Will you answer Wendy’s call?

Have you ever heard your phone ring, looked down at your caller ID, and wondered if you should answer? After looking at the name, have you sighed and thought, “Do I have enough time to answer this call?”, “I wonder why this person is calling me.”, or “I don’t know if I can help them right now.”? I know I have. The feeling is similar to when you hear someone’s story, and you get this nudge or feeling in your gut that you can and should help them, but you aren’t sure if you want to. It’s the same as answering that phone call and saying, “yes” to someone. Remember that feeling, because I’ll come back to it.

I would like to introduce Wendy, a 15 year old girl, who has been coming to the Foundation for many years to receive Physical Therapy from Gladis and social care from Lorena. Some of you may know her personally from visiting the Berlín area, or maybe you have heard others share about her and her family’s struggles. Or, you may have heard Wendy mentioned in a Homily or two, if you attend St. Boniface Church in Waukee, Iowa. Wendy’s life is like many who live amongst the poorest of the poor, with the exception that she lives it in a wheelchair and with many medical complications. She and her siblings are being raised by their grandmother (pictured) and grandfather; the later, who suffered a stroke, is currently receiving Physical Therapy from Gladis too. They live in a remote rural area barely attainable by foot, let alone in a wheel chair.

Our Social Worker, Lorena, has been accompanying Wendy to her appointments at the National Children’s Hospital for the past few years. Unfortunately, the national government-ran health care system is like a broken record; the same ol’ same ol’, going around and around, leaving people to wait in line but never to get to them. When the public hospital was asked why all the delays, they said there were more than 3,000 similar cases in front of Wendy, so get in line. Wendy has been in line for years, but the line is not getting any shorter. It is like waiting and hoping to win the lottery, but it ain’t gonna happen. The big difference is, this is someone’s LIFE.

Like many other cases, we get tired of the run-around and false promises, so we decide what the next option should be. And of course that means seeking out a private Dr. and hospital for a private evaluation and solution. That was completed on Wednesday, April 26, and the good news is there is a surgical procedure available to greatly benefit Wendy. They can operate as soon as May 6, if given the go-ahead. The cost is around $5,000, which includes all tests, the surgical room, hospital stay, and the doctor and his surgical team. A total package deal.
The following is a narrative by Andrés, FFIF’s Director/Liaison. He describes the appointment him and Lorena attended with Wendy in San Miguel and explains the procedure that could change her life:

April 26, 2017
Visit with Dr. Carlos Eduardo Márquez Pediatric Urologist, San Francisco hospital, San Miguel
Patient: Wendy Nayeli Rivas Portillo 

Wendy is 15 years old, with a diagnosis of Myelomeningocele Hydrocephalus and Neurogenic Bladder. She has been visiting the National Children’s Hospital for several years with no specific treatment or medicines, just different ultrasounds, CAT scans, and Urine and blood tests. Because they have not provided any kind of medication, it was decided to look for a private physician and get a second opinion. Dr. Melvin Abarca, a trusted General Practitioner and friend of the Foundation, recommended a consultation with Pediatric Urologist, Dr. Marquez. After checking Wendy and hearing about past visits to the National Children’s Hospital, Dr. Marquez gave us a similar opinion to the Pediatric Urologist of the National Children’s Hospital based on various exams. The best procedure is a “MITROFANOFF REFERRAL FOR CLEAN INTERMITTENT CATHETERIZATION”. This means removing the appendix and connecting the bladder to the appendix area then opening a hole at belly button level, which will be connected to the bladder. A urine catheter will be placed into this hole, so she can evacuate urine at least every 2 hours. The catheter can be reusable and lasts up to 4 months with the right management. This is to help Wendy keep dry, with no odor, no irritation, and without risk of infection. 

6 days post-surgery, she will be kept at the hospital for post-surgery evaluation and to ensure recovery. 
15 days post-surgery, Wendy will need to be evaluated, again. The doctor will prescribe a medication called Nitrofurantoin (100mg). 1 capsule per night will help clean her bladder from any bacteria. In addition, Wendy will need her catheter changed as recommended.

According to the doctor, the surgery will cost approximately $ 5,000. The surgery can be done as soon as possible, and the idea is to improve her quality of life, prevent infections, and omit her current irritation. Plus, it will reduce or almost eliminate the use of Pampers.


Remember that feeling I said I was going to come back to?

Look down at your phone. Wendy’s name shows up on your caller ID.
Now, you know her story, and you have the opportunity to help change it.
All you have to do is answer the Call and say, “Yes.”

Your phone is ringing. Will you answer?