Friday, October 26, 2012

Home for the Dying

Six miles from Jubilee is DePoto, the Sisters of Charity Home for the Dying. I've been there twice this week to visit Jeanita, my burn girl. I'm not allowed to use the camera inside the grounds (I love that rule - the dignity that it maintains for the patients!) but this is what I see when I turn my bike off the main road and approach the gates: a peaceful avenue, trees and farmland surrounded by mountains, flowers on every wall. What a perfect place for a hospice center.

Jeanita is doing well. The nuns tell me that when she arrived 12 days ago, her burns smelled so atrocious that they washed and dressed them outside before bringing her to a bed. But on Tuesday, when I last visited her, her burns were clean and looking very healthy. Edges had begun to heal, especially on her forearm and shin, areas where the burn wasn't as deep. Her palm is starting heal but the rest of her hand and the deep sections on her thigh and knee are going to take a long time. All her fingers are contracted, muscles stiffened permanently, so that even when she heals, she will never regain function of that hand. And her pinkie finger - that was the only finger that she never let me debride and so it infected underneath the dead skin. Now the infection appears to have reached the bone and it looks like she will lose that finger.

She still screams and cries when they do dressings, and sometimes she runs out of the building. But six miles is a long way for a girl to even think about going, so she always returns to her bed. They haven't been giving her the seizure meds that I provided and she isn't on an antibiotic anymore or any pain meds, but at least she has clean bandaged burns and she is smiling. I can't ask for more than that.  

No comments: