the latest news

I don't have an update on Addie today....status quo I guess.  Still in the ICU.
Today the twins left us.....they loaded them in a car and took them back to live with the neighbor/finally copped to being the grandma but noone believes her/really big liar/person.  She came in to the nursery all flat affect and grumpy and just sat there and didn't say a word.  It makes me so angry.  She does not want these babies.  The whole time the two tias on shift in the bercario huddled in the corner looking all sad.  I prayed over Carolina and then Mario, picked them each up, snuggled them, and gave them both kisses.  The grandma person didn't even want to hold the baby....the reintegration tias had to make me give her the baby.  One of our tias kept saying over and over in Portuguese, but mana Erin these are our babies, they're our babies.  They need to stay here. they are our babies.  Then she said, I'll take them to my house and keep them.  Then in the midst of the dramatic departure, the three musketeers-Dionisio, Latifo, and Lucia who had previously been asleep woke up and took in the scene.  Dionisio watched me give the babies over to the mean grandma person and all the strange reintegration team and then them start to leave with all the milk, medications, diapers, clothes, pacifiers ect we sent home with them and he started getting really angry and screaming at them.  It was really cute and sad all at the same time.  He just kept crying and crying and then Lucia and Latifo started in......there weren't too many dry eyes in the house after that!  So off they went with the reintegration team.  They went back to the zone they live in to meet with the head people in charge there and give them all the information on these babies, how to take care of them, all their appointments and consults and everything.  I'm still praying really hard that this neighbor person will give in and just bring them back to us.  She has lied so much to us, over and over.  It's a different story each and every time.  We kinda get the impression that she's probably not the grandma and is being pressured by other community members into saying this to try to get money or whatever from us.  It's really really sad, because Carolina and Mario are the ones that are going to suffer.  We're saving a spot for them on the milk program so that they can come back every 2 wks and be seen by a doctor, have appointment reminders, and get medications and milk for free.  They are due to return in 2 wks.  I pray that if they don't come back to live with us the least they will do is come be part of the milk program so we can keep tabs on them and their health!  Please continue to pray for this situation.  I'm still processing it tonight.


To know our God as comforter

The twins are still here.  Our reintegration team prepared a packet of info involving the twins, the investigations we had done, their history at the center, and the medical history and needs and brought it to the social welfare office late yesterday.  Now we are just waiting to see what happens between them and the family!  Please continue praying....for the moment they are still with us.
Addie got transferred last night to the baixa which is their version of the intensive care unit.  No girls are allowed to visit.  Something about how it's an intensive care and a scary place and kids are really really sick and dying and girls shouldn't see that kind of thing.  never mind that a female has to stay with the kid, no girls allowed.  I am still a girl so I was not allowed to see addie today.  but she's still on oxygen, having trouble breathing, and has a feeding tube.  At least she's getting some help and doesn't have to expend as much energy eating every 3 hrs.  The tia on the other hand is NOT allowed to sleep at all.  she must sit in a hard wooden chair next to addie's bedside and be the nurse....I mean, nurse's right hand girl.  something like that.  these first 2 wks will be the hardest not only as her body adjusts to the really powerful TB medications but as the TB medications start working on the virus.  Please pray for her.  It's been 3 weeks now to the day that she went into the hospital!  I really wanted to hold her today and pray over her and give her kisses, but I won't be able to do so again until she's out of baixa.  Pray for the tia that's with her, for strength, endurance, wisdom and empowerment to speak up on addie's behalf, and compassion for Addie! 
Thanks so much for covering our staff, myself, and our kids in prayer.  I know God is listening and I'm believing Him for results in His timing!  As we were singing in home group tonight I was having a little trouble with some of the lyrics about God being just, true, faithful, and all His ways being right all the time....as I kept singing and working through them I was gently reminded how we live in a fallen world with a different ruler than the God we serve.  He does not cause the pain and the suffering, the sickness, the evil, the death.  Our director tonight said it is always easy to see God's faithfulness in our lives when we look back, looking at the past.  But it is often the here and now and even more importantly, trusting His faithfulness into the future that we get hung up.  That is so true at the moment for me with these little tykes.  I know without a shadow of a doubt He is good and true and His ways are just and merciful and He is always faithful when I look over my life.  I just need to stand firm in what I know so I can trust Him now and in the future with Addie, Carolina, and Mario.  Then tonight I opened my email to find a friend had sent me some scripture verses.  One is a verse God showed me when I first started this journey on the way to Mozambique and I cling to it often.  I needed to be reminded of it tonight.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty tot eh captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."  -Isaiah 61:1-3
The next verses reminded me to be still in Him and to let Him fight these battles for me for He is far stronger.  In fact He has already fought these battles in the natural and supernatural and won!  We can be assured and take peace in knowing this.
"The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent."  -Exodus 14:14
And then finally, the verses reminded me of why He allows us to go through these times without just delivering us at once.  To know Him as our comforter!
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesuss Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselvs are comforted by God."  -2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Thank you for all the encouragement ya'll have sent me!  I am truly blessed by all of you! 


late update on Addie...more tomorrow!

last minute update on addie...the tia with her in the hospital called tonight to tell us that Addie has gotten worse tonight.  She is having problems breathing.  They put her back on oxygen and putting a feeding tube back in her nose.  Apparently she's thrown up blood at least once tonight as well.  Don't know more details.  Will go personally to see her tomorrow!  Please pray hard for her today (which is through most of the night for us as we're 6 hrs ahead of eastern time zone!!)  It's good news if her condition really is unchanged (per my assessment on Sunday) but they are finally figuring out that they should help her.  It's not so good news if she's gotten so bad that they have HAD to do this to help her!  So Anna and I will go to the city tomorrow and hug and snuggle and give kisses and hold and pray over Addie for the short time they'll let us and then I'll teach the tia to use a bulb syringe and how to do some chest physio and help addie out!  Oh how my heart is breaking for this little tyke.
In twin news...they are still here at the moment...and we've gotten the ELISA results back.  They are positive as well.  These are not definitive results but they are more accurate than the rapid screen.  We won't get the other results back for almost 2 months.  We are taking them for a consult tomorrow at the HIV clinic unless anything happens before they leave at 8:30 am and in the meantime we're praying hard for their situation! 
oh how heavy my heart is right now!  I know He is bigger than these things.  These children are His and are in His hands.  I trust Him with them as He created them, breathed life into them, and brought them into being.  Just wish I could do more at the moment.  I'm learning in these moments it's all I can do to pray!  Thanks for joining me.

Prayer request for the new twins: Mario and Carolina!

I don't have an update on Addie today, but hopefully will tomorrow.  I'm sending the HIV nurse tomorrow to check in on her and bring things...mainly a bulb syringe and knowledge.  I'm having her teach the tia there to do chest physiotherapy where you put the kid head down on their belly and beat on their back to help break up her secretions and mobilize them (hopefully) up and out of her lungs and into a nasal or mouth passage...which is where effective bulb syringing comes in......to remove the ickyness!  I pray this will help and that's she's getting better and better each and every moment!  Please continue to pray for her.
Today this prayer request though is for our new twins Mario and Carolina.  If you haven't read their really sad story then scroll down to my May 12th post.  Well, I have more sad heartbreaking news that demands urgent prayers.  First a few updates since that post.  We tested them for HIV and unsuprisingly they were positive which only means that they were exposed to mom's virus.  We are waiting for the results of a better HIV test called the ELISA that was sent off to SA (we're hoping to have it back today) and the best test we can do here called a PCR which takes 2 months.  This test measures the actual viral count in the baby's blood and tells us whether they have just been exposed or whether the viruses are swimming around in their little bodies and replicating over and over.  We're treating them with a preventative antibiotic to keep them from getting random infections and watching them carefully until we get the PCR back.  In the meantime they seem healthy and are gaining weight now that they are being fed appropriately.  They really look good this week.  We had a Mozambican couple that has been waiting a year for babies and they work for us.  They really wanted to adopt these two babies.  They have visited frequently, holding them, taking pictures, cooing over them, feeding them.  This isn't going to be able to happen.  The neighbor that reportedly had been taking care of the twins because the family could not and was unable to continue doing so, who had contacted us to take the kids has been visiting and saying she's the grandmother.  When told yesterday by reintegration that the kids were going through the process of adoption since we had signed papers giving them up by the family, she kept quiet.  Then she went to the social welfare office and claimed we were trying to adopt out these kids when she, as the now claiming to be grandmother, doesn't want them adopted out.  We got a nasty phone call from social welfare....this can be very very bad for us.  More importantly, this can be very very bad for these kids.  The family clearly has documentable mental issues and doesn't want these kids....but we don't have a choice at the moment, and are going to try to place these kids back with their family. 
I'm preparing everything for them for the next 2 wks (milk, antibiotics, and multivitamins).  We want them to be on our milk program and come see the doctor every 2 wks so that they can get free milk, have weight checks, and be seen by a doctor so that they can stay healthy and have all their HIV needs followed.  Unfortunatley we'll probably never see them again once they leave the center as this family seems very unstable.  But we can pray.  I'm praying that when we go back to the family today and tell them that we are giving them the babies back that they will REFUSE to take them and that we will have to keep them!  Maybe we can give them a forever home with a forever family, but we can at least keep them here happy, healthy, and loved!  I'm praying the family will just drop their claims as they are just trying to use this for money and issues as they see us a ministry with money run by the white people.  They cannot care for these children and I fear for their safety if they go home back to the situation we pulled them from.  Now we are just waiting and trying to sort it all out.  They could be gone as early as today.....Please pray with me that this kids will be healthy and safe and protected no matter the outcome!  Please read the original situation these little tykes where in on my blog because this is where they will be returning and pray over Mario and Carolina.


more about Addie's condition

well girls and boys I just returned from a long day in the city!  I went to our (on the center) church this am, then went with another missionary into the city for the day.  We ate lunch, conversed, ate icecream, sat by the sea, saw Addie in the hospital (update below) and then to an English Church....then out for something to nibble on again.  Smile emoticon  I can not tell you how good it feels to gather together in the middle of a large city that doesn't speak English with other people from all over the world that DO speak English and live and work or serve in this city for church....to worship and fellowship together.  Now most of you are saying...but don't you have lots of missionaries that you live with that speak English and are from all over the world.  Indeed we do.  There are about 35ish of us at the present and we represent 8 different countries.  The difference is we live together physically, have fellowship/community together, work together, eat together, breathe the same air together, rest together....basically we are together 24-7.  Sometimes it is just nice to sit and worship corporately and just completely and utterly be yourself completely vulnerable and open and not thinking about the person next to you.  I now have a new helper nurse wise in the BH on wkends so I am only doing every 3rd wkend.  I'm hoping to be able to go to this church more frequently to have "English church" and worship with a community that is slightly larger than the one I am with 24-7.  I think it might be very good for me. 
Anyway, on to my update on Addie and the real reason I'm posting...probably the REAL reason you're reading this at the present too.
I was glad I got to go see her in the hospital today.  I've only been to see her one time since she went in 2.5 wks ago.  That was 2 days after she entered.  I don't have a car or the ability to drive a ministry vehicle (as they are all manuals and I only drive automatic....he he).  So I haven't had the chance to go see her myself.  I've been reliant on the info the tias have been supplying us with.  Which I know isn't really good as they know nothing medically and the doctors don't really talk to them anyhow about the baby and their condition.  Immediately when I entered and saw her I was stunned.  She looks so pale and frail.  She really doesn't look good.  She's so uncomfortable and she doesn't even have a voice so she's crying all hoarse and it's pathetic.  Her little arms and legs are 3 shades darker black than her face.  they've done a patchy job at shaving her cute little curly head cause they can't keep an iv in her and they couldn't find anymore good spots so they had been searching for more veins in her head.  She just looks at you with these big pitiful round eyes that scream....help me.  The kind I hated when I was a nurse in the NICU that just seemed to say....."I hate this; life sucks; I don't want to do this; I'm miserable; can you just help me; I'd rather be sleeping forever and ever than fighting like this" kinda look.  I hate that kinda look.  She has this horrible cough that is persistent....she has so many thick secretions she's struggling to breathe and cry and it makes her feel yucky with a capital Y.  But they are too thick and yucky to cough up on her own....but noone is suctioning her out.  I wanted to go find some suction and just go to it for about 10 minutes and really clean her out.  It was time to eat when we were there so the tia tried to feed her and she'd take 2 sips then stop and pant for breath and try to cough up more secretions and then cry and then try again.  Heart wrenching.  She's still having diarrhea on and off and fevers pretty consistently.  I asked the tia about the oxygen and whether she had needed it or they had been giving it to her and her response was no...she doesn't need it cause she can drink her bottle well.  if that's well, then normal babies drink bottles supernaturally well (they must inhale it by osmosis or something).  it was really kinda gut wrenching cause I was just holding this tiny creature that looks really sick and I want to do so much for her but I can't physically do a darn thing for her.  And her caregiver isn't a medical person and is her first and last line of defense since the nurses do nothing for them.  They have NO clue how the kid is doing.  So there she sits a really uneducated tia that thinks this baby is all hunky dorey and tells me that Addie is "much better."  If that's a true statement...then I'm glad I didn't see her before cause they kid didn't stop coughing and crying and choking the entire 15 minutes I was there. 
The good news is she's still on powerful antibiotics (which didn't help for the first 10 days so I'm sure the longer she stays on them they're just wasted money, but whatever...no need to try a different one).  She's on a powerful antifungal that hopefully will kill the fungal infection racking her body (and yes she still has a visible yeast infection in her mouth) and she's been on TB meds since Friday.  So these are all good things...I just wish they'd give her some iron or something cause she really needs a blood transfusion but they don't do those here unless it's really life or death because of the risks the transfusion itself poses....but a little multivitamin with iron never hurt anyone....and I wish they'd give her some oxygen and suction her out.  But apparently that's asking for too much at this stage.  She'll probably be there for another 2 wks.  I pray she can make it another 2 wks.  This lung infection could kill her.  Please continue to stand with us and pray for Addie.  She's 4 months now and still the size of a newborn.  She's so tiny and frail.  I really just felt in my heart today that we needed to stand and intercede for her with everything we have.  I pray the TB meds kick in and that the anti-fungal meds work and that they find antibiotics that kill her pneumonia.  That she'll have a calm, no pain, and can breathe easier.  That her fever and diarrhea will cease.  That her tia taking care of her will be given strength and wisdom and know supernaturally when she needs to speak up about Addie's condition and tell the nurses something is wrong with her.  I pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses that they will be given treatment plans and idea on how to help her.  I pray most of all that Addie would just be more comfortable and grow stronger and stronger each minute!!!  I'll keep updating you when I get new information, but please continue to pray with me!


