Thursday, March 18, 2010


She's my age, a grandmother, and the sole caregiver of three young children whose parents died of AIDS-related complications.

Jenipher was admitted four days ago with second degree burns on her face, head, neck and left shoulder. She could neither speak nor open her eyes because of extensive edema, and her pain was great.

"A known epileptic," Jenipher had been diagnosed 15 years prior but was not on anti-seizure medication because the cost was prohibitive. She apparently had a seizure and fell into the cooking fire on Monday about noon.

Her grandchildren ran for a neighbor who brought her to the hospital five hours later, after collecting 115 shillings ($1.50) from the community for piki-piki (motorcycle) transport.

Jenipher arrived in shock, with a BP of 70/50, T 34.1C, her pulse faint. We administered Pethedine (a Demerol equivalent) and IV fluids, cleaned and applied Dermazene to her wounds. That was all we could do except pray.

Her vital signs are improving. The swelling is diminishing, and Jenipher's oozing eyes are opening. It is too early to determine any damage to her sight, but we cleaned her eyes and applied TEO (tetracyclene eye ointment) this morning.

A cast iron "cage" protects her head and shoulders from the weight of bed linens, but her pain continues to be intense. Her burns will be debrided under general anaesthesia today. Please pray with us -- for Jenipher and her grandchildren.

No comments: