25.09.2009 - 03.10.2009
Back to Managua…..miles traveled……300.
During our time in Bluefields, we visited our Godchild, Jeronima, on several occasions. She had a baby, Tatiana, 2 ½ years ago. At the time, Jeronima was only 17 and Tati was born at 7 months via cesarean because her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. As a result of premature birth, Tati was born at 1 ½ pounds and with heart and lung problems. Jeronima was told that her baby probably would not make it through the night. She did make it through the night and has been back and forth to the doctor her whole little life. The good news is that she is thriving and doing better than the doctors thought she would. She doesn’t say but a few words: mommy, daddy and pig. She doesn’t seem to respond to external stimuli as much as other kids her age, however, even in our month there we noticed improvement.
While in Bluefields we took advantage of going with Tati to a physical therapy appointment and her pediatrician appointment to get a better handle of how she is doing and what more can be done for her. In terms of physical therapy she is doing fantastic. Before she did not walk and when she did, only on her tip toes. Now she loves to walk and run and although still somewhat on her tip toes, she is learning to use her whole foot. Her mom bought her a great pair of squeaky shoes that make sound when her heels make contact with the ground, which is wonderful reinforcement for Tatiana.
At the pediatrician visit, the doctor explained that little Tati really needs further examination that
Bluefields cannot provide due to lack of proper equipment. He told us that he wanted her to go to Managua to the Pipitos Institute in Managua, where they provide care for children with special needs at little or no cost to the family. The major cost would be transportation to and from the capitol city. We discussed the possibility and the decided to accompany Jeronima and Tati to Managua because we had to go there anyway en route to Guatemala. We knew if we took the time to do this, we would lose our time to explore El Salvador and Guatemala (we had already ditched the idea of going to Honduras at this time due to the political situation). Mike and I both were sure that it was more important to get Tatiana going on for further examinations. She would get eye, ears, and EEG tests. The doctor needs to know what part of Tati’s brain was most affected so they can figure out the best way to help her maximize her development during these critical years.
While we were there the doctors discovered that her hearing was fine. They also ran the EEG, but the results wouldn’t be ready for a couple of weeks. The eye exam revealed that Tatiana was almost completely blind in one eye, but the other appeared to have developed normally. While in Managua, we introduced Jeronima and Tatiana to our friend, Sister Maritza. We also showed Jeronima some of the sights in Managua.
We also took them to McDonalds (of all places) and to go on some store rides, which Tati loved.
We even took Tatiana to the playground. She loved the swing, teeter totter, and most of all the slide. She cried when we had to leave the playground.
On Sunday, we bought our tickets for the 17 hour bus ride to Guatemala City on the King Quality bus line. It would depart at 3:30am. Finally on that afternoon, we took Jeronima and Tatiana to the airport for their return flight home. We begged the airport personnel to let us go into the waiting room with them, but they wouldn’t bend the rules for us. With repeated hugs between all parties and Jeronima finally went through the security check point. She will have to return in a few weeks with her mother to complete the battery of exams and get the results from Tati’s EEG. From that point, hopefully she will have a treatment plan for Tati to work on in Bluefields with only occasional follow up in the capitol.
It was with heavy hearts that Sara and I walked slowly away from the airport. From the airport we went to convent to share in a sister's vow celebration. As we went back to our hotel we bedded down to try and get a little bit of rest before our bus trip that would cover four countries. Next Episode: Good times with the Sisters!