“I don’t want to quit my school,” says Hellen. “My mother’s prayers are strong and that’s why I believe you are here to help me recover and I get back on my feet”
As a First Sergeant in the Army part my duties was to lookout for the welfare of my soldiers. Now in retirement that calling has lead me to do the same for Hellen Muthoni Wacheke, 14. She is perishing away in her mother’s home on a hillside in Kijabe Kenya , about about 60 km north of Nairobi where I met her just 7 days ago. Hellen has quickly become my hero and symbolism for courage as she battles for her life and to keep her body from deteriorating.
Praying with Hellen and encouraging her to stay strong
Hellen’s “fight for life” began in early August 2014 after receiving a head injury while she was out collecting fire wood for her family in the Kijabe forest near her home.
While in the wooded area Hellen incurred a concussion that rendered her unconscious and was lost for over seven hours as she layed on the forest floor and finally found by a village community search team consisting of over 300 people. She remained in a state of unconsciousness for three weeks after being admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi Kenya.
Six weeks later Hellen was discharged from lack of financial support needed. During Hellen’s stay in the hospital she further incurred multiple bed/pressure sores from lack of physicians care, no daily body rotations to keep circulation going, pour dietary plan and very little to no wound treatment. Sadly enough this is typical for an over populated and understaffed public hospital in developing nations like Kenyatta National Hospital. https://med.stanford.edu/careercenter/highlights/files/Weisburst.pdf
Critical Medical Care Needed
Due to her immobility and bedridden state Hellen’s wounds have worsened. Hellen will need skin grafting to cover the large gapping wounds and for her muscles to be re-educated to movement.
Her mother battles the mosquitoes, flys and other insects daily to keep infected areas from getting worst. Now she has a constant fever and breaks out in cold sweats. Hellen’s lack of nutrition is critical as her family is unable to sustain a proper nutrition diet that is needed for this type of recovery. She typically eats one meal a day of greens and ugali (cornmeal). Her mother has 10 other children and adults to attend to, including her sho sho (grandmother). Physical Therapy is needed because she has muscular atrophy and contractures from lack of movement and she is unable to turn freely. Moving the leg produces pain that is unbearable.
Hellen responds well to verbal command, touch and can slightly interact, even giving an occasional smile.
She appears to be emaciated and has deep septic wounds on the pressure areas (i.e. on the femur areas bilaterally, lumbosacral, gluteal areas bilaterally, both heels, ankles and on the knees interior and external aspect.) She has contractures on basically all joints. An impression of septic pressure sores, sepsis malnutrition, contractures and paralysis secondary to head injury was made. Hellen has clubbing and swelling on the right upper limb allegedly secondary to intravenous fluid tissue damage incurred while being treated at the public hospital.
Help Me Make a Difference
The way forward in getting Hellen back on her feet will involves both Private Hospital care and Private In-home care.
Hellen will have to be relocated for her in-home care because the area she lives is down in the valley where there is no roads, Very steep inclines that is very hard to navigate up
steep incline and her housing has no running water or electricity. There is no electricity in the house nor running water
Keeping her clean and properly cared for has added to the challenges of her family. Costs at a minimum will include Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing care, daily bed charges, antibiotics, urgent wound treatment, surgical and plastics consult and treatment, CT scan for head injury, nutrition support, physical therapy, lab charges and doctors care.
Her family is strong but needs critical help. Her mother takes care of 10 other family members to include her ailing Grandmother.
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