Addie et al

Addie had a not so great day yesterday. She started having breathing problems and needed to be on oxygen for awhile. They don't use humidified oxygen here so it really dried out her nose and then made her periodic nose bleed really bad. Poor kid. But finally....drum roll please......someone at HCM finally decided to start her on Tuberculosis meds......hip hip hooray! finally. one step forward. She's having more diarrhea now...but the TB meds could cause that. In adults they cause bone aches and pains, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Brilliant. Poor little Addie is only 4 months old. Please pray for her as she's adjusting to these really strong yucky meds. We're told maybe she can come home in another 2 wks. We really pray it's sooner as we miss her terribly and quite frankly, we provide a much safer and cleaner environment than she has in the hospital. Please continue to pray with us for this little girl. I know this is not her only battle at the minute and I pray they find all her other problems and start treatment as well, but at least this is a first step. I'm hoping to go visit her for a few minutes on Sunday!

In happier news.....guess who's walking??

and by walking I mean, holding my 2 hands and walking.....Dionisio. He was just 5 months when I arrived. He was so sick and near death and in and out of the hospital for his first 10 months of life. He lived with me for about 6 weeks and had a feeding tube for about a month during the time he decided he hated life enough he didn't want to be fed. When he finally moved into the Bercario at 10 months, we were able to confirm our makeshift diagnosis of failure to thrive. He just took off from such a small quiet environment. He was really able to attach to other people besides me and started gaining weight and just being healthy. Since November he has not been sick 1 day (teething excluded). He went from barely being able to sit up on his own for more than 30 seconds to the short video below in just 6 months. He is gaining wt, eating lumpyish foods and starting to put apple pieces into his mouth (eating them is the next step...but he's biting off pieces before he spits them out...baby steps). He's crawling (well, swimming), butt scooching, pulling up to standing, sitting, rolling over, getting into everything, grazing when he can hold onto things, standing and playing with toys, and walking when you help him. Oh and he's talking too....well, babbling, but still, mimicking speech, and saying a few words like.....aqua (water), boca (mouth), da (give me), vai (go), tchao (goodbye), olah (hello), nao (no), and his favorite....oh (oh). He can da cinco (give me 5, like high 5) and bata palmas (clap your hands) on demand. He's now sitting at a table in a chair and using a sippy cup...we're working on him feeding himself. slowly, slowly. We started unofficially giving him afternoon supervised playtime at the BH for 30 min-1 hr this wk. Next week it's official. He's a different kid there cause it's loud, and noisy, and there are so many kids, and he just morphs immediately into quiet, unresponsive, no eye contact, old Dionisio. But this week I got him to interact a little with the other toddlers that used to be in his room when he lived in the BH. He gave them 5 and clapped his hands when they asked. He let them give him hugs and kisses and squeeze his fat little cheeks. He talked to me a little. He even rode the baby motorcycles and rocked on the rocking horse a little. Not too bad for the first week. It'll take time and we know he can't just be quickly reintegrated, so this is the slow process. We don't want to undo what we've worked so hard to do in the last 6 months, but he will have to live back in the BH sometime. He just needs to learn to attach more and interact with kids his age more.

correct sippy cup usage demonstration

Yes, there are tears...big ones. Cause erin said no more play time, time for dinner. he didn't agree. he'd rather play with me. but look at that two-handed spoon demo. :) and that's lumpy food too....

The kids are too cute with him. They recognize him and get excited and shout his name and run over to him. He gets a little overwhelmed at times. But they love him and it's neat to see. He's as tall as them. Alirio especially was just hugging on him this week. He kept kissing him and hugging him and helping him clap his hands and teaching him to give 5 it was insanely sweet. Mindah kept getting in his face and talking baby to "Baby Dionisio." Then when I took him back to the Bercario he threw a baby fit in the floor. I calmed him down and then Lucia tried to crawl up in his lap and he started laughing and smiling and hugging and kissing her. Then he grabbed her hands and demonstrated how to clap hands. It was hysterical. He was totally mimicking what Alirio had been doing to him. Stinky boy. I need to try to get pics this week, but for some reason I've barely taken out my camera since I've been back. Wow. anyway, enjoy a few pictures and video for such a grownup little boy. Praise God!

Dionisio esta quasi andar (Dionisio is kinda walking). from Erin Welton on Vimeo.


Prayers for Addie

update on addie goes a little something like this.....
She is only having diarrhea a few times a day now.  but clearly, still having it.  vomiting still a little.  still having fevers.  and finished her 3rd round of antibiotics intravenously yesterday.  clearly without any improvement.  they did a gastric aspirate since her tb skin test was negative (which is pretty normal for her baby her age and any hiv + kid) and they can't see anything on her xray (which is also super normal for a hiv + kid and any kid of her size/age) and (I think) the aspirates of her two lymph nodes came back negative.  which is still suprising.  the moz doctor covering her at the hospital spoke with another one of our missionary nurses and a doctor from the HIV clinic addie goes to that went over and she is still expecting her to be tb positive.  I say start the darn medicines.  not my call at the moment.  her cd4, which is tells us about how her immune system is looking, is FABULOUS....so we know that while she still may end up being HIV positive (remember you can be sure till around 18 months), it is noy the HIV that is hurting her at the moment....which points back to opportunistic infections of TB and fungal infections.  We are still waiting on her PCR which looks at the actual viral load in her body, telling us whether she just has antibodies due to the exposure to her mom's HIV status or whether she has active HIV in her system, floating around, and replicating.  It takes close to 2 months to get back....so we're still waiting.  This will help determine whether she needs to be started on ARV's since her CD4 looks so good.  so basically??  no change.  we're still waiting on results.  I'm losing my patience.  scratch that.  I lost my patience.  Still praying! 


