By Dr. Judy Blumhofer, serving at Hospital Loma de Luz in La Ceiba, Honduras, through the World Medical Mission Post-Residency program
I couple of weeks ago I wrote about a baby whose healing seemed to be miraculously orchestrated by God. But that proved to be just the beginning of the story.
The infant girl seemed to be getting better after our prayers, but she had been suffering for over a week with fevers and diarrhea. I couldn’t figure it out. She was improving on so many levels, but that fever wouldn’t leave. She didn’t keep Tylenol or ibuprofen in her body long enough for them to be effective in the least, which also meant that she wasn’t going to absorb oral antibiotics well either.
Her stool studies showed nothing, and I honestly couldn’t think of anything we hadn’t treated. She cried almost all the time, slept restlessly, and didn’t want to eat anymore.
“Hydrate her!” I thought. “Just keep enough liquids in her so that she doesn’t get dehydrated and she doesn’t get hypoglycemic. Ride it out.”
Well, that was easier said than done. We couldn’t keep an IV in her for the life of us. Most days, we couldn’t even get one in. And on the rare occurrence that we did, it would be tenuous at best and didn’t work for more than a few hours.
I tried a nasogastric tube, but it gagged her horribly every time we put it in and set off a paroxysm of coughing, which promptly made her spew it back out. I gave brief consideration to an intraosseous line, which is like an IV but it goes into the bone, and thought, “Can you really give antibiotics that way? I have no idea.” Generally, they are only for emergencies, resuscitations, etc.
Then I thought maybe a central line would work. But what if it got infected? I didn’t have the abilities to deal with all of the complications that could result.
So, as I was checking on her and reviewing her chart for the umpteenth time that day, I started praying. It was nothing earth shattering or profound…or even really that direct.
“Lord, I don’t know anymore,” I prayed. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
And just like that, the pieces fell into place. All of a sudden, I knew what her condition was and how to treat it. It was nothing absurd, or even that rare. I just had had a major mental block.
I jumped up to tell her parents.
“I was just praying about her,” I told them, “and all of a sudden, I realized what we need to do. I know what’s wrong, and we can treat it.”
We adjusted her medications once again, and I reviewed with the nurses when to give what. I checked the medication book the following morning to confirm she was receiving all her meds as scheduled. Then I checked on the baby, and she seemed a little better.
I cautioned her parents that this might take a little longer to take effect, but I thought we were on the right road. By that afternoon, her fever was gone and her diarrhea had completely stopped. That night, she actually slept. The next day, she started eating. Her weight started climbing. We weaned her off oxygen, and I told the family that if she remained looking this well, she could go home the next day.
She had her best night yet that night, so I sat down to write her discharge instructions and figure out what medications she should take home. As the nurse was reviewing the orders, she said, “What’s this medicine? She’s not getting this.”
I looked down at what she was pointing to and realized it was the medicine for her diarrhea. I thought, “She certainly is! I saw the first dose given. I checked in the book the next day to make sure it was being given as scheduled. I confirmed with the parents that she was swallowing it OK.”
I asked my nurse, “Really? Because I know she was.” Well, that nurse had been on for the past two days, and she was adamant that this baby had not been getting that medicine.
We reviewed the med book—all her meds and all the dates except for this one were accounted for. We checked every other patient’s meds in case it had been logged incorrectly. It was nowhere. I asked her parents. At that point, they weren’t sure what was what; she had been getting so many different treatments.
As she was entirely better, and was apparently without the medication for the past two days, I saw no point on restarting it. So I sent her home.
Her follow-up appointment was two days later. She continued to look great. Her fever and diarrhea stayed away. She only had a few, short coughing spasms, and she hadn’t required any of the “as needed” medications we’d sent her home with.
Every time I see her or drive past her house, I think of how present God was with her, and how faithful He was to heal her. I don’t know what happened with that missing medication, or where that entry on her medication sheet went. But I do know that she got much, much better far faster than I was expecting after prayers were lifted to our heavenly father.
Surely angels were tending to her care.