Ois continues to improve! I have been able to visit him three times in the past 10 days and he is better each time. Angel Missions is paying for him to stay at a small private hospital where he is cared for by a nurse round the clock (not that he needs much care now, but the company is good for him). I have arranged physical therapy and speech therapy for him, and we are working on a medical visa for him.
As you can see in the below photo, his left eye cannot move further than midline. He will need eye surgery to correct this and prevent him from having long term vision problems. I just got his birth certificate so that we can start the passport application process and then apply for a visa. With his birth certificate, I realized we have been mispelling his name all along. His last name is Oyis and his first name is Retasse, but he has asked to be called Oyis, so Oyis he will remain.
Xrays of his leg indicate that the external fixator needs to stay in for another month, but doctors say he can start to walk despite it. Two months without any activity have taken a toll on his leg, so Rony, the PT, is starting him with just standing and stretching exercises this week. Oyis is anxious to walk and play again. You would think that it would bother him to have a piece of metal sticking out of his leg, but his biggest complaint was this: "My leg is too short, Kez!"
Interacting with Oyis just makes me wriggle with excitement. He has gone from virtually catatonic to full sentences and even some smack talk! He loves to tease me, my silent shadows Obed and Jean Marc, and the nurses that we have skinny arms. "The only person with big biceps is me!" Oyis proclaims. (I think his arm is as wide as 3 of my fingers).
His speech is definitely slurred, but it also definitely the speech of a fully brain functional kid. He uses the slang that all the kids here use, he laughs at every little story I tell, and he asks me intelligent questions like, "When is Giset (his older sister) coming to see me?" and "Will you come with me when I go to America?" Although I know that he can speak now, a part of me is still jumping up and down with joy when he starts to tell me a story about "My big brother hunted down a brown cat and killed it for us to eat...It was delicious. Have you ever eaten cat?" And when he cracks a joke, I have to whoop and cheer out loud!
I asked Oyis how old he is. "Eight," he answered. I nodded and then thought for a second. "No, you're not. You just had your birthday on the 11th." "OK, I'm 10," he said. "What happened to 9?" I asked.
"Oh, I skipped 9."