My night last night was extremely restless. Not that I sleep well anyway, but I found it even more difficult to sleep in anticipation of our mission today, specifically our patient.
My mind wrestled trying to understand how and why people can do things like this others, particularly to those who are so innocent and helpless…………………
1 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4
PRAISE BE TO THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE FATHER OF COMPASSION AND THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT, WHO COMFORTS US IN ALL OUR TROUBLES, SO THAT WE CAN COMFORT THOSE IN ANY TROUBLE WITH THE COMFORT WE OURSELVES RECEIVE FROM GOD
Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders appearing in early childhood in which signs and symptoms vary. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, weak or stiff muscles along with tremors. They may also have problems with speech, swallowing, vision or hearing. Their ability to roll over, crawl, sit or walk does not occur for them as early as other children their age. Other symptoms include seizures and cognitive disabilities.
19 year old Airionna was born with CP. She has many of the problems listed above and although she is 19 her mental age is around that of a 2 or 3 year old. She can follow simple command however this makes her totally dependent on others for all of her needs. She lives in a group home and has for many years in her home state of Iowa.
We were contacted by the hospital in Florida to see if we could provide transportation for her back to Iowa. She ended up here after being kidnapped and physically abused by her “trusted” caregiver and her husband. She was found with multiple chemical burns all over her body which will most likely require skin grafts.
As we enter her hospital room we find this sweet little girl lying there with multiple dressings covering her burns. On the TV, cartoons play too loudly, drowning out her intermittent audible moans of pain and discomfort. Her frame is tiny, she appears malnourished and much younger than her 19 years. She has these beautiful innocent brown eyes, her hair is soft, dark, wavy and baby fine and skin pale.
She doesn’t speak but only cries out, however there are no tears to accompany her crying. We explain who we are and why we have come. We assure her we will not hurt her and then very gently move her onto our cot.
Some of the hospital staff have given her a huge teddy bear that will travel with us. Several of them tell her goodbye as we head down the hallway.
Hal prays over her and we place her on board Nellie. I am sure she has never flown and this will be a first for her. We have placed her giant teddy bear at the foot of her bed with his head peeking over so she can see him easily.
We did our best to entertain her during her flight. Chad played peek-a-boo with her using her teddy bear.
We had to medicate her for the obvious pain she was in, resulting from her burns. Although her eyelids were heavy she fought closing them. When I asked her to show me her pretty smile she stopped crying momentarily and did so.
Her lips were very dry and cracked so I opened a new tube of cherry flavored chapstick and showed it to her. She puckered her little lips up allowing me to apply it. She seemed to really like the chapstick.
At last we arrived in Iowa at the burn center. We were greeted by the staff who had been anticipating her arrival. They were very kind and gentle and we were thankful that she will be on a pediatric unit. We prayed asking God for a hedge of protection around Airionna and for physical healing of her wounds as we told her goodbye.
We flew home in the stillness of the night enjoying the peace and tranquility of God’s handiwork of creation.
SHOUT FOR JOY, YOU HEAVENS; REJOICE, YOU EARTH; BURST INTO SONG, YOU MOUNTAINS! FOR THE LORD COMFORTS HIS PEOPLE AND WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON HIS AFFLICTED ONES.
Please keep our precious Airionna in your prayers, to our knowledge she has no family who sees her on a regular basis.
Thank you to Hal and Chad for sharing this mission with me.