It has been a month since Dieufrete Celime (aka Celine due to an initial misunderstanding) arrived in Boston. News coming from the hospital has been slow due to HIPPA considerations, however here is a brief update.
After initial evaluation and cleaning of his wounds, he rather quickly underwent skin grafting. I am sure that the nutritional support from Jim and the protein supplements from Dr.Moyad helped immensely. The additional pain from the graft donor sites on his legs and stomach were not welcome to Dieufrete and this contributed to the anxiety that he has experienced. He has proven that he is a fighter and gets quite feisty with the doctors and nurses. He has had multiple procedures on his eyes, the skin contractures on his neck, hand and his lips. All this is very traumatic and not comprehensible to him. Most of the skin grafts have healed well however.
Fortunately, his mother Lydia has been at his side and he demonstrates anxiety when she isn’t. She has had difficulty adjusting to life in a Boston hospital and simple things like a trip to the cafeteria are major events. She initially avoided those magical things called elevators, but now is becoming comfortable with them. Motion controlled water taps …... imagine the stories she will be able to tell back in St.Raphael!
The loving attention of Judithe Benjamin, fellow Haitian and sister to Maseline, the nurse anesthetist who helped with his dressing changes while he was still in Pignon has been a wonderful comfort to Lydia and Dieufrete as she understands what they are going through and can communicate with them in Creole. Lisa OConnor , mother of Haiti Outreach intern, Corey as well as Corey’s girlfriend, Jacki, make up a caring and unselfish support group. Corey, who has now returned to Boston from Haiti, is also very much involved.
Dieufrete has particular affinity for a keyboard that he has fun with and Lisa recently walked into his room to find him playing Old MacDonald Had a Farm, while Lydia danced. He is now going through rehabilitation as he was weakened from the prolonged bed rest. He has plenty of toys and stimulation to keep occupied.
Jim continues to be very involved from Pignon and arranges regular telephone conversations with Dieufrete, mother and family back in Haiti. Initially Lydia was so homesick and worried about the children in Haiti she wanted to return and have Jim come and stay with Celime. Fortunately, this has subsided with the calls. Dieufrete worries a lot about his 2 year old brother.
On January 19, during the most recent team meeting at the hospital it was determined that he needed several more eyelid procedures and that it was time to initiate rehabilitation. It is currently estimated that he will be able to return to Haiti toward the end of March, or early April. He will require daily eye drops and will need to wear specialized pressure garments because of his contractures from the scarring. He will also require a face mask. We will need to make arrangements for him to return in 6 months for further assessment and treatment.
The hospital staff has been amazing and professional. They truly are special and understanding of the special needs associated with the care of this young Haitian boy, his mother and his family back in Haiti.