Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Update on Awilda

[On June 7, Dayanara (our communications coordinator in Santiago, Dominican Republic) and Dr. Vargas, our agency doctor, accompanied Awilda and her mom, Jacqueline, to the Regional University Children’s Hospital for another exam. Dayanara shared the following report:]

The first thing Dr. Vargas (who had agreed to meet Awilda and her mother, Jacqueline) said upon entering the hospital was, “It looks like the hospital isn’t big enough for the population.”

We finally met Awilda, and in the middle of her greeting she said, “I’m a little nervous.” Dr. Vargas started joking with her to try to calm her. Then we continued talking about her situation, and Awilda told us, “My foot hurts a lot; I have a lot of infection. I’ve had to change my sock as many as three times a day.”

Dr. Vargas asked her, “Do you feel positive and ready for what the doctor tells you?” Awilda answered, “You’ve got to take it as it comes.”

[If you’ve never seen the conditions of public hospitals in countries with struggling economies, it can be overwhelming. Dayanara provided a vivid description of the scene that greeted her in the waiting room...]

Children in wheelchairs, crying; desperate mothers; a lot of heat; too many people – so many there weren’t enough chairs....When Dr. Vargas and I looked around the area where we were, Dr. Vargas observed, “God gives special children to strong people.”

While we were waiting, I tried to make time go by faster and break the tension by telling Awilda about the story Kelly had posted on CI’s blog. Awilda got very excited and said, “I’ll have to open an email account for all the people who will want to write me!” We all laughed. “As soon as I have money I’m going to an Internet center so I can see myself,” she added.

Finally we were able to enter the doctor’s office. He told us, “Osteomyelitis doesn’t heal; it can’t be cured. It stays alert while it messes things up.” Nutrition and rest are fundamental elements. The doctor feels that, overall, the child has alternated between good and bad progress.

[The good news, though, is that amputation is no longer being spoken of as the only alternative. There’s a fighting chance that Awilda’s foot can be saved.]

He also told us, “Were it not for the developmental stage she’s in, I would have fused her ankle; but that’s not feasible now.” He assured us that “Now the procedure will be slow. I’m happy that Children International is helping the child, because often the family can’t do what’s needed because of their financial needs.”

The doctor said that the most important part is the treatment, and he requested that CI cover Awilda’s transportation costs so she can go to the hospital instead of the having the volunteer who’s been caring for her foot at home continue to go to her house to treat her. He said that if the treatment is not done right the situation could worsen.

[Awilda will also be seeing a private specialist. Thanks to the ongoing support of her sponsor and generous donations from our readers, for the first time in years Awilda has a ray of hope.]

Would you like to share some words of encouragement with Awilda? Email them to and we'll make sure she gets them!


Anonymous said...

hi , i found your blog very interesting and it motives me to keep he;ping children in need, thank you and best wishes

TK said...

Hi Kelly,

Is there any further information about Awilda's situation?

Kelly said...

Hi TK,

Yes, there is -- and thanks so much for asking!

This is a report we received from our agency just a few days ago:

"I have good news for you:

Thanks to the wide-spectrum antibiotics from our clinic that our doctors prescribed, the culture on Awilda came back negative. No pathogenic microorganisms were found. It only showed that she once had an infection, and that she once had osteomyelitis.

'Few children reach this stage -- most have to undergo amputation... We hope she will continue like this,' said Dr. Vargas as she excitedly gave us the good news.

At this time, Awilda will take other medications for 5 days. They are treating her foot daily, and will do so over the period of one month. Afterwards, she will undergo an evaluation by an orthopedic doctor to determine what next steps should be taken."

This is fantastic news...and we're grateful to all of our readers who pitched in to help make sure Awilda received the care she needed. You really made a difference for her!