One Foot In The Grave
One afternoon our staff received an urgent message that there was an extremely ill child in a squatter village near the city bus terminal. So one of our nurses, one of our social workers and Marlys Healy went there immediately to assess the situation. The government workers brought eleven month old Jason to our vehicle. It was hard to believe that Jason was even alive, as he was so emaciated and malnourished. His bones and veins were barely covered by a thin layer of skin and he was so weak that his cry was a mere whimper. He was severely dehydrated so he didn’t even have tears. His mother was out begging when we got there, but we took him anyway, with the assistance of the local officials. There was no time to wait for her return. Our hearts were breaking as we rushed him through the crowded streets of Cebu for an exam at our doctor’s office. We wrapped him carefully, as he was so frail, and gave him milk very slowly. His little tummy was not used to real nutrition. The desperate mother had been giving him watered down rice water, which was somewhat better than nothing.
Later, when the mother returned, she heard that we had her son at the doctor’s office, so she went there right away to watch the exam. I can’t imagine what she must have been feeling as she watched her son slowly fading away from her in the dark and filthy shack she called home. There he was being carefully examined by our compassionate and tender pediatrician in a safe and clean clinic, just a few miles from her village where her son was literally dying. (The doctor was so moved by meeting Jason that he didn’t charge for the exam.)
When Paul pulled into our yard at the Shelter an hour later, the mother was about to leave with the government officials. She was there to see Jason’s new home, and she met some of the Aunties and Uncles that care so tenderly for our children. She walked straight over to the window of the vehicle and there was genuine peace in her eyes as she stood outside, thanking us for rescuing her son. Maybe she slept a little that night, knowing that Jason would no longer suffer the pain of starvation, but looking around her at the other eight kids must have quickly brought her back to reality.
Jason was admitted to the hospital the following day for severe pneumonia and diarrhea, and after receiving medicine for de-worming, he passed an awful worm that was robbing him of any tiny amount of nutrition. In the days to come he made remarkable recovery. He remained weak for a while, but eventually started putting on weight as he was given good nutrition and lots of tender loving care. Within a few months he started moving around on the floor. Before long he was crawling and interacting with the other children. His progress was amazing!
Today Jason is a happy, healthy and hardy two year old. Every time we look at him we are amazed that a tiny malnourished baby with one foot in the grave was rescued and restored by the loving hands of Jesus through the staff and workers of CSC.