Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 5: Heartbreak in El Morlon

“My heart’s just breaking.” the doctor said to me, tears accompanying her obvious anguish.

A little 9 year old boy had been brought to the clinic today here in El Morlon by his aunts. They were deeply concerned. He had not been eating enough and was vomiting, something was clearly wrong.

Paola and Daniele
As Dr. Sasha High and her interpreter Paola spoke to the boy he began to tell a story that was no doubt the source of his sickness. A year ago his parents left him to go to the US and they have not been heard from since. His parents left him behind.

What do you do with this emotion? How do you treat it? Can you prescribe a pill, some sort of medicine that will make it go away? I think you know the answer.

Dr. Sasha and Paola could only listen like they have never listened before. The cried with Daniele and held him hard in their arms. In this midst of all this there was a sickening realization that that he had not only been abandoned by his parents, but there was a distinct possibility he may never see them again.

Dr. Sasha with Daniele
In the exchange of tears, Daniele told his care givers that he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. With a sense of urgency and love they told him that he was very special and that they loved him very much.

With each word came more heartbreak.

Outside there are hundreds of families that I can hear talking and laughing. If I look out the window I see beautiful, idyllic country, a lake in the distance, mountains and blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds. If I pretended for a moment, maybe close my eyes ... I could be in a cozy villa or seaside resort. I’m not at one of those places. I’m in the middle of heartbreak.

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