Monday, October 29, 2007

My Child

I want to share with you about my student who I have been working with at a local elementary school. She is a beautiful, sweet girl and I am extremely burdened for her and her family.

N. is 8 years old and in 3rd grade. She has pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is something I had never heard of until meeting her. She has a catheter that enters directly into her heart and wears a backpack that carries the liquid medication. If the catheter becomes dislodged, she has approximately 3 minutes to have it replaced before she faces death. One of my tasks at the school is to ensure this does not happen, and it is very daunting!

With her disability, she faces fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and a host of other side effects. Today I came in and her face and neck were covered in what looked to be red hives. It was caused by her medication. She looks like a normal 8 year old, and generally acts like one, too.

I did some research on this particular condition (you know me, I always love a challenge!) and found that it mainly affects adults over the age of 25. It is rare in children, and the prognosis is not very encouraging. One study I found said the median survival rate in children is 10 months- very short! I don't know much about N. so I can't give the details as to how or when she was diagnosed, but I can tell you she is one of the sweetest children I have ever met!

She has befriended another girl in the class who just moved here from a Spanish-speaking country. N. is the only one who can talk to her, and it is amazing to see God work in N.'s life through this unlikely friendship. I am burdened for N. and her family only because I am a mother myself. I don't really know all of the challenges N.'s family will be facing, only what I have read from the research. Regardless, please pray for N. and for me to be an encouragement to her.

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