Addie Update

I often get asked how sad or difficult it is for me to be here with such limited resources, inadequate and backwards knowledge from the very small medical system in place in the country, and with such little power to do anything about it.  And my answer is that God called me here, equipped me, prepared me, and sent me.  I've been given a peace about it.  I don't get frustrated or annoyed.  I mean there are those moments, but few and far between and they are very fleeting.  I usually very quickly remember that the care we are giving them here, in our center, is far better than they would have ever received if they were living in the community.  And if I can care for my corner, improve my corner, and educate all the medical staff and tias I work with, than we're making progress.  A small corner is progressing.  You can't change the world, but you can affect change in one person, one community, one city, one small corner, that can ripple into a tidal wave on the other side of the world.  That's the affect I'm going for.  I'm satisfied in that.  I can see the difference God is doing here.  I see the positive changes and the changed lives.....the life!
Tonight I'm frustrated.  Very agitated and frustrated and...well, I don't have words for it.  I'm at the tears point, but I know it will do no good.  So I'm praying.  HARD!  Most of you have been reading about Addie and her situation.  Tonight is night 13 that she's been in the hospital.  She went in with high fevers every day, despite 2 rounds of oral antibiotics (the most powerful we could give orally), 2 enlarged lymph nodes (that we suspected were tuberculosis), enlarged organs-spleen & liver (from HIV and possible TB), HIV + test, a low hematocrit (from the infection) and oral thrush that would only respond to nystatin and then come back with vengeance (probably cause it's all over her body and not just in her mouth).  The HIV clinic that helps us with our HIV + kids felt like we needed all the tests done at one time in one place and to start treatment immediately.  I agreed and was getting slightly annoyed at the fact that we were still waiting to treat a very small 3 month (newborn size & weight).  So we went.  I was already torn, as I know what can happen in the hospital and that it's not necessarily the best place for her.  Plus once she's there, she's there, and there's nothing we can do about it till they decide she's ready to come home.
Her condition has been worsening and they are not doing anything to treat her.  They did manage (1 gold star for them) to get rid of her thrush because they stuck a tube down her and didn't allow anything to be put in her mouth.  I'm sure by tomorrow it will be back since she's taking bottles and pacifiers again.  I actually would bet on it.  A lot of money.  Here's the list of symptoms she's acquired from being in that very clean and sanitary hospital (sarcasm dripping):  diarrhea that won't stop, sores on her head, then a cough, now vomiting with every bottle.  Are they treating her for TB?  NO.  Are they giving her ARV's for HIV?  NO.  Are they treating her probable systemic fungal infection??  NO.  Is she getting even a multivitamin with iron to help her low hematocrit??  NO.  Is she getting IV fluids?  HA!  NO.  I feel as if they've thrown their hands in the air because they see this very fragile 3 month old that's losing weight, has tons of different symptoms and problems and is HIV + and just sentenced her to death.  Well, she's going to die anyway, kinda thing!  I feel like they are just waiting for her to die.  She WILL die in there if they don't treat her.
Believe me, as a nurse, I have helped countless families come to the decision and have peace about removing life support from their infant.  I've watched and helped families get through setting in motion a DNR order or simply a let's not do further treatment kinda order.  I've been with families and the baby as they took their final breaths and relished the final moments they had together this side of heaven.  I've removed life support from a newborn and rocked the baby into the arms of Jesus because the family didn't have the strength to do it themselves.  I know when it's time to love them into heaven and when you shouldn't give up the fight.  I do NOT believe it's Addie's time.  I do NOT believe it's time to give up the fight.  They haven't even TRIED to treat her first; haven't given it a chance.  
We have our hands tied because if we forcibly (and that's what it would be) remove her from the hospital and take her home, and then she gets much much worse and we need help again (like for an IV as we aren't licensed to do this), we cannot just show up and ask for them to readmit her.  If we took her home, it would be like us saying, we understand you can't do anything more for her, we are taking her home to die.  Now, they CANNOT stop us from treating her, but we can't go back and ask them to help us out because we've agreed it's just palliative care.  At this point, with her having diarrhea and vomiting, she will probably get dehydrated and one point and need an IV.  We can't do that here.  
If you haven't already been praying for Addie, please start.  She's 3 months old and 7 lbs.  She's lost her mother already, but she has a father, 2 brothers, and a sister that love her.  Please pray for the hospital staff and doctors as they are caring for her.  That they would get wisdom on how to treat her.  That they would believe in her and treat her aggressively.  Pray for the tia staying with her that is doing all her care around the clock.  Pray for her family, that are scared they are going to lose a second member in less than 2 months to HIV.  Pray that she would get better, that she would grow stronger, that she would fight, that she would be healed!  If her vomitting and diarrhea get better we could consider taking her home and starting her on ARV's and TB treatment ourselves.  One of the doctors without borders staff is going to try to go to the hospital on wednesday and use her hopefully leverage to get somewhere with Addie's care.  Please pray this works!!!  Please pray for Addie!!!  We want her healthy and home.       


Out of the mouth of babes (aka on a lighter note)

first one to guess the song correctly wins 10 points.  first one to 1000 gets a cookie.  hand made by me.  just one.  I'll mail it to you.  you'll get it in about 6 wks.  it will be moldy and crumby.  sorry, but that's the game.  leave your answers in the comments. 
Song #1:
no, no, no new but
nently done ne seam
memily memily memily memily
knife nis but na neam
how bout this one??
Song #2
nif ner nappy an new no it cap na nands
nif ner nappy an new no it cap na nands
nif ner nappy an new no it
nin nor face will sosy so it
nif ner nappy an new no it cap na nands
my toddlers like to sing stupid barney songs.  he sings songs in english.  they don't know english.  they only know and speak portuguese.  it's all just jibberish to them anyhow.  but they like to sing the songs barney sings too. so they mimic what barney the giant stupid purple dinosaur says in his weird stupid muffled voice.  I hate barney.  it makes for hysterical moments when they burst out into spontaneous song.  the only way I can figure out what they are singing is because of the tune.  you don't get the tune.  you just have to figure it out by the words.  good luck.  hint:  neither of them are his worst song of all (I love you), although, they sing that one too.


adventures in nursing (aka MORE prayer requests)

Well, first I'll start with updates....

