|Sarah--Monday morning--May 7, 2012 (Photo by John Carroll)|
On Monday morning of this week I took a deep breath as I walked into malnutrition clinic. I wondered if Sarah had survived the weekend.
But lo and behold there was mom sitting with Sarah on her lap. And Sarah looked pretty good considering that she weighs five pounds and lives in Soleil. She was not crying and mom was breastfeeding her.
What a pleasant surprise...especially for a Monday morning.
I asked mom if she had called Kim and she mumbled that she had not because she "had a headache". (Kim had offered to provide Sarah with formula on a weekly basis for no charge.)
So I told mom to stay seated on the bench with Sarah and I started general pediatric clinic in an office down the hall.
I had e mailed a new acquaintance the day before and told her that I needed help with Sarah. Several hours later my new friend from Canada showed up on a motorcycle and I explained to her in more detail the "dilemma of Sarah" and asked her if she would help try and solve the problem. She said she would do what she could. So I introduced her to mom and Sarah on the wooden bench in the malnutrition clinic.
I went back to my office and continued seeing patients.
My friend spent about two hours talking with mom and making phone calls. And by the end of the morning she had devised a plan for mom and Sarah to go to We Advance in an adjacent slum on Wednesday morning.
We Advance is a clinic in Wharf Jeremie (an adjacent slum to Soleil) that sees 100-150 patients a day and is open 4 days a week. It consists of a Haitian medical staff and international volunteers. Its main focus is maternal health and baby well being.
And our personal goal here is to interest mom in feeding Sarah on a full time basis.
At the end of the morning in clinic, Sarah's mom walked into my office and asked me for money and once again I told her no. But I told her to come back the next day and he agreed. I gave mom another can of Similac and she was on her way back to her shack on the Soleil wharf.
I asked mom to breast feed Sarah again. Right now. Mother kind of reluctantly pulled out her right breast and Sarah latched right on and began feeding. She was "starving" as usual. And mom's breast did have milk.
I asked mom if she really wanted Sarah to live. She said yes she did. I told her that the way things were going was that Sarah was slowly dying from lack of milk. I asked mom if she wanted Sarah to take care of her when she was an old lady in the slum. Once again mom responded yes.
Mom's sister was present for this office visit. The sister has her own problems with her own baby entered in the Sisters malnutrition program. (Sarah is too young to be in the program.) I explained to mom and her sister again where they could find We Advance in the nearby slum and wrote it out clearly on a piece of paper. Even though neither of them read, I thought it could be helpful if they handed the piece of paper to someone near We Advance when they go to Wharf Jeremie. The sister assured me that she would go with mom and Sarah the next day.
I sure hope this works.
John A. Carroll MD