Posted on 27 November, 2013

“Trigger warning- blog post may cause emotional distress”

Tuesday proved to be a challenging day for the OHI team, for a number of reasons. While there are so many happy moments watching the children here, it can still be a difficult and emotional experience. We wanted to share with you how the team supports each other when the going gets a little tougher.

The first Tuesday trouble revolved around me. Clearly I felt that these kids had all the attention so I managed to fracture two bones in my wrist in an awkward fall in the hotel lobby which required a (short) visit to the orthopaedic operating theatre. There were some upsides to volunteering in such a wonderful hospital as I had medical staff from three nations all helping me. Everything went smoothly; though I was concerned Dr Jordan Wood was going to shave my eyebrows off when I was under anaesthetic (apparently worse was discussed). The irony is I had planned to spend Tuesday afternoon in the operating theatre, just not as a patient.

While I was causing unnecessary trouble for the local and OHI staff through my awkwardness there were much bigger issues faced by our ICU team. Little Francisco, who had surgery on Monday, was very unwell. His icumalaria condition, which had been dormant until the surgery, flared up and placed significant pressure on his system. While he received dedicated treatment and care from the team sadly his organs failed. He was visited by the Sisters from the orphanage, and not long after he passed away, with his carer Olive at his side.

While almost everyone on the trip is a medical professional and very experienced, dealing with this is always difficult. Those involved in Francisco’s care came together in the afternoon to learn from the experience professionally and share how their feelings and the emotional impact it was having on them. The entire OHI team takes comfort knowing he received the best treatment he could have had and was surrounded by those who loved him.

As we walked out of the ICU we found Moses (of the Chupa Chup picture fame) blowing bubbles over the hospital courtyard while Henriette, Sheila (of course), Eric, Hyacinthe and Honorine (and the ward nurses) were all learning to tie babies on their backs and were proudly marching around with pillows masking as babies.

Wednesday would be a new day.

baby carrying kid ICU

Tags:  East Africa,