Addie. still in hospital. They put in a feeding tube through her nose and into her stomach a few days ago to give her milk, supposedly only because she still has a rampant yeast infection in her mouth. I'm not really buying that as the complete story....now she has diarrhea and some sores on her head. whatever that means. I haven't been able to visit since the day after I left her as I've honestly been too busy and their "visiting hours" are 2 different 30 min blocks in the day. not very cooperatable for my schedule. I have one of our Moz doctors checking in on her tomorrow to figure out why she's not better and what they are doing (or in the more accurate case, NOT doing) for her. Please continue to pray for this little girl.

The twins (Mario and Carolina) are adjusting wonderful. I snuggle and kiss them several times a day. They are adorable and hungry little piglets. They have a potential adoptive family....a husband and wife couple that works for us...no more details, but please pray for this situation. We are doing their HIV tests on monday and there still needs to be a few court papers to be filed to make them completely eligible for adoption. Pray for their health, their growth, and for the forever family!!!

Ok, now on to a completely NEW and unrelated prayer request as well as story (for all of you that believe I only snuggle babies.....like it's a change from my OLD job in the NICU or something).

Well, if you know me (or have met me even, or perhaps just read this blog), you'd know I am a KID person. I do NOT like adults. I semi-jokingly use the cutoff at 18, but I'd love to somehow keep it below five. Not because I don't LIKE people older than 5....I just somehow relate better to under 3's and in nursing, feel the most comfortable with my knowledge here. After all, I was a neonatal intensive care nurse for 5 years before this. so I shy away from any patient that has hit puberty. I do not like taking the sick visitor on-call duty.....I do NOT like whiny adults. or patients that can affectively talk back or decide they will NOT do what I want them to do (I'm bigger than my kids, so they really have no options...what I say....goes). my compassion goes out the window the older you are. many can attest to these facts. I speak the truth. anyhow....this is just to preface my story about our missionary Heather last night (I use her name so you can pray for her by name).

I was resting from a long day, getting ready to go to our weekly home group last night when all of a sudden I heard a giant CRASH. then a loud scream. then silence. Then first responder Larry, called out, "are you okay," "do you need help" (yes, he has been trained in first-aid...and admits to knowing more than the average bear). I glance up from my solitaire game (yes, solitaire, darn you Chris) for a second, attentively listening. no response. I go back to my computer screen. then I hear first responder larry talking aloud. quick. I need towels. a chair. somewhere in this, I've assumed it's a giant rat that they have found.....but first responder larry's words don't really make sense if this was an accurate assumption....I look at my deck of hand....darn no moves....and think maybe I'll just meander out there and find out about this giant rat. what I found....was not a rat. and this is how...I poofed into adult trauma nurse.

(aside: if you are THE heather I'm talking about (sorry I slightly made the situation out to be not as serious at the time...it was for your own safety and to help me out as well).....if your name is pam and you have a daughter coming to visit me very soon.....or if you call yourself my mother.....or if you have thought about or are currently thinking about coming to visit me.....or simply you are squeamish......please skip to the last paragraph so you can simply pray.....OR click the small red X in your upper right hand corner NOW!)

