Friday, July 25, 2014

Finding Lydia

We spend an afternoon with our camp kids in the compounds they live in. As we were meandering through part of Chaisia, we met a boy who was sitting on the side of a pass through. He had what appeared to be a bad burn on his left upper arm and clearly had some sort of paralysis on his right side. Luckily, my group was traveling near one of the Family Legacy American staff members as well as one of the Zambian coordinators (discipleship leader/ DL) that work in Chaisa.  The DL agreed to bring the boy to camp the next day so we could have the Dr check him out. The boys name is Steve.

Friday morning, Steve shows up to camp with his mother and two siblings. We all head to the medical tent for evaluation. It is determined that Steve is paralyzed on the right side, he doesn't have much control over his right arm or leg. The burn on his arm was from a few weeks prior when he lost his balance and fell. The nurses cleaned and wrapped the burn. Unfortunately, there was nothing more we could do for this child. He appeared to be in good health, HIV screening came back negative and he would be sent home. 

Within seconds of seeing this family, the Dr said he couldn't do much for Steve, but we could save his sisters life. Lydia is four years old, she weighs just under 20 pounds, was substantially malnourished and according to the Dr, probably within days of dying. 

I have never in my life seen a human body so frail, it was a case of "skin and bones". Dr said she had hypothermia, so we bundled her up in a blanket and I held her to keep her warm. I could feel the edges if every bone in her precious body poking out. She had so little energy she couldn't cry, she just released these soft little moans and cringed her face at the pain. 

Her mother had no explanation as to why this child was so malnourished. The two brothers and mother had clearly been receiving nourishment, they were not even skinny by Zambian standards, they were  "fat" (fat does not mean obese in Zambia, it means normal size, healthy weight, meat on your bones/ it is a compliment...). We didn't find out why Lydia was malnourished, we didn't need to know why, we just needed to do something about it. 

Within a couple of hours of Lydia showing up to our medical tent, it had been determined we needed to get her to a hospital for treatment. She tested positive for HIV and needed food and nutrition in her precious body ASAP. I carried her frail little body to the car and handed her off to get treatment.  The head nurse at Tree of Life went to the hospital with Lydia, it was important to have the right person admitting her. If you can imagine, Zambian health care is different and ensuring her admittance was going to take a strong Zambian personality, they could have easily turned we away for lack of hope. Luckily, she was admitted. 

As I carried Lydia to the car for transport to University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, it took more energy to not cry and pray for her recovery than to hold her extremely fragile body. The mother was not upset, she didn't seem to realize there was something wrong with her baby girl, she didn't seemed concerned that her daughter was withering away right in front of her. I didn't want to let her go, I wanted to sit there and make this child well and love her for every sweet minute she is alive. 

Lydia is beautiful, she has these big beautiful dark eyes, thick eyelashes that curl perfectly around her beautiful eyes. A tiny little perfect nose and these plump little pouty lips that I know will make for an amazing smile once she has recovered. She really is one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. I am in LOVE with this baby, she stole my heart the second I picked her up.

I have hesitated to post this, there is a lot more to this story and I will update you as I can. This has been weighing so heavy on my heart, and I just crumble when I think about the situation.

I am begging you all, please say a prayer for my sweet Lydia, she is still at the hospital, I am still waiting to hear if the government is going to place her in Family Legacy's full time care, as well as waiting for updates to her recovery.

This was the hardest goodbye in Zambia, keep you posted on her progress...

No comments:

Post a Comment