A Testament to Resilience

This week, myself, Erin, Kilara and her family travelled to Kampala for an MRI and Bone Biopsy. Surprisingly despite its complexity, it went off without a hitch.

Before, we left for Kampala, myself and Kilara went to meet with Erin’s extended family. The meeting consisted of the extended family, the Local Councillors and the Local Child Representative. The point of the meeting was to draft a letter authorizing the tests and formally request EKU’s help to carry them out. The letter was signed by all parties present and it was decided that myself, Kilara, Erin, her grandmother and uncle would all travel to Kampala together. The grandmother went to care for Erin during the biopsy and her uncle went because as head of the family, he is responsible for signing all documents on behalf of the children. Ie. surgical consent forms.

We left early in the morning by bus and went directly to the hospital for the MRI. From there the results were examined by an ENT surgeon who referred us to an Orthopaedic surgeon for a second opinion. We arranged to meet the second surgeon in the morning and went to the hotel to sleep.

The next morning we woke up and travelled to the local hospital to meet with the orthopaedic surgeon. He examined the MRI and recommended a bone biopsy to discover the cause of the growth. Uganda uses a mix of private/public medical care and many doctors work in both types of hospitals. We decided on a private hospital for the bone biopsy because it guaranteed a higher quality of care and no waiting time. We went immediately from the consultation to the private hospital to be admitted for a bone biopsy the following day. I was extremely happy to find that a number of staff at the hospital spoke Acholi which helped Erin and her grandmother feel comfortable and happy.

Erin is the embodiment of strength and resilience. Though scared she was cracking jokes as she went into the surgical suite. Within hours of waking up from the anaesthesia she was smiling, laughing and asking when she could go back to school! Kids in Canada try to get out of school for as long as possible, but Erin with a huge bandage on her head was willing to go the next day and when I refused, she made me teach her English from her school books instead.

Because Erin wanted to go home and go back to school, we only spent a night in recovery and left for home late the next afternoon by bus. The massive bandage on her head led to questions and Erin was only too happy to explain that she had ‘died’, which was her explanation for anaesthesia. Thankfully, I was sitting next to her and was able to give a bit more explanation and have her tell people that she had ‘come back to life’.

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