Isatu is a patient everyone on D ward has come to love. Sadly, the surgery we did on her jaw was only palliative, as the tumor was cancerous and will likely return. Shortly after surgery Isatu's wound opened back up to form a fistula through her cheek into her mouth. This led to a prolonged hospital stay, scrupulous wound care twice a day, and three weeks of tube feedings instead of only one. Despite her situation, Isatu always had a bright smile on her face. I would often hurry through the ward, focused on some task or other, and hear her call out behind me, "Rooot!!" I'd turn around and she'd be waving excitedly, eyes twinkling. I'd go over to her bed, get a hand squeeze or hug, and remember again why I'm here. Last week her teenage son (or maybe grandson, I'm not sure) was here to visit her and she was very excited to introduce him to all the nurses.
"My pikin, my pikin," she said, pointing at the young man. ("Pikin" is the Krio word for baby, or small child). Isatu gestured to Hannah, another nurse, and told her "your brother."
"My brother?" Hannah asked, confused.
Isatu nodded. "He my pikin. You my pikin. Your brother." Then she pointed at me, "You all my pikins."
Isatu now has the feeding tube out and is eating normal food, her wound is healing up nicely, and we were able to send her off to the Hope Center yesterday afternoon. I'll definitely be going to the Hope Center for a visit this week. :)