A Hole in the Heart

Ryan 1  Ryan was abandoned in a government hospital
at birth. There is no information except that the mother was just 16 years old.

At 8 months old, after several infections
and a serious of illnesses, he was left on a long waiting list of babies for
discharge. Babies that were abandoned in this hospital. Babies that no one
wanted.

Ryan was in a list of 5 babies that were
referred to Gentle Hands. A short abstract accompanied the referral. Although a
small wooden box served as his crib for 7 months, we were told he was a well
baby.

Ryan was with us for a month and struggled
with a cough and an off and on fever but nothing too serious. He was drinking,
had started solid foods, and was pretty happy. One morning, he suddenly was in
real respiratory distress. I packed a bag and decided to take him to the
private hospital down the road. The cost would be double but with his breathing
the way it was, I knew he would be intubated immediately in an emergency room
at a government hospital. I wanted to at least give him a fighting chance to
live.

It turned out that Ryan had a serious case
of noso-comial pneumonia- bacteria he got from the hospital he came from. This
“simple” pneumonia was seriously complicated by a hole in his heart. Because
Ryan had not been giving the correct medication since birth, his heart was
enlarged and he was in terrible distress.

For a week, he has been in hospital. The
doctors and specialists have changed his medications 4 times. It has been heart
wrenching to watch him writhe in bed and just struggle to breathe. How we take
our very breath for granted.

After the bill reached $2500, I had to sign
waivers and have him discharged. I had not anticipated this and I simply did
not have the funds to pay anymore.

The specialists fussed but I gently
insisted I could not use any more of the funds that took care of 45 other
children and use them on just one. I explained that while Ryan’s life was
indeed valuable, I had to make this very difficult decision. I asked for a
heplock to be left so we could continue his intravenous antibiotics and took
him home to our little ICU, as we fondly call it.

Call it a mother’s intuition or God given
wisdom, maybe a combination of both, but I took him off the oxygen and cleaned
his little nose out. His nostrils were dry, cracked, and inflamed from 8 days
of hard oxygen. Then we layed him on a soft pillow and fed him with a dropper,
slowly, carefully. We weren’t to feed him in the hospital- all the reasons, we
know. Aspiration etc. My head knows all of that but my heart knew he was
wasting away to nothing. In the hospital, he had had no strength to open his
eyes much less fight the infection he had.

Today is just day 2 and he is still alive. His
lips are pink, his breathing regulated and he is resting well. He needs 3
injections a day, 2 different heart meds, vitamins, and nebulization every 3
hours. It is 24 hour intense care. Jomar, has been by his side since the first
day. He has hardly slept and is a big part of why Ryan is still fighting.  

I have layed awake at night many times this
week wondering why Ryan came to us and why God would bring me this expense,
this burden. I have held Ryan tight and prayed over him and wondered how he
survived this long with so many mistakes in his care.

I believe that every child is valuable and
intimately known by God.

I believe that every child that comes to
Gentle Hands is brought by His hand alone.

I know that Ryan was abandoned with no one
to fight for his rights or even his life.

I believe that I am called to fight for the
rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.

I cannot say that I would have accepted
Ryan if I would have known the cost.

I cannot know either that he will live
even with all this medical intervention.

I do not know if surgery is an option or
even how much that will cost.

I only know that Ryan is here, in my
foundation, in my arms. I am the one responsible to fight for him. I am the one
holding and comforting him.

I must do all I can to give him a chance to
live, despite the odds.

He is precious is God’s sight. I am left
trusting that the God who brought him to me, will continue to provide the means
to care for him.

The paediatrician said to me, with tears in
her eyes as I was signing the waivers, “Ma’am, every life is a drop in the
ocean. But Mother Theresa said that without one drop, the ocean would be
incomplete. I am so touched by your work and love for this little boy.”

I stood blinking my own tears of guilt
away. My focus had so become the rising bill, not the life I had set out to
rescue a month ago.  How dare I for
a moment put my fear of asking for money before the value of his life?

So I ask.

Would you help me? Would you ask others to
help as I am struggling to care for and pay the bills for the other 45 children at Gentle Hands?