For about six weeks now, I've been treating a little boy who is not quite two. Little H. has partial thickness burns over the entire right side of his body. He was burned by hot oil.
It has taken a significant effort to keep this little guy alive. There were several periods over the last month and half that I wasn't sure he would survive. At one point he refused to eat or drink anything and his surgeon ordered a nasogastric tube.
It took a few educational sessions, but we were able to teach his mom how to feed him via the tube in his nose and how to keep it clean. We had to put little mittens on his hands, yet he still managed to pull the tube out twice.
But it was working. He was thriving and starting to maintain a healthy weight. He began eating again from his mouth.
So they discharged the tube.
And I went to Niamey for the conference.
But within only a week, he had stopped eating again and had lost so much that he was nothing more than (burned) skin and bones.
When I did his wound care on Tuesday, I was certain I would break his leg simply by lifting it.
The doctor again ordered an NG tube and we taught the woman with him, his father's other wife, how to feed him and encouraged her to try to get him to eat orally as well. She was a quick learner and understood that if Little H. didn't eat he was going to die.
Little H. and I have a love/hate relationship. I love him and he hates me. Dysfunctional, I know, but we make it work. Hey, I can't hold it against him . . . I make him cry and hurt and scream. I make his pain worse. And he's too little to understand why.
Normally, he only has to look and me and he starts crying.
When I left work yesterday, this precious baby was too weak and limp to move on his own . . . too weak even to whimper when he saw me.
I wasn't sure he'd make it through the night.
When I came in this morning, I checked the stack of charts, first, before heading to his room. I admit I've reached my max capacity for lost babies . . . and I didn't think I could handle another one. Not today.
But his chart was there! He had survived!
I went into the room.
He was sleeping in the bed next to his father's other wife. She saw me and lit up.
'Look!' she said as she pulled Little H. into her arms.
He slowly turned his face toward mine, took a good look, and began to scream!
The momma and I both began to cheer!
He was strong enough to turn his head! Strong enough to scream!
Throughout his dressings this morning he was a natural little wiggle worm!
The road to recovery is still a very long one . . . but praise be to God, Little H. is back on it!!