At the beginning of this year, several of the American missionaries working with Manos de Jesus [a ministry reaching out to orphans and widows and the poor in the area surrounding Chichicastnango, Guatemala] heard of Cristina's story and paid a visit to pray for her and her family and to offer help with expenses and provisions. Their story was shared with several connections in the States and soon clothes and other provisions came in to help the family.
Last month, when we [the missionaries] paid one of several follow up visits, Cristina was doing exceptionally well - especially considering her previous lack of ability to move her entire left side, eat on her own, or communicate very well. She was able to walk with help, eat on her own, do small bits of work that didn't require exertion, and hold her children. Fernando was working part-time again while his sister helped take care of their three young children.
The following week on a Monday evening, Cristina starting complaining of nerve and muscle pain. The second stroke took a big toll on her already weak body, and by Wednesday, she was no longer able to talk and barely opened her eyes. She steadily worsened for the next week. Fernando even called us to see if we could possibly help with funeral expenses if/when she passed away.
Today, almost two weeks later, we made another visit (the second one since Cristina's most recent stroke), hoping to give her a full-body bath and see what else could be done to help. She was lying in a small back room that smelled of urine and sickness, on hard boards, with only a small sheet of carpet liner as cushioning. Her clothes and blankets were wet with urine and her body tense. She was, however, more responsive this time than last week - her eyes were focused and she even said "hello" - but she was still unable to process everything we said. When asked how she was doing otherwise, her family said they are still expecting that Cristina will die any day now and they are no longer allowing her children in the room. They said that her back has a large 'cut' in it.
When Trish, a trained nursed, helped roll her from her back to her side to examine the spot, we found that the 'cut' is a stage-4 bed sore on her lower back caused by not being moved for two weeks. It's approximately 6 in. by 4 in. in size and infected with blood and puss and dead skin. There is also a smaller sore on her upper back and another one on her foot. She needs to have an operation to get the large wound cleaned out and bandaged and the smaller ones dressed, followed by a stay in the hospital for several days, at the least. Fernando, however, has no money or funds due to hardly working since she's been sick. He wants to take care of his wife but is practically unable to.
The operation will cost a minimum of $200 and the stay at the hospital costs a little over $65 per day. Bandages, dressing, medication, the mattress for her bed, sheets, etc. also all need to be covered by addtional funds - Fernando can afford none of this. Beyond that, they need support for continued care at home.
Will you please help? Cristina, a wife and mother of three small children, will die from the infection before the actual stroke if she is not given proper care. Every little bit helps! Please share her story and spread the word!
Picture #1 the sore on her foot (the site would not allow me to add pictures of the other two sores)
Picture #2 reading and praying with her
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