Friday, 8th November: Baby Godwin
I went to the hospital at 9.15 this morning with Denis and Ben (the eldest in the family) to be there with Margaret and Miriam when the doctor came to see baby Godwin. We had to wait a long time. Although Miriam is actually on the mental health ward at the moment, the doctor depended on her for help with everything in the sickle cell ward! She is clearly very knowledgeable and efficient. I think Godwin would be even worse off without Miriam around to provide support and make sure things are done. What about all the others who don’t have a Miriam or brothers to help them?
Most sick children and their families were outside enjoying the fresh early morning air – until they were all called into the wards at about 10.00 for the ward rounds and treatment. It must be such a stuffy atmosphere inside during the night, with so many people sleeping in the wards, filling every square inch on, beneath and beside the little beds. Margaret said she hadn’t had any sleep. Some carers have mats to sleep on while others sleep on flattened cardboard boxes or squeeze onto the little beds with their babies.
Godwin looked very poorly and couldn’t really be roused. He is on liquid morphine, but hasn’t been having the laxative that was prescribed – because there wasn’t any in the ward!! So he is very constipated, vomiting and not breast feeding or drinking. (We have now been and bought the tablets in the town.) Nearly all the children look seriously ill, yet they make little or no sound even when painful things are done to them, often quite roughly.
The doctor doesn’t think Godwin needs a scan at the moment, but wants him to have the Hb electrophoresis blood test which can only be done in Kampala. So blood was taken from him ready to send, while we went to the Police again to see if they could force Okello (the father) to sell a cow and bring the necessary money, which he is still refusing to do. He has even switched off his phone. The Policewoman said they should first get the clan leaders to try and sort it out and sell a cow, so Denis and Ben went straight off to Tubur village while I went back to the hospital. Six hours later, they aren’t back and I haven’t heard from them, so I don’t know how they are getting on.
I also went to see Amutos Irene (one of our old sponsored girls) who now has a job as receptionist at the Cathedral community centre which sells lunches. However, there was a problem and no lunch was ready! So after talking to Irene, I went into town to get some lunch before coming back to the house. A big funeral for an ex-Government Minister from Serere (Omax Omeda) who died on Wednesday was taking place in the Cathedral.
I am fascinated by the rapid progress of the ants’ artwork in my bathroom. This is how far they have reached in just 30 hours!
I am meant to be going to stay with James Ikara in Nyero today, but it is looking unlikely as Denis still isn’t back from the village. If I stay here another night, I’ll update you on the ants’ progress!
I am concerned about what condition the blood sample will be in by the time it reaches the lab as it is now 5.30pm on Friday evening. I suspect they will have to try again on Monday. I hope and pray he gets the care and treatment he needs over the weekend.
Is there anyone reading this who could somehow generate some support and expertise for services for sickle cell children in Teso? Clare, who came with us from Kobwin on Monday, runs a weekly clinic in Ngora (the only one for the whole of Teso) with no funds. Because of her passion to help children like her daughter Laura, she also travels long distances to visit families at home to give advice and encouragement, but without any resources or financial backing. Her only income is from the crops she and her husband grow. Spending so much time this week in the overcrowded ward full of such ill “sicklers” and their families just illustrates the desperate need for help.