Journal by: Sharon Conard
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24 (NIV)
Saturday, 8/27: Arrived in Bucharest, Romania after a very long plane ride! Met Dan Cirjontu and Cora Thompson at the airport and proceeded to Barlad. Stopped for supper at McDonald’s, Bacau. Arrived in Barlad around 7:30 p.m. where we proceeded to check into our hotel. A wedding reception was in progress.
Sunday, 8/28: Today we met with Mihaela. She explained the program and took us to the Children’s Hospital to orient us to our surroundings. Basically hung out the rest of the day to deal with our jet lag.
Monday, 8/29: This is our first day in the hospital. I felt like a fish out of water as I wasn’t sure what I could do nor had I ever dealt with neurologically impaired children. For whatever reason, I connected with a six-year-old female, Denisa, who looked to be two years and weighed approximately 20-25#. Denisa was a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome child and could not function mentally or physically. She needed to be fed although once in a while she would try to put a spoon to her mouth. She also needed to be taught to ambulate. Compared to the other children in the room, she was one of the most active. A Cerebral Palsy child (Vasile), one with hydrocephalus (Maria Cleopatra), and Vali, a child age 14 months was there for recovery after a repair of his face post-trauma.
Tuesday, 8/30: I still don’t know what I’m doing but I love it here. You can’t help but fall in love with these children and hope that they can feel this love in your touch and hugs. I am working with Denisa to help her to learn to walk. She gets frustrated easily. One has to back off and come back a few minutes later. She occasionally will try to pick up food and place it in her mouth. She pinches!
Wednesday, 8/31: Oh my gosh!! What a day! Some children left and new children arrived. Vali left today to have further repair of his face. “Little John” or Lonutz, age 9, returned to the placement center. Vasile also left. We received Lonutz, a Cerebral Palsy Spastic child, Marion, Ion, and Sebastian, a school-aged autistic. We kept Maria Cleopatra, Gabriella, and Denisa. Much chaos as the children “come and go.” Doctors and nurses come and go, too, and Ion is running around like a crazy. All this activity, confusion and the jet lag finally catching upto me, made for a very fatiguing day.
Thursday, 9/1: Good day! Finally slept. Things have settled in the hospital, making for a comfortable environment to work. Denisa walked down the hallway two times while holding onto my hands. She would occasionally stop and look into a room with her head positioned to the side. Many times I look at her and wonder what is going on inside that beautiful head. Today I also started to work with Gabriella. She is on IV antibiotics for pharyngitis. She is unable to walk and I fear that she cannot see more than four inches away. All the children seem to have nystagmus. She seems to be very introverted and doesn’t want to be bothered. She pulls away from touch and cries easily.
Friday, 9/2: Things have settled into a routine today. Denisa seems to know me as she will reach out when she hears my voice. Today she patted my back while I patted hers. She touched my cheeks and gave me a kiss on the cheek. The whole time she was smiling and laughing out-loud. She again walked the length of the hall, smilling and with much curiosity of the things she saw and heard. She looked so beautiful in her onesee and little pink skirt with high-topped shoes. I feel like I am making progress but alas, she left before noon to return to the placement center. I felt very sad and could feel tears in my eyes. I just had to get up and walk around. I could not watch her leave. After her departure, I devoted my time and energy into working with Gabriella. She must be feeling better as she is more responsive to stimuli. She laughs easily, her appetite seems to be improving, and she has taken a few steps with assistance. This afternoon we cuddled and rocked in the rocking chair as I sang to her and played “patty cake”. By the end of the day I could say “patty cake” and she would clap her hands and smile. Less tears today! Hopefully I will make a small difference in her life as well as Denisa’s if she should return.