Her name is Paulina, or Paula for short.She’s adorable. Her eyes are bright and full of hope. She smile is brilliant and would light up the room if I ever actually saw her inside of one. But she can’t run and play like the other kids.
Paula has a heart condition which prohibits her from running and playing with the other kids. Of course at 5 years old she doesn’t understand that hear heart is weak and enlarged but she does know enough that after running a few yards she squats and rests for a few minutes to catch her breath before trying to catch up with the others. When its extremely hot she also sometimes climbs up onto my lap in church and pants for air. She’s a beautiful petite little 5 year old her mother, perhaps like all mothers, has huge hopes and dreams for her little angel. However all those dreams come to a shashing reality when fragile little paula gets a minor cold which sends her body into a frantic state, teetering on the edge of life.
Last week after 2 days of a minor cold, we took little Paula with her parents to Bissau (the capital) to get medical care and to start the process for her to be evacuated with JUNTA, a program to evacuates children to other countries to get surgeries which cannot be performed here in Guinea-Bissau. The 2 ½ hour ride in the sweltering heat only agervated her cardio/respiratory problems more and by the time we arrived at the 2nd hospital (the first told us they don’t do urgent peds visits, only scheduled) she was cyanotic and her pulse ox was under 75%. For those non-medical readers, Paula was in bad shape.
Paula is currently under the care of Guinensee pediatricians at Simao Mendes hospital in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau and is in the process with JUNTA, waiting to be schedule for her much needed cardiac surgery, which will probably take place in Europe. Please keep Paula, her mother, and her physicians in your prayers.