We have to believe that even the briefest of human connections can heal. Otherwise, life is unbearable.
The patient arrived at the rural clinic near Guazapa, El Salvador, in his mother’s arms with a mouth gag tied in place and his hands wrapped in bandages. As his mother put him gently onto the examination table, his muscles twitched hard, tearing the paper bed cover and forcing the gag out of his mouth. “Be calm,” his mother whispered to him in Spanish. He remained contorted but visibly quieted as our pediatrician, Dr. Mike, held him.
Oh, oh, I thought. We are miles from a hospital and a three-hour plane flight from anything familiar. We have a very sick kid on our hands. How will we handle this?