When we first saw Ngandu he was indeed very sick … as a matter of fact he was dying... (from Renee and Sal Marini, Zambia, Africa)
Ngandu... and another miracle
Sometimes it's nice to just pick one person, one story and share it with you. In this update, I would like to tell you about Ngandu. Ngandu is a man in his late 20's, married with a very sweet 3-year old daughter. They live in Ndola which is in the western province of Zambia, a train ride away. His family is from Kabuyu and when they heard he was very sick in Ndola, his brothers went to get him and transport him here for medical care.
When we first saw Ngandu he was indeed very sick … as a matter of fact he was dying. When he was carried in, we saw a man who was very thin, wasted and very weak. He had a high fever, diarrhea and shortness of breath. After some testing, we discovered he was HIV positive and was dying of AIDS. With the respiratory symptoms, we suspected TB also. So IVs, antibiotics and a heart-to-heart talk not only with his wife and brothers, but also with him was in order. An honest discussion of his condition and probable impending death led Ngandu to pray and ask Jesus into his heart as his Lord and Savior. Hallelujah! The next few days were days of spiraling downhill. Ngandu stopped responding coherently, became incontinent and had to wear diapers and was only able to tolerate liquids. We had never had anyone on a clear liquid diet before, so I introduced the family and the clinic cook to Jell-O.
It was hard for me watching this man worsen and his attentive wife hold back the tears. TB tests came back negative, but his lungs started to fill with fluid. As a matter of fact there were no lung sounds audible on the right side. Medication was added to his regime to try and pull the fluid off the lung.
One of the two oxygenators from the medical container (from Project SAVE) had been retrieved from storage and had been in use since his arrival providing oxygen through a nasal cannula. Frequent positioning and changing bed linens were carried out trying to keep him comfortable.
It reminded me of hospice care. Well, one day I walked in to his room to witness his brother holding a basin while Ngandu was coughing or vomiting (it was hard to tell which) blood, with very large clots coming from both his nose and mouth. I was sure this was going to be the end and I felt what an awful way to watch your loved one die. Feeling very helpless and small, Sal and I both just looked at each other in the hall outside the room. I started to walk away when all of a sudden I turned back and heard myself say, "What about Vitamin K?'
After it was out of my mouth, I realized it had not popped into my mind out of any knowledge or experience I had ever had. I have never given Vitamin K in all my nursing career, nor do I remember ever having a patient that had received it. Sal and I just looked at each other and smiled, knowing in our hearts it had been divinely given. Sal said, "we have that .... Geoffrey just picked that up from Kazungula last week."
Again we just smiled at each other because God always provides what we need right when we need it. So after reading about the administration and dosage of Vitamin K, we gave it. The bleeding stopped but his condition continued to plummet. He was no longer able to swallow pills which meant he wasn't getting his ARTs (HIV medications). Family came in waves all to say their last goodbyes. And so we waited.
Each night we expected a knock at our bedroom window to wake us up and tell us it was over. But instead each morning proved to be a new day dawning. His brothers got him in a wheelchair and took him in the shower. He started eating again ... first liquids and then, when we were sure there was no more vomiting, soft foods were added. He was able to take his oral medicines again. His IV was no longer needed.
His lungs were sounding clearer, and there were breath sounds in all quadrants. He no longer needs oxygen. He has been outside in a wheelchair each day for the past few days. He is continent again and doesn't need diapers. He still needs to gain strength, and can't stand on his own yet, but my friends, he is a walking miracle!! He is a testimony to the power of God. Sal and I will both tell you, he is alive only because of God! Sal keeps saying "God still has something for Ngandu to do."
You may be wondering about Ngandu's wife and daughter. Yes, they too are both HIV positive. His wife is still healthy and does not qualify for the medicines yet, but his daughter is now on pediatric ARVs because her CD4 count was low. I don't know the ending of this story, but a lot of people were witness to the awesome healing power of God. There can be no denying it, Jesus is our only source of hope.