“Reposting with permission from http://cgabhart.blogspot.com/2015/08/following-elinise.html.”
Since March 2015, MH4H has had the opportunity to build a relationship with a little girl named Elinise that lives down the dirt road from the dorm where we live. Elinise is 3 years old and has had physical and mental disabilities since she was sick at age 2 months. She was pictured in a previous blog after we first met her in March. Because of generous support of devoted donors, MH4H has been able to offer opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible.
The current situation is that Elinise has had tests done by a specialist in Port au Prince and has been diagnosed with a form of epilepsy. Medication has been prescribed, she will go to Port for monthly check ups for the next several months, she will receive baby formula and a weekly food allowance. She will continue to have physical therapy sessions provided by a local Haitian physical therapist.
Please read on and discover the story of Elinise as MH4H has experienced.
One of the March team members named Katelyn and others have been praying for Elinise since the day we met her.
We began to learn more about the reason for her condition when two MH4H teams overlapped on a rainy night. Elinise and her mother visited the dorm late in the afternoon in June. Nicole, who has experience in childhood disabilities, was a member of a team that was leaving the very next morning. She could determine by sight from her professional experience and training that Elinise was suffering from severe brain damage. A member of the overlapping team that had just arrived that day, Shelly, is in the profession of physical therapy. After dark the late day rain had stopped. Many of the team members wanted to share in the visit with Elinise to show support and offer prayer for the family so we walked the 1/2 mile to her house trying to stay out of the mud. After weaving and hopping and dodging mud puddles we just surrendered and waded through to finally arrive at our destination. Shelly quietly began to assess the condition of this sweet girl by flashlight. After the short visit and prayer, the group ‘swam’ back to the dorm.
With the next day came another walk to the house for Shelly (Pictured on the left) to do some preliminary physical therapy to determine more clearly what Elinise’s condition seemed to be.
Over the weeks as teams have packed some cans of baby formula to bring as a gift, we have been able to offer this source of high nutrition. It seems otherwise she is able to eat plain rice with baking soda mixed in. We wonder if the baking soda starts the process of breaking down the starch of the rice. ??
Pictured with Elinise is Kenzie who spent the month of June with us. She also visited Elinise many times. Some specially designated donations have been given to cover medical costs as well as to help provide nutritional foods for Elinise so her body can start to grow and become strong.
Unable to sit without help, Elinise is snuggled in this chair with layers of clothes and blankets,
The family was chosen to receive a concrete floor which the next team helped pour, A concrete floor project is a win all around…there are local men that get to work, dollars are put into the economy because all the materials are purchased locally, the family gains a health benefit by not sleeping on a dirt floor, and a short-term mission team has the opportunity to interact and work alongside the workers and the family.
This is Elinise’s father. He himself has some construction skills. MH4H had purchased a few more bags of cement to be used by the father to ‘krepi’ the walls, giving it a smooth strong finish that will last for years to come.
We were made aware of the availability of a trained physical therapist who agreed to come and help determine what could be offered to help Elinise. It seems as though her brain doesn’t send the proper signals to move her limbs. This has created the condition of tightness in her muscles and very short tendons. Edner, the local PT, has made the commitment to visit Elinise at her house two time each day for PT sessions with the goal of a gradual stretch for her muscles and tendons.
Here a lip balm container was just the thing to work on loosening the grip and exercising the hands
Edner is using various methods to achieve results for Elinise. Here he is using casts to keep the legs straight for a longer period of time for the gradual stretching benefit.
Edner uses a PT table that was custom built by two MH team members
More attempts at varying the PT approach. Notice the lip balm container in the left hand again. 🙂
Another casting method
Edner helped coordinate an appointment for Elinise to see an orthopedist that makes occasional visits to work in the Pignon Hospital. The orthopedist referred Elinise to be seen by a specialist in Port au Prince. On July 17, Elinise had her first appointment in Port. Edner accompanied Elinise and her mother. Of all the challenges…the mother suffered from motion sickness the entire trip. In all so far they have made 4 trips to Port au Prince with the next one scheduled for August 27. Edner has faithfully been going to the home of Elinise 2 times a day, 5 days a week and will continue and begin to teach Mom and Grandma when they are ready.
Edner ordered the appropriate sized chair to benefit Elinise so she can sit in a better position. The local chair maker included a special safety feature to keep Elinise from falling out of the chair. The charge for crafting this custom chair….150 gourdes….equivalent to $2.71 US at the current exchange rate of 55.25 Haitian gourdes to one US dollar. We paid him for his work and included a tip for taking care to make the chair safe for Elinise.
Hopefully the physical limitations that appear to be caused by brain damage that occurred at age 2 months can be assessed by the scan being done next week. At that time we hope there can be educated decisions made as to how to handle treatment for the long-term.
Nicole, who originally helped assess Elinise’s condition, has a “stroller size” form for us to complete and try to determine a correct model of stroller to bring to Elinise for ease of caring for her and improve her condition by proper positioning.
Our desire is that the family sees improvement in Elinise’s physical condition with Edner’s commitment to the PT. At a point, the idea is that mother and a grandmother who lives nearby, will feel the value in continuing with PT which Edner can teach and train. We feel the family members first need to realize for themselves that it is worth the effort. We do not foresee Elinise being able to walk or live independently due to the assumed brain damage but God is a God of miracles.
Your prayers for Elinise will be heard.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling – if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.