I've been watching a lot of Greys Anatomy lately, perhaps too much since my husbands making references to it and my two year old son runs around saying "Greys Anatomy"all day long, always with a giant smile on his face and a few extra syllables added in!!
Every few episodes a patient dies and the Doctors have to let the families know the news. They walk out to the lobby, spot the family, let out a sigh, and slowly walk over to where they are seated. You can tell that while they walk they are practicing what they are going to say in their head. They don't want to be the ones to tell the family. They get in front of them, look them in the eye, and let the family know that they did all they could, but their loved one didn't make it.
I hate these scenes because they strike much too close to home. Far too many times I have stepped out on my patio, glanced down to the waiting area by our gate, let out a long sigh, and slowly walked to where they are sitting, practicing what I'm going to say on the way. I've had to look too many Mothers, Fathers, Grandmas, Aunts, and other family members in the eye and tell them that we did all we could, but their child, their baby, their little one that they loved, held, and prayed for didn't make it. Luckliy for the doctors on Greys Anatomy, they don't have to do this in a foreign language, I have to do it in Creole which makes it that much harder.
I've witnessed all sorts of reactions to this news. I've had Moms who fall to the ground screaming at the top of their lungs, I've had Dads who sit in silence, and Aunts whom don't know what else to do but pray. I've had families that want to hold their child's body and refuse to leave them and then I've had families who choose not to see them at all in hopes if remembering them as the child they once were.
We had a little boy pass away recently. He hadn't been in our care long and spent most of that time in the hospital. I didn't know him well but I was beginning to form a great relationship with his parents and I really liked them. They were going to take him home and he was only in our care solely for medical help. They cried when they left him with us. I didn't want to tell them the news that their child died. I didn't know how they would handle it and I really had hoped that their son would have made it.
This little boys Father really touched me as I told him the news of his precious baby boy. He looked me in the eye and thanked me.
You see, this little boy was a twin. They were born at 2.5 lbs and were very fragile. When they were 9 days old their parents took them to a clinic to get help. The medical staff there told them that the boys were too far gone and that there was nothing they could do. They sent them home with out help, medicine, or advice. They sent them home and expected their parents to watch their babies die. And his twin, he did just that, he died the next day. But their parents were determined to get the care that their little guy needed and deserved. They were scared and didn't know what to do. They came to us.
He was in really rough shape and I knew instantly I would be admitting him. I also knew that he likely wouldn't make it. But we tried any way. Sheila lost 3 nights of sleep staying up with him to ensure that he was breathing and that his IV was working right. Both Nick and Sheila donated blood trying to save his life, but in the end he still didn't make it.
His Father told me this story that day and then he thanked me. He told me that when he took the twins to the clinic no one even tried to help them. But when they came to us, we gave them hope that their son would be ok. We loved their little boy and their family enough to try. We fought to save his life. We gave his family hope in a country that often feels hopeless.
Today I went on a home visit to one of our children's houses who has been reunited with his biological family. His house was by far the worse house I have ever been in since moving to Haiti. When asked where they go to the bathroom, his Mom looked me in the eye and told me that they don't have a toilet, so they go to the bathroom in a bag and throw it over their makeshift wall. They use what some might call the "Flying Toliet." This seems hopeless. Life seems hopeless here.
Life in Haiti is hard it's easy to loose hope. But amongst all the suffering, COTP is here and we provide hope. We love these children and their families enough to try. We loose sleep and donate blood to try and save lives. We go to peoples houses to try and know them and their situations better. In a place that is full of hopelessness, COTP provides hope to those who need it most, and in the end, thats all we can really dream of doing!
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