Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blog #3: The Ebola Diaries: Trying To Heal Patients You Can't Touch

This article that I choose is about an American doctor Kwan Kew Lai who was in West Africa volunteering at an Ebola treatment center in Liberia and kept a blog for 6 weeks. Because the risk of infection is so high the access to these centers is severely limited leaving most people questioning the severeness, and this blog gives a true inside visual of what the centers are truly like on a day to day basis. This article pulled just a few of her excerpts from the many entries, and I was shocked at how vivid and heart wrenching they were. Just reading the sentences my heart was breaking for the helpless dying patients. Lai explained how painful and humiliating her patients found the symptoms of Ebola the constant diarrhea and vomiting. And she described how several patients who were determined to keep themselves presentable, for example their was a lady named Nancy who was tall and elegant who always kept her hair neat in corn rows. Lai told how the patients soiled their pants on a daily basis, leaving them to wear a hodgepodge of donated items, but Nancy still managed to put together outfits that looked good on her. One morning Lai went in to check on Nancy and the scene of the room that greeted her was this: "We found found Nancy hunched over her bed, face lowered in her arms, sitting on the bucket commode naked, except for her underwear. She had been weak but managed to haul herself to the commode during the night. But when we touched her, she was already in rigor mortis, she expired while sitting on the bucket."

Another story she shared in her blog was about a mother and a daughter who were both battling the destructive disease together in the same room. She included that she had too keep her emotions in check as much as possible but on this day she couldn't keep it together. She had to find a way too explain to the mother that her three year old daughter laying in the bed beside her had passed away in the night. The mother was struggling with terrible bloody diarrhea and great weakness, in all the while trying stay alive herself she didn't even know her daughter had died. The indescribable sadness and helplessness that she faced is terribly, but it wasn't all bad. She was able too see a six year old girl Christine recover after multiple moments of near death, she said it was a miracle she pulled through. And the day she was leaving the treatment center she was able to see the first smile on Christine's face when she asked her "Do you want to go home?". This article makes you so thankful too live where we live, and not too have to face such detriment.

Anna Hunsucker
18 February 2015

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