We awoke on Saturday morning, knowing we would be leaving that night. I had planned on joining Dr. Rick Hodes on his hospital rounds, and was looking forward to seeing the patients that he was following, but it was not to be…we discovered that morning that one of the children of our cohort of kids being adopted had been infected with measles…and Ron stepped up to help out. We knew that the child was ill, but the rash became apparent during the previous night, and the child had been removed from the orphanage to a maternal/child hospital in town. Ron went over as soon as we were up to offer his expertise and services. For Ron and me, this was an object lesson in pediatrics and infectious disease…neither of us had seen measles, and the rash was quite distinctive. Yes, I was a little miffed that my own plans for the day were sacrificed, but, I was glad that Ron could offer some reassurance to our new friends. So frightening to be confronted with a potentially fatal illness on the eve of their bringing their child home, and the least we could do was to give a hand. For Ron, this was a little insight into the compromises and half-measures that one deals with all the time trying to provide medical care in a resource-limited setting…limited laboratory services, and limited advance life support….it really does present a challenge!!
While Ron helped at the hospital, I sorted out our packing, and kept Silly Sal amused. Thank Goodness for our video camera…I transferred our video of the coffee ceremony to our computer, and Silly Sal was completely entertained by playing this video over, and over, and over again, singing along with the songs…a perfect solution to entertaining a child who didn’t yet speak any appreciable amount of English, and had no idea what was coming….
Sometime during the day, Ron returned…Jelly-Belly woke up and joined us, and we all managed to get packed, and eventually were waiting for our bus ride to the airport for our 10pm flight out. It was all clearly out of the ordinary for Silly Sal, who had some concept of what’s regular, and Jelly-Belly just went with the flow (as he continues to do). We all sat around in the main room of the house, and, at least for me, with increasing trepidation about this venture out into the “real world” with our new charges! In a funny way, it reminded me of the day that I took my now-28-yr-old daughter from the hospital in March in NYC, after she had spent 4 months in a toasty Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and there was snow outside!!! It just felt a bit like “Wait, are you crazy?? Letting us leave this little oasis with these vulnerable beings??”. We had been so sheltered and protected during this week that we’d spent at the guest house, and now, we were really going to have to step up and cope – language barriers and all!