for that very specific purpose.

Last night, I took Patrick for a walk down the hallway, showing him off like a prize. The world needed to appreciate his robustness.

As I held him, he let his plump arm flop across mine and dangle by my hand. His head was carefully nestled into the nook of my neck and plump cheeks melted into me chest. As I stroked his hairless head, he fell asleep. I couldn't help but sing into his ears the song, "So this is love," from the Disney classic "Cinderella".

A baby asleep in your arms. The wealth of kings could not compare to such a beautiful moment.

Later, while he was laying in his bed I stick my face close to his as part of a strategic plan to make him smile. His eyes met with mine and he started talking. For almost 15 minutes he tested his growing lungs with a series of high pitched "ahhs" and "coos". His words were rather unintelligible to the adult ear but I convinced myself that he was spouting sonnets of love in my general direction.

A girl can dream, can't she?
Seven months old.
Born with bilateral club feet.
A smiley and happy baby.

Mesco is from up country. He has five older siblings who are currently under the care of his father. His mother brought him to Monrovia in January hoping that he could be helped on the ship. But the ship was not here.

Determined to help her baby, she stayed in Monrovia with a friend, hoping to make it to the ship when it returned.

She had nothing. She told me people on the street would see her and "the fine child," and they would help her, by giving needed money and food. She had to trust God to meet their needs while she waited for the ship. Her needs were always met.

In March, Mesco was screened at the ship and scheduled for surgery. He came this week.

At home, kids generally don't need surgery for club feet because the are treated when they are very young. Because the bones are still forming, the feet can be corrected through a series of casts and manipulation. We have been able to treat a few children here this way, which is wonderful because it is completely non-invasive.

Mesco is currently undergoing cast changes. Last night I assisted the surgeon while he changed Mesco's cast (I was covered in plaster when it was all over, which I found rather enjoyable..I looked as if I worked extra hard :). Mesco screamed and attempted to kick (however I had him in a complete body hold) while the angry and noisy saw temporarily freed his small legs. The wonderful thing about children is that they are quick to forgive and he was smiling and laughing moments after the saw was turned off.

Yesterday his mom platted his hair. You have to love his little platts.

I sure do.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my friends in the "A ward men's club" that I have been caring for for the past month, a peds nurse is always a peds nurse. This week the pediatric orthopedic surgeons are back, which means our cute double casted friends are retuning in droves.

Last night, as I cared for my assignment which consisted of no one over the age of six, euphoria was running through my veins. As the translators regularly tell me, "oh Meggee, she loves the children." These kids are so darn cute; it would be an impossibility not to love them.

I am going to dearly miss them when I leave.

more pediatric photos

1 comment:

Mom said...

Oh those babies!!!!
Patrick's cheeks are gi-normous :)
I love them!!!

Precious pics Meg!