Gracie is a sweet little six year old who I met in a part of town called Birunda when I went to visit Victor and Manu’s parents who both live in the area. Her mother, Anna, had told me about her daughter a few times and one day she brought her to meet us.
I told Anna to meet us at the Kijabe clinic that was coming to town in a few weeks so that the spine specialist could take a look and tell us what the next steps would be. I loaded up a few of the kids at the house that needed to be seen by the doctors and met five other kids at the clinic. After a long day at the clinic, we finally headed home. I was surprised to find that Gracie and her mom were waiting for me at the kids’ house. They were waiting to go to the clinic, so we jumped back in the car and she was seen by the doctors.
The doctor confirmed that she has Congenital Scoliosis and that right now there is nothing that they can do to correct it. They told us to take her to a pediatrician to get a check up because commonly children with spinal deformities have problems with their internal organs. He also told us that we should look out for signs of nerve damage (like loss of bladder control, numbness in her lower extremities, breathing difficulties or a drastic change of gait) and to bring her back for an operation immediately if we noticed a change. If none of these problems occur he said that she could come yearly to the clinic to check her progress and that when she is older and is done growing that they will do an operation to straighten out her spine.When the woman was taking Gracie’s information she asked which part of town she lived in. Gracie immediately looked at me and asked “Where do you stay?” I told her that I stayed in Milimani and she looked right back to the doctor and said that was where she stayed too. When we got back to the kids house she told me that she didn’t want to leave and had also told her mother something similar several times during the day when they were waiting for us to come back.
I walked into the back of the house and Senge, one of the house moms walked up to me and said, ”I am so happy that you brought me another kid. She will sleep in my bed tonight all I need is a blanket for her.” Gracie, the other kids, and the staff had already made her a part of the family just like that. She showed up dirty and without shoes, and said good-bye to her mom with out a problem, which proved that whatever the situation is at home, it isn’t ideal. So just like that she became the 45th resident of Precious Kids Center.
The next day we took her to the doctor for a check up just to make sure that she didn’t have any additional health issues. After a long day of ultrasounds, X-rays and a couple more scans Gracie was still grinning from ear to ear. The doctor’s said that she has no additional health issues apart from the Scoliosis and gave us a few more things to look out for.
Gracie is a joy to have around and is constantly smiling and giggling. She has said a few things about the way things were for her at home and it seems like, although her disability is not as severe as some of the other kids at the house that she was still mistreated and often left at home alone.It’s been great to see her fitting right in with the other kids as well as witnessing her joy as she experiences many things for the first time. I will leave you with a few pictures of Gracie enjoying her first few days at PKC.