Roberta Jerescni, RN with Santos
On our first medical trip to Guatemala, a family took the bus for many hours to come to our clinic with their 3 year old daughter who was Hydrocephalic. The doctor’s had not suggested surgical intervention so they were just caring for her the best they could. Her Father carried her in a sling over his back and she was getting heavy. We gave them some funds to assist with formula and medication.
The following year we brought Dr. Raj Patel with us and he examined her and agreed that the idea of inserting a shunt in that environment would only lead to infection and problems. In his opinion she would only live two or three years with the size of her head as he saw it. The week before we departed for our medical trip, we got a call from a family who’s young son had passed away from a similar birth defect and offered us his wheelchair. So we gave it to her and adjusted it to meet her needs. The wheelchair was a huge relief for the family and offered more mobility to take her out and go places in the village. With the help of the health committee in the village of El Triunfo we continued to support her financially with a small donation to cover milk and medication.
A few years passed and each year she came in to the clinic and was still healthy. We referred the family to the health committee for ongoing assistance and they suggested they offer her family the money to buy a goat for her milk. This reduced the amount that was required to support her needs.
In 2011 the family showed us the wheel chair and it was in very bad shape. Because of the size of her head, the wheelchair kept tipping over backwards so the father had tied a cement block to the foot rest to balance the weight to keep her stable.
In 2012 we received another wheelchair that was practically new, larger and had tilt and recline positions and a tray. When we put her into it she broke out in a beautiful smile and reached for my pen to write…. she scribbled a beautiful note for us and we gave her paper and a set of coloured markers as her mother says she loves to write. Amazing!!