what I saw.....was a very scared heather standing in utter shock with Larry and a kitchen towel applying pressure to her foot. also, as any good 2nd responder would do, I assessed the scene...and yes, I noticed that there was indeed NO danger of a large man eating rat, the broken glass coke bottle on the other side of the room and more importantly, the large puddle of blood under her foot. Dang. deep breath. silent prayer. ok, I can do this....yes, I had to pep talk myself.....go back and read the earlier paragraph puhlease!!! I grab the towel and look at first responder larry. he gives me the bullet. it's a bad cut, pretty deep, a lot of blood, not stopping. (and also....there's no help, no supplies, and you are in the middle of mozambique in heather's ROOM....oh wait...that was inferred, he didn't really say all that). so I start applying pressure and then gently try to see what the cut looks like. probably shouldn't have done that.....I have about 0.1 seconds to assess the giant gash atop her foot before the blood is shooting out at me. hmmmm.....this could be a bit of a problem. I think I flashed a concerned but it's ok you'll be just fine look at heather right about now. Then I grab a chair and practically shoved (I mean SAT) her in it so I could elevate her foot. yelling for more only partially clean kitchen towels now. applying so much pressure my hands hurt. towel getting moister. heather getting paler, less lucid, very dizzy, and nauseous. put your head in your lap please. I think I was screaming for someone to get some more nurses and supplies (real supplies from the clinic) in here.. could have just been in my head though....without luck of course. praying lots. tried applying pressure at all those nifty pressure points they show you. got a fake pressure dressing and tried to reinforce with more kitchen towels and literally tie around her foot to get better pressure. there are now 2 of us squeezing her foot. right....not working. clearly, by this point I'm thinking ARTERY. very funny God. hope you're going to give me some wisdom on this anytime now. ok. breathe. ok. heather. you're going to need to be on the floor like 2 minutes ok so I can have your foot way way higher than your heart....and so you'll not pass out. some seconds after I help her to the floor and raise her leg straight in the air and realize I STILL have no help, no supplies, and I'm in mozambique....I kinda half heartedly look around the room as if I'd see a magical blue button with the words CODE on it....and that maybe if I pressed or pulled it....I could have lots of help at my bedside. no button. a staples red easy button would do?? anywhere?.....darn. where are the buttons? I scream for someone to materialize the other 3 nurses on base now and to put a phone to my ear so I can yell the stinking supplies (besides the dish towels) that could be useful in a situation like this. insert other aside: thank you first assists fiona and rachel and also honorable mention to the administrative assistant and phone operator sharon. Then I think (heather if you are still reading or any of the aforementioned people in the first aside....please defer to the bottom paragraph now).....exactly HOW long does it take to physically exsanguinate...you know where ALL your blood flows out of the veins, onto the floor, and you cease to have more blood for you heart to pump??? wish I would have paid closer attention in nursing school....I'm sure they told me this really important decision making point sometime during those 5 semesters. I couldn't remember. what I did KNOW was that I was 99% sure it was less than the 45 minutes to the private emergency clinic in town. anytime now God would be good for something to help me out here. still no nurses. hmmm....I could use a tourniquet right about now. right, back to reality I'm in heather's room. blood pressure cuff. that could (will have to) work. I need someone to get in touch with someone that has keys to the clinic to get me a cuff and morph it here now. then it hits me that I have one thankfully in my room. I pass off the pressure applying job to someone and run to my room, grab the cough. fastened over her leg and pump it as high as it would go....then continue applying pressure to her foot. please work, please work. in walks our director (who is also a nurse). I give her the bullet. we wait a bit then slowly remove a little bit of the dressing enough to know it's mostly stopping now since I've cut off all of her blood supply. (yes she still had her foot straight up in the air). I pull ros aside to tell her the real story and how serious it is (no need to worry everyone else in the room). The other nurse solange arrives, quickly followed by the 4th nurse. oh yeah, show up when I need ya. thanks girls. I send solange for a lot of actually clean and real dressing supplies. I send jannie off to look for those cool elastic things they wrap around your arm after you give blood that stretches, hurts cause it gets so tight, and sticks to itself. she comes back emptyhanded....no worries. God prompted me to buy some while I was home in America for NO apparent reason and I kept it handy in my room for no good reason at all. Sharon had arranged transport. We throw bags together for transport. I gather a supply kit for the road....um.....just in case. I hydrate my patient (yes somewhere in the midst of all of this heather morphed into a patient), cause she's lost a little too much blood for my taste. we redress it carefully with proper supplies. I deflate the BP cuff and pray she doesn't start bleeding again. we wait awhile more. lower her leg to the floor. wait a while longer. there's a lot of hmmmss and whispering between ros and I and the other nurses at this point as to JUST how far 45 minutes is and do we think she'll start bleeding again. we help her up and into the "ambulance" (clarification a truck that has a shell on it and a foam mattress with 3 pillows in back....there's not even a light). by the time she's hopped the 25 feet to the car, her foot's bleeding through the bandaging job. I hop in the truck, praying fiercely, arm myself with my nifty cellphone flashlight (perhaps there WAS a reason my 2 previous phones just stopped working....they didn't have flashlight coincidentally), the blood pressure cuff, my "supplies" and off we go through the very dark, very bumpy night. I keep checking her foot to see if the bleeding as continued. good. it seems to have sealed itself off. we finally (a LONG 45 min later) arrive there. it takes an act of congress to get a wheelchair for her. I give the nurse the bullet and help heather into bed. he looks at the wound and grabs the doctor who discovers that there is tendon involvement as she can feel her big toe, but cannot move it. He wants to dig in her foot and find it and reattach it. at the bedside. with other patients in the room. next to the giant swinging door that leads to the street that keeps opening and shutting. without any kind of gowning, masking, or capping going on. ummmm.....thanks for playing, try again. just cause you speak english, doesn't make me that confident in your abilities or of this, ummm...clinic's. on and off the phone with Ros and passing on heather's insurance info. he doesn't listen. paternalistic medicine at his finest. administers a local anesthetic to numb her foot and start digging around for said missing tendon. there has been no paper work. no when was your last tetanus, no how much blood did she lose, no by the way do you have any allergies.....right. finally he gives up (to my silent celebratory imaginary dance) and put 4 (yes just 4) stitches in her foot to ward off infection (ha ha ha) and bandages it up and says, well you can go to SA if you want. that's what I've been trying to do.....for the last 45 min when you weren't listening to me. by this time, you've read a long story, now there's a boring part about stupid insurance companies (note to self: policy ends this month, will be changing to a more reliable tried and true and more expensive company) that ends with us begging them to admit her overnight so we can get the insurance company to agree to transport in the morning to SA to have this fixed, and some pain medicines, oh and you SURE you don't wanna give antibiotics. I was shot down on the last part. I didn't press my luck. I left the base around 5:30pm. returned a few minutes before 11pm. Heather stayed overnight without IV fluids, antibiotics, and only 1 pain shot for her insane pain. I gave her a large 1L bottle of water (or rather, made rachel give up hers) and stressed the importance of drinking LOTs and LOTS of water to replenish the blood she had lost since she was white as a piece of paper. This am, after several hours of fighting with said insurance group, we convinced them to transport her by ambulance the 3 hours through absolute bush and across the very horrible 3rd world border to the nearest South African town capable of handling her injury, but not until after I packed a bag of emergency supplies and taught her private car driver/potential life safer/fellow missionary how to apply my nifty patent pending BP cuff tourniquet and pressure dressings in case she decided to start bleeding on the way over there. An US embassy contact finally came through for us with some surgical references, and helpful hints to navigate the system.

Heather was admitted to the hospital this evening, 24 hours AFTER the tendon slicing and artery nicking adventure and was waiting to see a doctor the last time I was able to have an update. They will need to probably cut up her leg and find her tendon (that retracted up her leg), pull it down, and reattach it, along with debreeding her wound. Remember she still hasn't had any antibiotics yet. They were good enough to give her a 2nd pain medicine injection before she left the Moz clinic. Please pray for Heather's peace, her health, NO infection, NO pain, a safe and successful surgery, a quick and FULL recovery. Please pray for her family that are home in England worried sick I'm sure about their 23 year old daughter in Africa having her first surgery! Pray for wisdom for the doctors and a steady hand for the surgeon. will update more as I know it. for now....get to praying for these 4!!!

UPDATE on HEATHER: she's out of surgery, it was successful, she's awake and eating! Praise God! Continue praying for NO adverse affects, NO infection, NO pain, and a quick recovery.

FRIDAY UPDATE on HEATHER: she's having a little trouble with pain control today, but now it seems better. she has a cast up to her ankle. plans for discharge today and she will stay with some missionaries in SA for a week to recover and keep her leg propped up (HEATHER-keep you leg propped up!!!). Keep praying for better pain control, NO infection, and a quick recovery with full mobility of her big toe!!! :)


It's a Boy....and a Girl!!!

Yeah, I'm the proud new momma of twins!!! and we all know how much I love me some twins! This is the 4th set that are 2 years and under. so cute!

Meet Mario (pronounce: "mar-eee-oh").....

and Carolina (pronounce: "Care-oh-lean-ah").....

and the diehard nicu nurse in me couldn't resist bunking them....cause deep down...i know they are the happiest when they are snuggling just like back in the days in the womb. plus, aren't they just too cute??

So now for the story...bring out the tissues if you want....
First, thank you to everyone that was praying really hard this weekend for their safety and that we'd get them. Monday the team went out to bring them in and couldn't find them...we were all getting a little worried that something had happened to them But the Lord is faithful and here they are with us today!
They are 6 weeks old and are each weighing around 6 lbs. Mario, is on the lower end of the spectrum and needs to beef up, but they both seem pretty healthy at this point. Their mom is HIV + and the kids were given a dose of an ARV (anti HIV med) at birth to decrease the chances they will get HIV to about 8% (go Moz...that's the 3rd kid in less than a month). We of course, will do HIV tests and see where we're at but we are really praying health over these little tykes. Their entire family (including extended family members) is certifiabley mentally ill and unable to care for them. The mother's brothers have been repeatedly raping her. The supposed father (which may or may not be one of the brothers, but is stated to be another man), has already killed their previous child, a 2 month old, by giving him alcohol until it died of alcohol poisoning. A neighbor had taken them in, but was unable to continue providing care for them. No one wants them and they are going to be put up for adoption! Whoohooo....we are praying for their forever family. So please pray for Mario and Carolina as they adjust to their new home in the Bercario, as we get to know them, for wisdom in how to treat them medically, and for their potential forever family!

In Addie news.....she's still (sadly) in the hospital and is being fed through a feeding tube now. The hospital system doesn't lend itself to much explanations or updates, so we're really just waiting this out. My best guess is she's too anemic and not eating enough. But who knows really. Also her yeast infection in her mouth is worse than ever and not responding to meds. My guess is it is all over her whole body and they aren't treating it but topically. This alone, because of her HIV status, could kill her. To our knowledge, she isn't being given any treatment for TB yet, which is also really important right now. Her fevers are still going strong. Please continue to pray for her. I really want her home back with us now, but we just have to pray for her till then!


I am blessed

I wish I could adequately express how blessed I feel.  Especially today.  It's Mother's Day!!!  Happy Mother's day to all of you.  I am blessed because I live in a beautifully simple country.  I live, daily stretched, beyond myself, my abilities, my comfort, my energy, and my strength.  Most of you know I didn't ask or even want to be here.  Now it's been a little over 11 months and I'm committed for another year, unsure when this journey will end.  You know what though? I can't even remember the reasons and excuses I gave.  Because I would NOT give this up for anything.  Most women are blessed with only a few children, grandchildren, and if they are lucky, great-great grandchildren.  But, I am more than abundantly blessed with 45 children.  Yes, they are not mine biologically, but I love them just the same.  I pray for them, discipline them, hold them, hug them, tickle them, laugh at and with them.  I change diapers, wash faces, clean up messes, hold sticky, tiny hands, give bottles, help feed, and play with them.  I read stories, color pictures, smile at, make funny faces at, kiss them, and tuck them in at night.  I get on the floor with them, get dirty with and by them, am tackled by them, and wouldn't trade a second of it.  Most of all, I can't imagine a life without them.  They have my heart.  They know my name.  I miss them when I'm not around them.  They are mine to mother and love on in these moments, for this season.  I love each and every moment of it.  See, my most important job here is NOT being a nurse, though I do A LOT of that.  It is helping to raise these kids and love them with the love of Jesus.  It's funny, cause I didn't go to nursing school to do this....but somehow (6 years later to the date), it's brought me here.  And when I look back on my life and see situations and seasons and people....I know it was all for these moments.  I am not the person I was 10 years ago.  I am not the same person I was 6 years ago.  I hope, I pray, I am a little more Christlike.  That IS, after all, what this walk and life is all about.  I am more laidback, calmer, less stressed, less OCD, less of a perfectionist, wiser, more knowledgeable, more patient, less controlling, less of a planner, more carefree, stronger, and more sure of myself.  I'm still stubborn, opinionated, outspoken, passionate, and caring.  I know God has been molding me and working on certain things in my life so I can function here and do what He has planned for me here.  Because, if I was who I was even 5 years ago, I would not make it here.  God is good and gracious and merciful.  I cannot be sad or hurt because I am 28 and single and have no biological children (even though the PLAN was to married and have the 1st child by 25 and finish the 4th or 5th by 32).  I'm NOT sad or hurt.  Because I'm 28 with a heavenly father that provides EVERYTHING I need and more and knows me better than anyone ever can and will and I have 45 beautiful children.  That's more than enough.  My cup runs over. 
So I am very blessed this mother's day.  And I am very thankful that MY mother is kind and wise and merciful enough to be without me on days like today.  My grandmothers and mother and other special women helped me to get here and be who I am today.  Thank you  to every woman that has been a mother to be over the years.  Today is a day to celebrate!
"For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married. says the Lord.  Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities."    -Isaiah 54:1b-3


More prayer requests

Wow, I've had a lot of prayer requests on here of late....and sent out a few more sensitive ones as well in emails.  When it rains, it pours.  I can't give much details on this one at the moment, but please please pray for a set of 1 month old twins that we have accepted to take in.  Pray for their safety, well-being, and for some major angels to protect them till we get them.  Pray that they get here, that they are safely delivered into our arms by the end of the day Monday.  Their health and in general lives could actually be at stake and they are just tiny little babies!  Please help me pray for them!  I'll introduce them WHEN we get them!  Prepare the kleenex's.
Addie is still in hospital and hopefully I'll know more Monday.  She's not eating great and is losing a bit of weight.  Please continue to pray for her.  A new tia (that also has never met her till today) has joined her in the hospital, relieving the last tia, until Monday afternoon.  Pray for both of them!  Pray for wisdom for the doctors. 


