Update on 14 Nov – Lots of good news, a little bad news.
The good news is that not only has Srey Ka’s recovery continued at a remarkable speed, with her gaining weight rapidly to a near record high of 7.4 kilos (around 16.3 pounds), but that this has impressed her doctors enough that yesterday she was able to return to Wat Opot! YEA! After 3 weeks away stuck in a fairly isolated ward in Phnom Penh, she quickly adjusted to Wat Opot’s chaos and noise and was soon giggling with pleasure at the antics of kids and animals alike.
We’re obviously even happier to have her back. Unfortunately, time for the less good news: her blood results have come back and confirmed what we already suspected. Probably because of her frequent difficulties with keeping her medicine down, she has developed resistance to her HIV medicines. Not so long ago, this would have been the end of the road, but fortunately more and more drugs are available in Cambodia and we are now in the process of testing her blood and finding a new set of medicines to make her healthy into the future. In the meantime her immune system is very weak and she is vulnerable to almost any bug in the air, so we will be watching her very carefully, feeding her like a Sumo wrestler, and weighing her regularly to ensure her recovery continues.
Her TB medicines will continue and we are hopeful that with some good luck, she may in a month or two finally have the strength and immune system she needs to grow further. There are still many many challenges ahead – like that underlying heart problem – but for the moment we are focusing on how good it is to have her back and how lucky we are that modern medicine provides us with hope and a way forward.
UPDATE 07 Nov – We have better news to report. S.K. is now back up to 7 kilos (15.5ish pounds), from her low of just under 6. Her anaemia appears to have been resolved with a single blood transfusion and she’s no longer throwing up her meals or meds, which is obviously crucial to her future health and nourishment. They removed her IV two days ago (a relief for S.K. in particular) and now want to monitor her for a few days – while fattening her up! She was taking a nutritional supplement in a bottle, but now they are giving her some solid supplements and seeing how she keeps them down. The most important next milestone is her blood test results, and what that tells us about the condition of her immune system – but the doctors think right now that she can come home on the 10th and be looked after well here. This is obviously wonderful news, although we know by now that S.K’s path to recovery is likely to be slow and always involve some bumps along the way. We all miss her so much and are so thankful for our staff who have put their own families aside to take turns caring for her in 3 day increments in the hospital. We are also so thankful for our volunteers from Wat Opot and in Phnom Penh who have spent invaluable time with her, keeping her stimulated with stuffed animals, snacks, and videos of the moomins!
UPDATE 31 OCT – S.K. has a range of conditions to deal with, the most pressing being severe. anemia. Yesterday she was given blood to try to address this very serious issue, and seems to be responding well. This will help the doctors and ourselves tackle her other problems, including bronchial pneumonia and the HIV we believe underlies all this. We are awaiting her viral load and CD4 count results to determine whether her current antiretroviral therapy is effective. Her TB is still an issue, but that will just take time, as it is a 6 month treatment and she’s just started month three.
Just a quick post on S.K. As we posted a few months ago, Miss S. K. was well on her way to a healthy toddlerhood. But as her life has had so many ups an downs, we are on a major downslide once again. On Oct. 16th I posted a video of her walking with assistance. She had been doing so for awhile, and finally got it on film. And a week later, she was lethargic, throwing up all her meals and med’s and back down to 6 kilo’s. This has been one frustrating roller coaster ride after another. Same stuff, different month. The ups and down are exhausting and once we feel as if we have gotten a grasp of meeting her medical needs, she plummets into another realm which we were not expecting.
In a nutshell, she is back in National Pediatric Hospital. Back fighting for the right to live. Because her immune system is so poor, any little bug that goes around at Wat Opot rushes at her like an army fighting to take over a land that they think they deserve, in this case bronchitis.
The infections snuck up fast, she went from a happy giggle toddler making new friends, to a malnourished whisp of a child.
Within days! –
As of 29 Oct. she is still in Nat. Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh. And if all her complications were’t bad enough, the doctors found a hole in her heart…which in her case is just another challenge to add to her growing list of problems. The hole is not life threatening, therefore, we will wait until she is older to see if it heals itself…
Please keep her in your thoughts as she battles yet another obstacle in her young life, the magnitude of which the vast majority of us cannot fathom.