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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Two of our children going deaf

Seth. Photo credit:  Brooke Sleeper
As I sit in my home on the side of a mountain in Swaziland, Africa, I am often frustrated by hearing the complaints about the healthcare in the US and in Canada.  This is not going to be a politically charged blog, I assure you, but rather a different twist on “health care” (or lack thereof) from where I sit.

We have a little boy named Seth. He is the cutest little guy, but has been sick from the day his mother dropped him in an outdoor toilet on January 4th, 2014.   Among other long-term illnesses he has reoccurring ear infections, which result in his eardrums rupturing followed by puss and blood pouring out.    This has happened at least 20 times in his short two years of life, but they never really heal completely before the next one.

We have treated the infections, taken him to our own pediatrician and the only reasonable, and simple solution (if we lived in the US or Canada) is to have tubes put in his ears.  This is not a complicated procedure, in fact even Spencer had them put in when he was a small boy and had lots of ear infections. It does require surgery, but it’s day surgery and when complete the ears have a way to drain and not end up bursting and creating scar tissue that can eventually lead to deafness.

Last year we finally found the ONLY ENT (Ear Nose Throat specialist) in the country to examine him, but he refused to put tubes in his ears.  Why? Because he doesn’t believe in putting in tubes.  He says that when the eardrum bursts, it is “nature’s way of removing the infection” (!!!).  

When Brooke’s father was here last month he examined Seth and said that he believed he was already deaf in one ear, and would certainly lose the hearing in his other ear if something wasn’t done urgently.  He needs surgery, but that BASIC surgery is not available in our country. 

Our only solution is to take him to South Africa for surgery, but that is a huge challenge.  You see, we have a big problem with child trafficking between South Africa and Swaziland and getting a passport for one of our children is very complicated AND then we have to have the correct government paper work to take him out of the county.  

This week was filled with blessings and breakthroughs, and we found just the right person, who was willing to write just the right letter, that will allow us to get a passport and take Seth to South Africa within the next week or two.

Once we realized that this dream was becoming a reality, Brooke asked if we could take Isaiah too?  Isaiah has had at least 10 ear infections in his short life and he too has a lot of permanent damage and scar tissue.  The good news is that Isaiah already has a passport because he had to go to South Africa when he was a baby because he was near death and needed a myriad of specialists.  (As an aside, they all told us that Isaiah wouldn't live, and we should take him home and put him in hospice.  Today he still struggles with mal-absorption of food, but is doing well and a very happy boy).

So, in the next two weeks we plan to take Seth and Isaiah to South Africa for surgery on their ears.  We anticipate tubes and some reconstructive surgery to be required.

Here’s the challenge.  We have a quote from the surgeon to do each child, and including transportation and two nights hotel rooms for our driver and an Auntie, we are looking at a whopping $2,300 per child!

I don’t know what that would cost in the US or Canada, but I do know that if we lived there we wouldn’t have to leave the country to get the care that is needed for these two children.

Two days ago I put out a request on Facebook to raise funds for four washing machines needed for the Children’s Campus. Within two days we had them all!  Today I find myself asking again, but this time for Seth and Isaiah’s ears, so that they will not go deaf in the months or years to come.

We need a total of $4,600 and we know that HE will provide for HIS children.  Will you be a part of HIS solution?  If yes, please give to our Emergency Medical Fund today.  Thank you.

Live from Swaziland … I am thankful that I have ears to hear!


PS – if you didn’t read last week’s blog, we are looking for a Nurse or Nurse Practitioner to come and work alongside Brooke.  Please pass this along to anyone whom you know might be interested -

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