by Ruth, aka Momma Frizzle
For so many patients at Hopital Lumiere we know only part of their story. Bits and pieces gleaned from the days and weeks when our lives intertwined. We shared extraordinary things, but eventually moved on. What has happened in the long time since is shrouded. This is the way of things, I suppose.
But sometimes these incomplete parts, still make a beautiful harmony when sung together. That is my hope. And as the Haitian proverb says, “Lespwa fe viv” — Hope gives life. So here is one little boy’s story in four parts.
January 30, 2010 — Nearly three weeks after the earthquake, five-year-old Kerven arrived at Hopital Lumiere. His leg was crushed in the earthquake, and he’d received no medical care since.
“When Kerven came in, he prayed, ‘Dear Jesus, please save my leg so I can go to school,’” RN Delena Wilson said as her voice broke.” So we’ve been working for two days to save his leg.”
When he arrived, his leg was black from the bone-crushing injuries. It looked like it was already gone. But now his toes are “pinking up,” meaning blood is flowing to them, Delena reports. However, he also has a 104-degree temperature, meaning possible infection. Delena is concerned about the answer to Kervin’s prayer.
“Everything hits home when you have little ones,” Delena Wilson said.
She is the mother of two beautiful children — a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter. They are staying with Grammie Brown while Delena is in Haiti, and her husband Adam is in Canada working for the Olympics.
Delena knows what it is like to be a Haitian child. The youngest daughter of Fred and Hannie Brown, she was 6 months old when her family moved to Bonne Finn to serve as medical missionaries at Hopital Lumiere. When the family left in 1982, Delena was five years old, just like Kervin is now.
Back in the same place where she first learned to pray, Delena is once again asking “Dear Jesus, please…” and doing everything she can to help a little 5-year-old boy. Just like her son. Just like herself.
January 31, 2010 — For the eight pediatric patients at Hopital Lumiere fun is in short supply. Surgeons are saving their lives; nurses are healing their wounds; and parents are comforting their hearts, but playtime hasn’t been a top priority, until Sunday!
Today, Susan, a pediatric nurse from Charlotte, N.C., took six of the 8 kids outside for some fun! Laying on stretchers and sitting in wheelchairs, the kids can’t play like they did before the earthquake. But soon laughter filled the afternoon.
Kids batted colorful balloons around like balls. Boys played with toy cars. Girls decorated their hair with barrettes. Everybody got candy and sang hymns.
Susan rubbed down each child with lotion to help with circulation and to perfume their skin. She also educated their parents. In the midst of the fun, there was an intended lesson – it’s good for your child to move around outside.
Many of the children have been indoors laying on hospital beds for nearly three weeks. Today showed that little bodies in the process of healing still need to move and stretch.
Everyone was smiling and laughing, except for Kerven.
Kerven’s crushed leg was surgically cleaned out again today. Doctors fear that amputation may still be necessary, but everyone is willing to wait a little longer. Another surgical procedure is scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, his high fever may be malarial, which is inexplicably better than dreaded infection. So Kerven is not smiling or laughing. In fact, my husband Dan can’t remember ever seeing him smile. Until today.
Dan showed him a video of our 4-year-old son dancing around like a maniac in his underpants. That did it. Kerven was smiling! Boys always think underpants are funny!
February 14, 2010 — Although he said little, Kerven was paying close attention to his nurse Delena Brown Wilson – the tall, blonde-haired American who tenderly cared for him for over a week.
The morning after she left, Kerven had one question for remaining nurse Helene Pearson, “Where’s that nurse?” Teasingly, Helene responded, “What nurse are you talking about?’
“You know the nurse I am talking about,” insisted Kerven. “The tall, really white nurse with yellow hair.”
“I don’t know what nurse you are talking about unless you tell me her name,” Helene continued to joke.
“You know the nurse I’m talking about — my nurse Delena,” Kerven finally said smiling. Proud that she’d successfully broken through his serious demeanor, Helene said, “See, I knew you knew her name!”
Delena returned home February 2. Helene left Hopital Lumiere on February 4. But Kerven is still receiving excellent care. He continues to talk and smile – a good sign of an improving emotional state.
His little mind has dealt with a lot. Kerven was trapped in rubble with a dead body for several days after the earthquake. “He was pulled out of the rubble and in so doing tore his leg up,” said Helene in a newspaper interview.
Every team who has come to Hopital Lumiere works incredibly hard to save Kerven’s little leg. He has undergone numerous procedures, rather than amputation, on his injured limb. A month after the earthquake, the verdict is still out.
“Kerven’s foot is looking good, but I’m not sure about his leg,” reported Sheila Moser, the on-site Apostolic Christian World Relief (ACWR) missionary. But we continue to pray that the tender mercies of the Lord will be new each morning.
March 18, 2010 — From invalid to instigator, little Kerven, who’s leg was crushed so badly that amputation seemed likely, now spends his time racing through hospital wards on a tricycle and teasing the nurses. His seemingly permanent frown turned into mischievous laughter.
“Kerven is a sweet, ornery boy,” says Shelia. “We have a good relationship. I tease him a lot. The other day he was riding in his wheelchair when I passed him on the sidewalk. He smacked me on my thigh and didn’t miss a beat or glance back until he was well outside my reach! Then he thought it was a real hoot!”
Kerven’s leg looks great, although it’s a little stiff, according to Shelia. He didn’t like using a walker for therapy, so the inventive Hopital Lumiere staff gave him a tricycle to ride around instead! Pretty much, every five-year-old’s dream come true! But one that would have been impossible, except that Jesus answered a little boy’s prayer. And all of ours.
At least as far as I know it…!