I’m doing research tonight.
One of my patients Ousmane, a tired teenage boy who is hospitalized for the second time since the beginning of the year has had to undergo approximately 7 blood transfusions. Apparently his bone marrow is tired too, and has stopped making red and white blood cells and platelets. The result is profound anemia, fevers due to the attack on his immune system, and regular nosebleeds due to his inability to clot.
He’s dangling on the edge, and so I’m reading about his condition.
He and his father have put their faith in us, and we are truly the end of the road. No hematology consult here, specialists are simply not available in our part of Cameroon, and travelling down south and paying to see a hematologist is out of their reach. We have conducted a bone marrow biopsy, but it will take 2 months to receive the results and having a diagnosis doesn’t guarantee that we will be able to treat him.
The prognosis isn’t good. Yet they look at me with hope in their eyes each morning as I enter the room.
As I read an article on his illness, the gardener outside my window sings a song while watering the plants and I am struck by the needs of the people who place their trust in us. We are the end of the road, if we can’t heal them, there is no other option. They rely on us.
The hopelessness is overwhelming, our impotence frustrating. I know that God is in control, but truth is not always felt and I am struggling this evening. I want this boy to be well, and I cannot make it so.