Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speed Bumps

Photo by John Carroll

January 24, 2011

Sacramento seems like a really nice city.

The fog in the morning is serene and beautiful and the illuminated white state capitol building at night is stunning.

Many of Sacramento's streets are wide and have "undulations". In the Midwest we call them "speed bumps". In Haiti these bumps are called "police lying down".

When we have been driving here, my seven year old son Luke likes to warn me from the back seat that we are approaching a speed bump. When he spots one, he will holler out “speed bump”, and I will slow down.

I then over-politely say "thank you" and he says "you are welcome" and giggles. This ritual can occur many times over several blocks in Sacramento and Maria seems to handle this “guy humor” quite well.

Yesterday, seven year old Widnerlande who was seated next to Luke in the back seat, would join in on the “speed bump” warnings and gleefully chime "you are welcome" when I thanked them for their warning.

This morning we all got up at 5 AM because Widnerlande’s heart surgery is being performed today.

On the way to Sutter Children's Center Widnerlande happily shouted out "speed bump" as we approached another undulation in Sacramento's dark streets.

To hear her little happy voice from the back seat made me sad. I knew that in several hours Widnerlande would experience another huge bump in her short life. But we needed to force her over it, even against her strong seven year old will.

This little girl has survived intense tropical storms, hurricanes, kidnappings, political unrest, a diabolical earthquake, and the deadly cholera that was infecting 4,000 people each week in her Haitian valley. And she survived malnutrition and poverty that we can barely understand.

And she did all this with a hole in her heart that has kept her in a state of semi-compensated congestive heart failure.

I calmed myself by rationalizing that she will be able to live through our surgical assault.

Widnerlande has passed many speed bumps in her life. And as she is lifted off the operating table this morning by many gentle hands, she will have more hurdles to pass during the next few days.

But we all know this girl will get over them some how.

Thank you, Maria and Valerie, Gertrude and Rachel and Joanna, Frandy and Jim and Jane, Garren, Tiffany and Representative Aaron Schock, Sutter Children’s Center nursing staff and child life specialists, and Drs. Nasirov, Juris, and Crockett, and Crystal, and Helen and Steven and Rose. And a special thanks to Widnerlande's fearless mother Magalene for keeping her close and keeping her alive against almost impossible odds in Haiti.


See this article and this article describing Widnerlande's situation.


Anonymous said...

Best of luck to Widnerlande!


John A. Carroll, M.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John A. Carroll, M.D. said...

Thanks, Crof.