What does that even mean?

The other day Dadou asked if I could help him out. I said "sure, what do you need?” He asked if I would drive to the local hospital to pick up his mother-in-law. His mother-in-law just recently had a stroke and now is unable to walk. I told him, “pa gen problem.” No problem. I headed to the hospital and when I arrived I was told by the family that it was going to take awhile before they released her. I was fine with waiting because there is always something to do at the hospital. While I was waiting I was able to hunt down more insulin syringes and lancets for Kelinise. After that I was able to figure out when the hospital was going to receive their next shipment of insulin. Then, I proceeded to find a nurse to write Kelinise a prescription for insulin so that I could be there the minute the shipment arrived. After all of this I decided to head up to the adult unit to check on Dadou’s mother-in-law. In the main area surrounding the nurses station there must have been 12 people lying in their hospital beds with their IV poles and everything, out in the open. It reminded me of a scene of Grey’s Anatomy after there had just been some sort of disaster and all the patients with missing limbs etc, had to wait in the halls until they could put them in rooms. It was quite similar, minus the disaster part. This was just a normal day. I passed by a doctor who was bent over a patient performing a spinal tap. This made me cringe. Not because the procedure made me uneasy but because I once felt that same pain.

I’m not writing this blog post to talk about what it was like to have meningitis or to tell about the time I spent in the hospital, although it was interesting to say the least. But instead share what must have been my mother’s perspective.

My mother was scared to death as any mother would be. 
What caused Jenn to have meningitis? she wondered.

At first I was isolated because it was still yet to be determined if I had bacterial or viral meningitis. 
What is the difference between viral and bacterial meningitis?

Everyone who visited me in the hospital for the first couple days had to wear a mask.
Why do we have to wear a mask?

After a week and a half in the hospital I was ready to head home.
Can she get meningitis again?
How long will it take for her to recover?
When do you think she can return to school?
Do you recommend Tylenol or Advil for her head aches?

I would say these were valid questions for a mom who has never had a child sick with meningitis. Wouldn't you want to know everything about the disease and answers to all of your why questions? It’s normal. It’s to be expected, especially when you are facing a chance that your child may not survive. You need to know everything. You want to know everything. If you don’t understand stand everything the doctor said to you then you go home and research it yourself. You reach out to anyone that might have gone through something similar.

Now imagine your questions not being answered.

Imagine not having anyone to reach out to because your neighbor next to you didn’t understand either. Their questions also went unanswered.

This is life here. It’s not because the doctors here are bad doctors. They're not. They are excellent, just overwhelmed with patients at times. To be fair there are only about eight doctors for every 72,000 inhabitants. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time for patient teaching.

This is what feeds our passion. We want everyone to understand why their special needs child may not be walking. Why the child with a heart condition can’t stop coughing. Why their HIV+ child is always sick.

We especially want these “educated” moms to be able to turn to other mothers in the village and answer all of their pressing questions. When this happens its beautiful. This my friends is our passion.