Update on Addie

Update on little addie.  She went to her normal consult at the HIV clinic today and to repeat her blood tests to see if the infection is better and think about if she should start TB treatments or if we're taking it off the table.  When she arrived the doctor did a few tests and saw that she was pretty seriously anemic (low oxygen carrying cells) and the infection wasn't better.  In fact over the weekend she had been worsening despite the antibiotics.  So we were told that she needed to be admitted to the hospital to stay for lots of tests and start treatment when we figured out what is wrong with her.  The clinic wanted her to be admitted to a pretty horrible community hospital.  We disagreed and decided we would go to the big city hospital (not that they are anywhere near a place I would even think about entrusting my life even if I was litterally actively dying) that is affiliated with the university in town.  Off I went with little Addie to the hospital, praying that we got an amazing doctor with lots of wisdom that would help us, and be kind to the fact that are transfer letter we were bringing was written to another hospital.  God answered prayers, and we were quickly shown in to see a doctor I saw a few months ago who is great.  In fact, he's the only doctor that has actually listened to my assessment, the whole story, and my suggestions for her care.  They are used to the parents/family and nurses not knowing a dang thing and normally just ignore you, mumble a bunch, not even assess the kid and just write out an assessment anyway, prescribe antibiotics and send you on your merry way (or not so merry).  Or if they do perform tests, they fixate to one tiny thing and believe it is the only thing wrong with the child because there's no possible way that the case is complicated or that we should treat for multiple disease processes at the same time.  He recognized me immediately and got right into figuring out her problem.  I was relieved.  We completed all the tests he wanted (praise God they drew blood on the first stick as she had been already stuck once before today), the xray (where you litterally dangle the kid from the arms in front of an xray machine), saw the doctor the 2nd time, got her admission papers, had an IV placed and more labs drawn, and was shown to her unit all in under 2 hrs.  That's actually amazing here!  So they are starting her on IV ampicillan and gentamycin as they are standard hospital protocol for anyone that sneezes, coughs, has a fever, a runny nose, blinks, or breaths on admission.  They are going to continue giving her medication for the still not gone yet thrush (fungal infection) in her mouth, and run more tests to verify that she does in fact have TB (her tb test was negative today but that's pretty normal with a tiny baby and even for just a person with HIV).  But he agreed with me and wants to do an aspirate of her 2 ginormous lymph nodes to verify that's where it is and possibly rule out meningitis (caused by the Tuberculosis infection).  I left her with a tia she's never met before today who has never stayed in the hospital with a kid before.  The hospitals here are very different.  You have to bring everything for yourself and the tia that is staying with her....diapers, wipes, baby soap, bibs, clothes, blankets, towels, formula, bottles, water to prepare the bottles, food if she was eating, ect....then anything the tia will need (including food) while she stays with her.  Addie is being admitted to their version of the ICU where the tia will be required to stay awake 24-7 (I'm not kidding) to watch addie (don't even get me started on what the nurses do.....ummm.....I'm still sorting this one out myself).  The tia has already been here since monday AM and will now be required to stay awake 24-7 until Saturday morning (assuming addie stays that long) when she will be relieved and another tia will exchange places with her.  We will bring them both supplies on a daily basis. 
Please continue to pray for the doctors who are providing her care and making the medical decisions (I'm pretty sure it will be the same doctor as he admitted her, but I'm not exactly sure).  Pray that they will find out all her sources of infection and have wisdom in how to treat her.  Pray she will respond quickly to the medications and will start thriving.  Please pray for the tia providing all her care while she is in hospital.  Pray that Addie is comforted and quickly starts feeling better.  That whatever is affecting her will be removed from her tiny body.  Pray for her family (she has 3 siblings) and her father who just watched his wife die of the same illness less than 6 wks ago.  Pray for comfort and peace and assurance.  Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  God has placed Addie in our hands to care for and we have to daily hand her back over to God, trusting His provisions, His plans, His ways, and His timings in keeping these kids!  I will give you updates as I know them.  Thanks in advance.  Prayers really do work and although I hate leaving a child in the hospital here I also know that we need answers and fast and to start treatment and this is probably the only way!  So I'm trusting.


Please join me in prayer for Addie today!!

I need a major prayer request from ya'll!!!  It's about one of my babies.  Her name is Addie (well, Adelaide, but we're....I am...calling her addie) and if you scroll back a few posts or so you'll find a picture of her.  She just turned 3 months old.  She has been with us for 3 weeks now.  Her mother died almost 6 weeks ago from Tuberculosis and Aids.  Her father is unemployed currently and caring for his 3 other children.  Addie is too young and sick for him to care for at the present.  He and her siblings visit quite frequently and love her a lot.  She is only 8 lbs and despite the fact that she's eating wonderfully, we can't get her to gain weight since she is so sick.  When she arrived, it was quickly apparent that she was going to be a sick kid.  Her father was unaware that his wife had HIV or TB.  Her immunization card/birth card showed that when she was born, the hospital administered a potentially life saving one time dose of a anti-HIV medication.  It reduces the transmission from mother to baby from 30 or 40% to around 8%.  In Addies, case, I think she's in the 8% category.  She's had fevers every single day since she has arrived except maybe 3 or 4.  Sometimes they are as high as 103 degrees.  We give her their version of an anti-fever medicine, but as she gets it so frequently we are worried about her liver which is already enlarged (along with her spleen) from HIV and possible Tuberculosis.  She has oral thrush almost constantly despite medications (it's a yeast infection in the mouth that is pretty painful).  She has gone through 2 high dose and powerful antibiotic regimen's that have not helped with the fevers.  We are still undergoing various tests.  Her HIV test has shown us that she was exposed to the virus.  We are worried about congenital (meaning she was born with it) Tuberculosis as well.  The mortality rate for delayed treatment in this is 50% when uncomplicated by HIV.  Last week, we did a CBC to look at her blood count and her white blood cell count (that fights off infections) was physically too high to count (and we repeated it twice).  The scariest part is, she has no symptoms of infection, making her even harder to treat.  We are battling multiple things.  She will return tomorrow (after the latest round of antibiotics) for another cbc to see if the infection has improved.  We will have her TB test read tomorrow as well (although most of the time in a baby this age with HIV it will not show anything even if she has it).  We are waiting for her CD4 and viral loads to return (to tell us more about her HIV status) so we can make a decision about whether or not she qualifies for HIV medications.  Here in Mozambique, as the meds are given to us by the government, the children have to qualify.  They are improving these standards a lot, but they are still not up to par and many die as a result.  Please, first and foremost pray TODAY for wisdom in her treatment.  For conclusive tests tomorrow, so that we will know WHAT treatments to start immediately.  She is one very sick little baby and getting worse and more uncomfortable daily!  We have been fortunate so far that we have not had to hospitalize her as she is still eating well and we have been able to manage her here so far.  Please also pray for everyone taking care of her.  I will update you hopefully tomorrow, as I get more information.


what's in a name??

Ok, here's to hoping that a semi-deadly disease I make fun of this week doesn't turn out to be the next pandemic....in my defense, it has only documentably affected a few hundred people worldwide.  also, I'm not a prophet, or psychic.  But here's a few diseases that made me laugh this week (and part of last week):
  • pseudorabies in wild pigs....as if they weren't having the worst week already, they have to have a sorta kinda disease that isn't good enough to get a real name of it's own...it has to stick with just kinda like an already known disease called rabies.  sorry swine.
  • South Africa is claiming that their apiaries now have american foul brood.....guess that's one more country that doesn't like us...bonus points to the one who knows what a apiary is without looking it up...or googling it.
  • poor namibian cows have lumpy skin disease...I wonder what the symptoms of that one are....
  • in the UK, you can now get a vaccination for the louping ill.....well, for your sheep anyway.
  • if you love bats...you too could go to the 2nd international berlin bat meeting....no not the 2nd international meeting about bats that is being held THIS year in berlin....there's so much cool stuff to chat about that berlin is making it an annual experience.  count me out.  I hate bats.
  • bad news for coffee (but I'm still drinking it and I don't care WHERE it came from)...Tanzania's coffee plants have the dreaded....berry disease.  do coffee plants have berries??  the answer, yes they do, and flowers too...oh and my favorite part....the beans.  dang the coffee berry disease for killing 80% of their crop!
  • and last but not least, the poor alpaca in France have Blue tongue disease.  poor alpaca.  all sheep and cows are now being vaccinated.  but not the alpaca.  sad day. 
ok, I promise the next post will have something relevant to why I'm here or my cute kids...I've been a little too busy to post on important matters this week, but praise God!  I've remained healthy this week.