Upon seeing this patient, I quickly realized that her crossed eyes caused vision problems for her. But this was only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. She was led about by the hand as we moved from room to room. While taking her information, I realized that she was also having trouble hearing. I know my Pidgin is not by any means fluid or, at times, easily understood but she even asked her husband and friend to repeat things that they said. I went through the normal screening process for our clinic—height, weight, temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. Then I asked, “Wanem kain sik yu got?” (“What kind of sick do you have?”)
At this, they began to tell me of a strange event. It happened suddenly. And it had happened in January! (She’d been dealing with this for the past 6 months!) She had been fine one moment then suddenly she had a horribly excruciating headache that has not left since. She’d described it as “het pen” (head pain) and “het bilong mi i stop hevi” (“my head feels heavy”). Her husband says that frequently “Em i singaut wantaim pen” (“she cries out with the pain”). When this pain first started, her eyes then became crossed so that she has had double vision since and she became hard of hearing.
Whenever the head is involved with the senses of the head (hearing, vision, taste, or smell), the cause is most likely within the head. In this case, the brain. She has most likely suffered what doctor’s call a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (a sudden rupture of an aneurysm leading to bleeding on the brain). This bleeding created pressure which has seemed to lead to another condition, Hydrocephaly (or “water” on the brain), which increases the pressure further. Now when an arm or a leg is injured, the swelling can push the tissue outward for quite a bit before it causes any real damage. But when that tissue (the brain) is surrounded by solid bone (the skull), there is nowhere for the pressure to push out and it pushes in on the brain instead. This can lead to damage of the brain tissues. In Australia or the U.S. or other first-world countries, a surgeon would carefully place a VP shunt which would allow the fluid to drain off of the brain and down into the abdomen, where it would be absorbed without harm to the body, thus relieving the pressure and allowing those affected areas of the brain to return to as much normal function as possible. But that is not available here. It is a delicate surgery and unable to be performed at our level of care available in this country. There is nothing we can do but pray. Would you pray with me that God would do the healing needed in this woman’s body? He is the One, after all, that does the healing whether we’re involved or not! And with Him NOTHING is impossible!