We "woke up" from our sleepless night at 6am and had to wake D up, get her ready, and be at the orphanage at 7am for our doctor's appointment.
The doctor did not show up. According to the nurse he had a late night and decided to come at 10am instead of 7am.
SO. Not. Cool.
We had to choose between waiting for 3 hours (which was not going to happen) or walk a couple of miles back to Kelley's house. (Couldn't get a taxi to stop in rush hour traffic.)
We walked in the dust along the side of the road. Through goat herds, over piles of crap, with exhaust in our faces, clutching our sick baby to J's chest. I kept stumbling on huge rocks. J was being stared at like he was an alien landed from the very outer edges of the universe. D was all wide frightened eyes and raspy wheezing. Awful.
Kelley took one look at us and packed us off to her doctor at the Swedish Clinic. What can I say about the Swedish Clinic? It is professional. The doctor is kind. The lab is on site. The medicine is imported from Sweden and is guaranteed not to be expired.
We spent 3+ hours at the clinic. They gave D a full body physical and noted that she was very sick with bronchitis and a bacterial infection that entered through her v*g*na and spread up throughout her body. It was emerging as an eye infection, a bacterial respiratory infection, and a v*g*nal infection. The cause? Sitting in dirty diapers. Not being cleaned properly. Which is just infuriating since the orphanage has four nannies assigned to just 3 infants in the baby room. There is no reason they couldn't use the pounds of wipes sitting in the nursery to clean those babies. (But they don't.)
D also had fungal infections behind her ear and in her v*g*na. What we saw was not pretty. There was a lot of swelling, discoloration, pus, and general ooze. Our poor baby. She was so lethargic. But she was a great trooper throughout the whole inspection and the blood draw.
We left the Swedish clinic armed with 4 prescriptions, a receipt for our $325 bill, and feeling huge relief knowing that we had received the best care possible in Addis Ababa.
I don't understand why AAI can't bring the children in their care to the Swedish clinic. This is beyond my understanding. Why are the children at A***E being given such poor local care when we are, in theory at least, paying for their care while we wait to pick them up?
After arriving home I learned that other volunteers had stories of finding D sitting alone in her own feces covered in mucus and vomit. Another volunteer found her with the skin peeling completely off of her little bottom from such terrible diaper rash. How is this an acceptable level of care? I simply don't understand it. It isn't like the nannies were overwhelmed with children in the nursery.
The night that we brought D into Kelley's home, her cook burst into tears. Later she told me that as an Ethiopian she felt ashamed that any Ethiopian woman could take such poor care of our baby. She knew just by looking at D that she had not been cared for. She was actually afraid she was going to die! (A bit melodramatic in my opinion - but she said she was scared for her.)
Several times throughout our weeks at Kelley's house her cook, nanny and rotating security guards thanked us for coming for D and apologized that it was Ethiopians who had allowed her to be so sick. At first I tried to tell them that I thought the nannies might have been doing their best but they ALL told me that no woman would allow her child to become so sick with things that were preventable (like a diaper infection) and that it is common knowledge that orphanage workers work for money, not for the love of the children. :(
This isn't the end of the story. We are ok now obviously. And even in our time in Addis D improved tremendously. She enjoyed HUGE daily doses of affection from Kelley's family, from Yeshi the cook, Dinkanesh the nanny, and Solomon and Dessie the guards. She was emotionally and physically lavished with attention and care and it didn't take long for her to become herself. But I will never forget the condition her body was in when the doctor examined her at the Swedish clinic. And I will never forget the horror on Kelley's staff's faces when they saw her (CLOTHED) that first night.
My poor baby. I wanted to believe they loved her. But love is expressed in actions and I can't find anything in their actions that could make her conditions acceptable.