Saturday, February 15, 2014

Centro de Nutrición (Nutrition Center)

This really has nothing to do with the rest of this post… but for those of you who have been following my posts about Baby D. in the hospital, he was discharged yesterday! There had been some rumors of him going to Cochabamba's Pediatric Nutrition Center to fatten up a bit more, but instead, Kaley (a former CDA volunteer who is now back here volunteering for a few months) offered to take him to her house and give him one-on-one care for a couple weeks. So, after being brought back to the baby house, she came and picked him up. 

Now the real post…

We received R. on February 5th. She's two years old, and she definitely has the height of a typical two year old. However, we could tell she was underweight. She's so light to pick up. She seems fragile and delicate. She wasn't eating much when she arrived, but we attributed it to the food maybe being different than what she was used to eating. She'd eat a little on her own, then we'd try to get her to eat the rest with help from us. Sometimes it worked, but for the most part, she wasn't eating much. It seemed like maybe she didn't have a big appetite. We weren't too concerned and assumed she'd start eating more after a little more time.

As the days passed, it actually seemed to be the opposite. She was eating less. This past Thursday, she didn't eat anything. She didn't want to drink her milk in the morning, she didn't want breakfast or a snack. She ate a little lunch with help. At dinner, she didn't want help eating, but she didn't want to eat alone either. I got her to eat 4 bites of food, but that was it. She was sleeping all day, too (from lack of energy, I'm sure). Then, before bedtime, she again didn't want any milk. The tías decided to watch her overnight, and take her to the doctor in the morning.

By the morning, she was so weak she couldn't even stand up, and she was sleeping a lot. One of the tías took her to the doctor, and they admitted her to the Nutrition Center… so we have another child who is malnourished. 

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to the Nutrition Center for the first time… It's not a huge hospital building, and it's pretty nice. Unfortunately, the babies do seem to stay in their cribs most of the day, but the walkers (and some crawlers) are put in a large playpen with toys. Bigger kids, like R., are sometimes let out of the playpen to play with some ride-on toys.

Right now, it's unclear how long she'll be there. I asked one of the nurses today, and she told me it could be a month, but maybe longer. It just depends on how she does.

Yesterday, I went to visit her for a couple hours. She hasn't really bonded with any of us at the baby home, and she didn't really have much of a reaction to me arriving. She very much enjoyed her hours of one-on-one attention though and wasn't happy when I left. I could hear her screams when I was out the door!

She already seems like a different child after just one day! She was so happy and talkative!

I went back today to visit for a few hours. For the first five minutes, she almost completely ignored me. Then she saw me talking/playing with another baby (who reminds me so much of Michel… one of "my" babies at the baby house!) and decided that was just unacceptable! She wanted out of the playpen and wanted to be held and carried the rest of the time. Any time I made a move toward the gate or my purse, she started crying and telling me "no," worried that I was going to leave. It was kind of pathetic! Overall, she was still very happy and giggly. She eats whatever they give her without a fuss. Yesterday, I fed her, but today she mostly ate by herself. She scraped her bowl clean!

It's hard to believe that just the other day she was so lethargic after seeing her these two days!

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