June 1, 2006

ANNA

The effects of years with malaria ... Anna had such a tenderness in her eyes that she could not be hidden in the noisy crowd waiting to be seen by the doctors. When she walked up for her turn we all assumed she was pregnant because her abdomen was so large. She then began to tell us of how painful her swollen stomach had been for years. It was very tender to touch and paired with a high fever, we knew something was wrong. Our assumption was that she had an enlarged spleen after years of untreated bouts with malaria. Upon examination the spleen was obviously enlarged. We transported her 30 miles to town with us, (her first time in a vehicle) to a clinic where she could undergo a procedure to remove her spleen. Her youngest child accompanied us. She was so delightful and everyone around her loved her. She brightened up the clinic where she stayed pre-surgery and told us that if anything happened to her in surgery that she knew she was ready to go be with the Lord. Anna passed away shortly after surgery. Our hearts were broken. Our interactions with Anna opened our eyes to the importance of prevention of illness such as malaria in low-income areas such as Uganda where treatment for diseases late-stage is not usually hopeful. Her husband now provides for her 6 children.