Bed 6 of A ward is now empty.
This Saturday, Aissa’s medical team decided to release her to the hospitality center, a transitional unit in town for post operative patients. So after one full month on the Africa Mercy she slipped into her best dress and plastic bead necklace and we packed her bags.
She was a bit insecure, running to me and hugging my waist, lingering there for a moment, her backpack slung over her shoulders. However, once it came time for us to make our exit, she marched to the door. Everyone in the ward, patients and caregivers alike chorused “bye bye!” as she waved and nurses came out of doorways and stopped in the halls to see her off.
We piled into the Land Rover that would take us to our destination and she watched with wide eyes as the city moved past her window. Upon pulling in the compound, we entered the main building. While waiting to receive their room assignment, I asked Aissa if she wanted to play outside.
“Outside?” she replied, hope lighting her face. For the past month her outside playtime has been restricted to 1-2 hours daily on deck 7 of the ship, so the thought of having unrestricted access to play ‘outside’ was a very exciting prospect indeed. She tentatively went out and returned with a red balloon and a new friend.
We then found her room and carefully pasted all of her arts and crafts pages to the walls around her bed. After a tour of the bathrooms, showers and drinking fountains, we were greeted by another of the patients who had stayed with her on the ship.
Ever attentive, Aissa then asked me where was my room? I explained that I was staying at the ‘other hospital’ and that I would come to visit often. Her bottom lip immediately flew out as she expressed her displeasure. She promptly replied “ mi yidaa”, “I don’t like that.”
I decided the best course of action was to ignore the comment and hope it didn’t come up again. I left her playing and slipped away to return to the ship. The following day I was told that Aissa hadn’t shed a tear at my departure, and that she was relishing her playtime outside, coloring in the shade with another little girl.
Aissa has an appointment with the ENT specialist to examine her ears on Saturday and one final post-operative visit to the ship on Monday. Everyone is so pleased at how her graft healed. The small wound under her eye is being cleaned daily and Lord willing we should be ready to return to Meskine next week.
Everything is going so well, thank you for your prayers. Yesterday was more than just Aissa’s release from the hospital. For the first time in over a year, she didn’t have to wear a bandage on her face.