Day 2: Sunday, December 5, 2010, Surrounded by Sick Patients
After breakfast, I decided to go to clinic by myself to eyeball the ICU and realized very quickly that the boy in bed 3 in the little ICU was in trouble. Overnight his IV came out and was not replaced. He was restless, writhing in bed and his eyes had no life in them. Mom was trying to coax him into drinking ORS but he was not cooperating. Gelseylin was with me and she quickly placed an IV in him and we poured fluid into him. Within two hours he perked up and was able to raise himself up from his cot. He whispered to me that he was five years old and his name was John. Mom was very happy and enthusiastically made him drink his ORS.
The man in Bed 1 was looking a little better. I syringed fed a baby which turned out to be his.
After lunch we returned to the clinic only to find half the ICU empty, most patients were discharged to the step-down unit and the decision was not discussed with us. I went looking for the man in bed 1 and found him badly off along with his baby who had been having massive diarrhea and Mom had trouble convincing him to drink. Gelsylyn and I brought them back, both of us helping the man to walk up to the unit, Half way there he was exhausted and settled himself on the steps for awhile. Both of them needed IV fluids. Later in the afternoon another young boy was brought back by his mother from the step-down unit to the ICU and Tom took care of him.
In the front porch, two men carried a sick woman on a bed-frame. The woman had been sick for five days with vomiting and diarrhea and it was rumored that they had to travel for two hours to come to the mission. The woman was not able to answer questions, her eyes were glazed and she was dehydrated. I examined her and felt her belly and asked if she were pregnant. She turned out to be seven months pregnant. I told Gelsylyn that we would need two IVs in her. She asked me why. I replied that she was very dry, having been sick for five days and that she was pregnant. She looked at me and said, "Is the second IV for the baby?" Her face brightened up at the idea. She too brightened up within two hours having able to talk in whispers to us.
Later in the evening we went rounding, the ICU was hopping, many of the people discharged to the step-down unit came back and new patients arrived, including a baby being breast-fed by her mother. Alan placed an intra-osseous line in the tibia and a two-year-old. A second one was placed as the first one was not working, eventually an NG tube was placed by Sherry and she was fed via NG. After 100 to 200 cc of fluids were pushed into her, she became quite feisty. John's mother was on hand to help out and John could be seen milling around in the ICU, looking for his mother, a totally different boy from the one we saw this morning....the wonder of IVs and ORS.