I sat today with Susan, a mother who is desperate and heart broken. Her 14 month old boy, Shafik, was a normal healthy little boy several months ago just beginning to walk and saying mamma and papa until one day he got a fever. She took him to a hospital where he received treatment. They were going to release him but she asked them not to because he was still so weak and not quite right. A mother's intuition. A day later, he began to have seizures. She then told me that he had water on his spine and they released it. I have been told before that that is the way people here describe a spinal tap. They then began to treat him for meningitis but the medicines did not seem to help. By this point, he could no longer hear, speak, see, sit up or even swallow. He could not move his right side but physiotherapy is helping this. Because the meningitis medicines did not help, they refered her to the TB clinic and said they think he has TB of the brain. With desperation on her face and in her voice, she told me "I think they are just guessing, now." In my heart, I responded "I think you are right."
I spoke with my fellow missionary and dear friend, Claudia, afterward. We both feel so desperate to do something to find someone who knows these things and can do something to help this child and his needy parents. I wonder to myself, "how could this be prevented?" You may remember "Tiny Rose", whose situation seems very similar - a child who is developing on target, gets a fever and then loses much of her abilities. How can we keep this from happening to other children in the nearby villages? I have now seen two children like this and one is too many.
It is tough when there is so much suffering here and you seem helpless to do anything about it. Would you pray for Tiny Rose, Shafik and for prevention of this happening to others? Would you pray for Susan and her husband that this situation will bring them to the Great Physician?