We thought it was a rescue…

The grandmother begging me to help get her sick grandson out of the hospital where no one was paying any attention to him.

He had been there for 2 weeks… and got worse every day.

Now, she didn’t know where to turn. The doctors wouldn’t tell them anything… they had no money for medicine and they didn’t understand what was wrong.

One of our short-termers went to the hospital to find out more.

If you have never experienced the paperwork of the Filipino hospital, you should try it. Just for fun. Mandy spent 6 hours between doctors and social workers.

Repeating over and over… no money, these people were just burned out of their home, they have nothing. We have no money. We are a foundation. The baby is sick. We need to get some help for this child.

The doctors knew… they had to have known. The 10,000 peso bill was signed away and Mandy got the baby discharged…

Picture 38
Finally… 9:30 PM,  they arrived at Gentle Hands. The baby on oxygen…

They laid him on the bed and I sat down quietly beside him.

Unresponsive. Blue fingertips. Stiff neck and limbs. He was comatose.

From what I could gather from the parents, this was probably the 3rd day in a coma but no one had told them. No one told them there was little hope of recovery… the doctors just kept making them buy medicine…

I explained what had most likely happened to the little Henry and why he had gone into a coma. I comforted the mother as she collapsed on the bed beside her son…  In a few hours, the father arrived. He too, had no idea. Bacterial Meningitis is a killer here. No one seems to know the symptoms and no one seems to act quick enough. I was angry. This was needless… I read through the papers and prescriptions until I couldn’t see straight any more. Another case of a family too poor to demand good health-care… and another unnecessary death. I said little… knowing it was too late to do any good by blaming the doctors.

I wondered what purpose God had in us getting him…

We sat on the bed together beside the baby, me and the mother. We talked about what he was like, about their life, the fire that stole all their earthly belongings, her unborn child in her womb, her in-laws. All the while, we were too aware of the up-and-down motion of little Henry’s chest. Nothing else moved. Just the oxygen going into his lungs and his little heart pumping and pumping.

No one is ever prepared for death no matter how many times you sit with it. He took his last little breath at 5 am. That poor father… cried until I thought he would collapse. The tears just streamed down his face… the grandmother with groans that only death can bring, fell on the floor… her grief overwhelming… the mother rocked back and forth sobbing… I sat quietly at the foot of the bed, almost like a guard… somehow making reality seem all too real. Coldly, I organized the funeral parlor to come and get the body. To drive the family home, to place the coffin at the relative’s home for the week long wake that was to follow.

I made coffee, brought in fresh bread… gently assuring that I would cover the expenses of the embalming, not to worry. The father wept more… I am sure he was terribly relieved… he could never have paid for it.

I steadied them as they carried the body to the van… hugs and prayers and they were gone.

I went back to the empty room and instructed the girls to bleach and clean.

Once in the safety of my room, I let my own tears fall… silently at first…

but then grief has its own music…

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