We had six months back in Peru, this time with a baby. Before we left we wondered.. What will life be like with a baby in Peru? Family time might be nice... with our own house and our evenings together. I arrived in Santa Clotilde with few expectations. I decided not to not take call, and worked from 8-2. I went home to nurse charlie at 11 every day, and then took care of him and prepared dinner in the afternoons. At first, life felt like it had a good balance. The first time charlie met Zulma his nanny, at 6 months old, he gave her the biggest hug I've ever seen. She cared for charlie and played with him while we worked. We came home in the afternoons and to a perfectly clean, organized house, Charlie bathed and fed and rested and playing with her on the floor with a few toys, laughing and enjoying life. He was happy, stimulated, and ready to cuddle and nurse. I remember the first time he tried chapito- boiled and blended ripe plantain with a little milk... he was about 8 months. I gave him a little cup of it, and he chugged it down, and boy did he yell when I tried to take the cup away from him. He LOVED it! The only food that competes with chapito was Lily's aguaje curichis. This is a frozen popsicle of a local fruit aguaje, with milk and vanilla and sugar. He sucked the sweet treat down out of the bit off corner of the plastic bag and practically inhaled the whole thing, despite brain freeze and frostbit hands. Most of my memories revolve around Charlie learning to crawl and chew and cruise, and be amazed by the birds and jump up and down at the sight of the dog or latin music.
Work is a bit of a blur. I have do have some saved blogs to post that I never got around to doing because we had very shotty internet. I do love work and the satisfaction that comes with seeing kids and adults alike return to health. And I love the intellectual stimulation that comes with complex presentations and being present for baby births. I love teaching on rounds, and learning from both patients and colleagues. I love to hear about natural remedies and local beliefs around the causes of different illnesses.
In the hospital now are 3 babies with pneumonia, a little boy who burnt his hand in hot oil, another who burnt 15% of his body with boiling water, a girl with a snake bite, another with cerebral malaria, a mom and baby we delivered by cesarean section (her third c-section). We have a woman with cognitive delays and severe anemia, one with pyelonephritis, and two patients with paralysis who have been living here because they have no place to go. My wish for this week to have a visit by a physical therapist who speaks spanish for a month or a few months. The need here is great!
Charlie is walking (with lots of support), crawling like a worm around the floor, jumping and patting his chest to the rhythm of music in his jolly jumper... or on our laps. He love to listen to music and has overcome his fear of the very loud blender. The wandering chickens, dogs, birds, occasional monkey, and tall trees blowing in the wind never cease to amaze him. He LOVES bath-time, like everyone here who's hot and sweaty. I fed him chicken liver for the first time, smashed up with boiled potato. There is not easy access to iron fortified foods here, so liver is one of the only options... He ate it. I tasted it... I taste all the food I feed him... and did not like it. He loves mashed spaghetti, lentil soup, cream of broccoli soup, sweet potatoes, boiled plantains blended with milk, oatmeal drink, and carrots. This his is usual diet. He's growing like a weed. He smiles when he wakes, smacks his lips when he wants to eat, and laughs our loud at animal sounds. He has four teeth and has left bruises on my legs with them. Luckily I still have all my body parts... his teeth are as sharp as razors.
Pray for Margarita (a sick patient who passed this week) and here family.
Wish: allergy and lubricant eye drops, a physical therapist who speaks spanish