It's with a heavy heart that I have to share news that one of our children, Dino from the baby house died suddenly this morning in the hospital's version of a pediatric intensive care unit. He started with a really high fever on Saturday and we started him on antibiotics that afternoon. Sunday he started vomiting. His malaria test was negative and he was taking mistura (a rehydration juice mixture), and continued with fevers. Monday morning he started vomiting constantly and couldn't keep anything down-even sips of water or mistura and started having severe problems breathing-became agitated, confused, and at times couldn't speak properly. He went to hospital that morning and sat in their emergency triage bay for 5 hrs before they decided to give him oxygen. He was then finally admitted to the icu on an oxygen mask. Apparently last night the tia with him kept telling the medical staff that he was doing worse and worse but no one did anything or called a docotr until when the doctors made rounds in the am. His condition was unchanged at 7 am and by 9:30 am he had died.
Dino was almost 3 1/2 years old and one of our HIV + children. He came to live with us 23 months ago after being abandoned by his parents in the hospital. We don't even know a last name or birth date for him....just a first name and about how old he is. He was severely malnourished and had untreated tuberculosis and HIV when he came to us. He could barely sit on his own, yet alone crawl at the age of 17 months. God really did a miracle with him because, when I arrived (just 3 months after he was admitted), he was over the most serious parts of malnourishment, showing improvement with his tuberculosis and HIV. All the other children in the baby house would call him Mister Dino, because he was so full of life, so animated and happy all the time, dancing, and making fishy faces (or at least trying to) at me. He had such a sweet, caring spirit about him, always helping out the younger ones and giving kisses. He's been pretty healthy the entire 19 months I've been here with just a few ups and down. However, the last 3 months or so he started becoming sick every 2-3 weeks, with recurrent infections. That being sad, his death was very unexpected! We even had a emergency room doc here as a visitor who assessed him and went to the hospital when he was admitted on Monday. Today she was in shock by the news, as she wouldn't have even categorized him as critical yesterday afternoon when they left the hospital. I would like to think that Dino was prepared and ready to leave this earth. Yesterday when he was at his worst before going to the hospital he kept saying "I want to go to sleep" over and over again. For anyone that knows Dino, even when his fever is 104 and he is very very ill, you can hardly keep him from running around and playing. He would cry would you would have to tell him he needed to rest or stay inside and play while the others went outside. He hated being sick and always wanted to run and play no matter how bad he was feeling. I've never heard him say he wanted to sleep no matter how sick or tired he was. During the day yesterday, for the 6 hours our missionaries were with him waiting for him to be admitted, he kept repeating over and over "I want to go to sleep." Somehow kids have a 6th sense about these things and often know when their time is near. This is usually one of the ways, however simplistic, they let us know that they are ready. Please pray for all our tias that care for these children as well as the nurses and missionaries that work in these areas. The pastors are currently making funeral plans. Thanks for all the prayers I know you'll send up. We are all very sad, but know that he is ultimately with Jesus and free from sickness and HIV. I feel blessed and privileged, as each of you should be, for getting the opportunity to love, pray, hold, and care for him as parents would, when his own family abandoned him. He will be truly missed, but I'm glad he was able to at least have the chance to feel that love and nurturing for almost 2 years here with us.
I'm going to try to upload pictures to my blog sometime tonight in honor of his life, so check back later! Thanks again for all the prayers.
Pictures in chronological order from the month I first arrived until last month at Christmas. Dino I will miss you...especially all those silly fishy faces that you finally learned how to make, you joy and laughter and your innocence too. Some of them are not my own, but from other missionaries during the time I have been here that I borrowed.
UPDATE 12/1: We told the children in the Baby House that Dino was very sick when he went to the hospital but that he didn't get better. And that he wouldn't be coming home to live with us anymore but instead went to live with Jesus. We know that most of them won't understand what this really means, but many of them understand that some of the kids have other houses that they go visit and come back....and that some of the children get to go home forever and live with family and never come back....so we felt this was a valid way to explain to them that Dino wouldn't be with us any longer but that we were happy that he is with Jesus now. The first thing little Nemias (4 yrs old) said to me when he saw me tonight was: "Mana Erin, Dino is living with Jesus now (wearing a big grin on his face)! It was hard to not just burst into tears at that moment. He was such a joy and will be missed a lot.
Our plans are to have his funeral Thursday morning at 10am...but with all things African....this is tentative. Please continue to be in prayer for the tias and our staff.
UPDATE 13/1: The funeral has been changed to Friday morning at 10 am.