A couple months ago now (actually the first night I stayed in the hospital with Ningih) a little five-year-old girl was brought to the house with severe burns down her right side. She'd been frying an egg in oil when her clothes caught on fire.
Daddy drove her into the Metta ER where shortly she was then transferred to the larger hospital a ways away. Her father had to stay as her caregiver in the hospital as her mother was very pregnant at the time and had her baby just a week later.
He found the hospital procedure for burn patients dvery disturbing though. He couldn't stand to see her in so much pain everyday and felt like they were hurting more than helping her. And so he took her and left for home where he said they would sacrifice to the spirits and use their own traditional rememdies instead.
Several days later the mother came asking for medicine for the child and I asked to please go see her. I hadn't seen her since just right after the accident and I don't know what I was expecting, but what I did see was shocking. I found her lying on the floor in agony, naked, with the large part of her side an encrusted mess with blood and pus oozing from the cracks, her father bent over her dabbing a liquidy, almost clay-like potion (actually the pounded up part of some tree) into the wound with a feather. She was also feverish and barely eating.
If she really couldn't go back to the hospital, I asked if she could at least PLEASE come stay at our house 'til she got better. Surprisingly, the parents agreed, but when they asked the child to go she was wholly uncooperative and no amount of coaxing or pleading could make her otherwise. They felt that since she was the one in pain she was the one to make the decision (much to my frustration, I may add).
I decided to still do the best we could do for her under the circumstances though and to try to make it to her house twice a day. Not an easy job though as her parents didn't want anything causing her more pain.
After the first treatment I returned to find her re-smothered in the clay-like potion. I was told that after I had left the wound started to drain quite a bit (Hallelujah! Mission accomplished!) and that this was distressing to them as they felt that it's not good for the pus and fluids to come out. No, they didn't want any more treatments for her. They would continue with their way. To put it mildly, I was crushed. I felt as though this little five-year-old's death sentence had just been signed. But I knew that I had no choice but to respect the parent's wishes. Must a five-year-old die simply due to her parent's ignorance and superstition?
Fighting my frustration, I decided to make the commitment to keep in touch and come visit (without medicine), regardless.
My prayer was that God would break down their superstitious ways through this, but not at the expense of their child's life and that He would heal her. Even if it was through their attempts.
It was hard for me to accept, but I couldn't deny that they loved their daughter. They were insisting on what they felt was best. Ignorant love is still love.
It's nearly a month later now and last time I visited I found her sitting up out on the porch (Mom faithfully dabbing on the liquidy potion!) and, although she's still at risk for infection, I believe she's gonna make it. Especially her leg, although severely scarred, is nearly healed.
I'm considering this as an answer to prayer. I don't know what good God's going to bring from it yet though. Maybe they just needed to see that we were still willing to be their friends and stick with them through it. Maybe I needed to learn to let go. Maybe there's something to the liquidy potion!?! Whatever the case, I'm thankful for this little girl's life!
I would like to begin adding more pics of various patients occasionally. I know that not everyone can stomach stuff like this though. If anyone really has a problem with this please let me know.