Thursday, February 11, 2016

Smiles Make My Day Better

Rotating through the pediatric hospital can be taxing. When a child is admitted they are usually very sick. My morning starts early, checking on my patients before major ward rounds with the attending doctor.

Wandering the hallway today I met a girl named Judy (name changed for protection). She looked like one of those children on the ads raising money for kids in Africa. Her legs are as small as broomsticks her cheeks and eyes sunken in. She was wearing a princess dress covered in dirt. She smelled of urine. Her hair was tangled and falling out. She barely could walk to the play room. She is being treated for malnutrition. Slowly she is is being introduced to a high calorie diet. Everyone seemed to be avoiding her so I sat down and I handed her my phone to play a game of candy crush. She pressed her little fingers on the touch screen and smiled. 

Charles (changed) is a boy with Burketts who wanders the wards. When I wave he smiles despite the huge mass on his cheek. He is a normal boy of 12 and wonders why he has to be in a place with such sick children. Burketts has a 60-90% survival rate in the states. But in our hospital chemo is expensive and his dad just can't afford the treatment. When I pass him in the hallway we high-five.

Faith (also changed) is a small girl with HIV, she is so weak she can barely lift her head off the bed, but evey time I walk by her bed she reaches her arm out to greet me. When I walk away she waves bye. We greet each other and wave bye about 10 times a day. She loves highfives and loves funny faces. 

Mary (changed) is a girl with epilepsy. She is on so many anti-seizure drugs that she seems intoxicated. She falls side to side as her mom props her up. She hit me today when I placed her IV. Despite that I got it on the first try. She smiles now when I walk by. 

A boy without a name was found left for dead on the street. He lays in a cage, isolated from everyone. He has cerebral palsy. His only form of communication is screaming. Every couple of hours he screams. All the staff walk by him seaming not to notice. I opened the cage the other day and held his hand. He stopped screaming. He just wants love and that's all I have to give. 


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