I held Andreea a lot today. I hadn’t made it through her journal completely last night, so I wasn’t really that up-to-date on her conditions and her abilities, so I decided to mostly take it easy today. I did massage her legs, arms and feet, and I tried some stretches and exercises with her, but she wasn’t happy with that, and while I know it’s good for her, I was afraid that her crying meant that it hurts, not just that it’s uncomfortable or something she doesn’t want to do.
In between holding and working with Andreea, I did get to visit and play with a lot of the other kids, mostly the younger ones. The rooms at the clinic are so tiny (especially the non-mobile playroom) and we had a ton of people/babies crammed in, though there were some who went outside this morning.
Around 10:30, the kids had their morning snack of yogurt! An aide, Nicoletta, seems to be very fond of Andreea and came to get her at snacktime, so I rocked Petre, who was falling asleep at that point, and after snack, Lila couldn’t get Little Andreea to sleep, so I stood and rocked with her a bit…and wouldn’t you know it, she went to sleep for me! :-) At 12:00pm, the aides came to change the kids’ diapers, and then we fed them their soup bottles and put them in their cribs for naptime.
Lunch today was a pizza with mushrooms, black olives, and red peppers. I did my “daily food adventure” thing and tried a bite, but quickly decided that wasn’t going to happen again. So I scraped off as much of the “extras” as I could (which was hard, as there were mushroom bits hidden under the cheese) and ended up eating only two pieces.
After lunch and a bit of free time, we met with Mihaela and went over to the hospital for our tour. (I lugged my 40 pound suitcase full of donations over at this time, and let me tell you, it was difficult.) Unfortunately, Dr. Delia was unable to give us the tour today, so Mihaela walked us through the hospital and told us a brief history of it.
Then we went back to the clinic for the 3:00 feeding, and after that, we took the kids outside until around 4:00. There were two blankets spread out in the shade on the playground, and the kids love it out there. Big Andreea didn’t particularly care for lying on the blanket today, so I had to hold her quite a bit.
At 4:00, Susan and Colleen decided to stay at the clinic until 5:30, when the next shift started. While they stayed, the rest of us returned to the hotel to figure out who would take which shifts from now on. I decided to stay through the afternoon to 6:30 starting on Wednesday, so I went over at 5:30 today.
When the 5:30 team arrived at the clinic, we scooped up the kids and took them back outside, where they had their bottles and got to play quite a bit. I brought a Boppy pillow out for Big Andreea and lay her on/in it, on her back so that I could massage and stretch her legs a bit more this evening. I had also brought my little handheld fan, and I remembered from reading her journal that she likes when someone blows gently on her forehead. Since I had a mask on, I couldn’t do that, so I turned my fan on and she LOVED it. If she would start fussing, I’d blow the fan on her a little, and she’d stop immediately. Of course, I couldn’t do that the whole time, and I couldn’t HOLD her the whole time, so eventually I turned her over onto her belly/chest on the Boppy pillow, and while she fussed a little at first, she was happy with it after a minute.
Lea-Celine and Ionela also loved my fan and kept trying to grab at it. I would let it blow on them, but I had to take their hands away and say “Nu, nu” (“No, no”) several times.
We had some nice background music while we were outside; apparently Maiastra loves cars and music, so Mihaela drove her car over and let Maiastra sit in it with the radio on. She had a blast! I haven’t gotten to interact that much with Maiastra yet, but she has such personality in her face and her mannerisms, I can tell that already.
Alexandra came over to our blanket at one point and just sat down at the edge, then lay down and stared across the playground. At home, when I worked at the YMCA or while watching Savannah, seeing a kid sit silently and still would have been a blessing. Here, it’s just sad because you know they’ve had to learn how to content themselves. Alex did let me hold her hand and stroke her hair for a little while. She’s a big book-lover, so I hope she enjoys the new books I brought.
Dinner tonight: some kind of chicken, and a side of rice. The chicken was all right, but I didn’t eat a lot of it. The rice was soooo creamy and yummy, though! Dessert was crepes, and when the waiter brought them out, we thought they were blueberry. Nope. Prune. Ugh.
Tomorrow is a “short” day, meaning no evening shifts. Instead, we will venture out to Barlad, about 20 minutes away, where we can explore the town (apparently not that exciting) and go to dinner. I hope to buy some postcards, extra water (I’ve been going through quite a lot of water—which, thankfully, keeps me from buying anything else to drink, i.e. soda), and a little bit of supplemental food to go along with my granola bars.
Terri & Ema-Elena, who has spastic cerebral palsy, cataracts in both eyes, and epilepsy
Susan walking with Alexandra, who is a 6 year old with brittle bone disease
Lila feeding Little Andreea some yogurt
Me and Petre
Nicole and Maria, who turned 1 year old yesterday. She has hydrocephalus and because her brain is so small, they can't put a shunt in to drain the fluid. Unfortunately, as a result, there is nothing to be done, so she was brought back to Tutova to spend her remaining days (however many they may be) at the clinic.
Alina (aka ThumbAlina) is 2 years old and weighs about 10 pounds. One of the most pleasant little girls I've ever met. It's so easy to make her smile!
Ionela and Lea-Celine passing a toy back and forth
From bottom left: Big Andreea, Amy D. with Ema-Elena, Lea-Celine, Becky with Little Andreea, Alina, Amy J., and Alexandra
The cribs the clinic used to have for the kids. Thankfully, GV was able to buy new cribs five years ago that are less cage-like.
Me and Ema-Elena
Cristi gives a special "Buna!" ("Hi!") to Miss Sarah. ;-)
Maiastra, playing in Mihaela's car with the radio on