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Saturday, July 12, 2014

The pregnant mother was told she is a "walking corpse"?



We have been on holiday in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, South Africa for the past week celebrating Chloe’s 18th birthday and we have had a wonderful time. As per my blog last week, we miss Spencer and it seems like there is a big hole in the family as we experience new places and things without him. But that is life, and I guess I will have to try to get used to it.

One of the other things that I have to try to get used to are the strange messages that I often receive when I am away on holidays.  We are blessed with an amazing team back at Project Canaan, and technically we could turn our phones “off”, but we do want to be available in case of emergency, so the phones stay “on”.

I was contacted by Social Welfare a few weeks ago about a young mother who was in trouble and was asking for our help once her unwanted baby was born.  The due date was July 10th and I have been speaking to the pregnant woman regularly on a popular “App” here in Southern Africa called “WhatsApp”.  Throughout this past week, while we have been on holiday, I received regular messages from the mother telling me that she was in labor, or that it had stopped or that she had gone to the government hospital, but they had sent her away.  We have stayed in close contact.

Last night, just before we were heading out for a nice family dinner at the popular Ernie Els Restaurant, I got an urgent message from her that said, “I have just come from the hospital again and they say I am just a walking corpse.  I will tell you what happens as the day goes by.  Thanks.”

What is a “walking corpse?” and did they mean her or the baby?  As I asked more questions I realized that she had no idea what they meant.  In the Swazi healthcare world it is almost forbidden for a patient to ask a nurse ANY questions about their own health, including what medicine they have been given, what is wrong with them or why the diagnosis was reached.  That is another blog for another day.  The point is she had no idea what they meant, but that was the message she was given and so she passed it on to me.

My amazing team of American and Swazi Caregivers moved into action and made many phone calls to try to ascertain what the real situation is.  That may be the hardest part of our jobs – finding the “truth”, whatever that may be.

This blog will have to have a Part 2 because right now we are in the middle of the story.  The baby has not arrived.  The mother is at home.  We are monitoring as closely as we can the arrival of Baby #61.

I will let you know what happens, but for now, we pray for the mother, the baby and for all involved. 

Live from Stellenbosch, South Africa … I am enjoying my last day of our holiday.

Janine
Happy birthday Chloe ... from the top of Table Mountain.

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