It had looked ominous for the two patients in the isolation ward last night, so I was prepared for a rather horrible day. But in fact both of them were alive this morning and we let them go home, which was a big highlight.
The young boy and old lady had been in the isolation unit since before I arrived and were fed up with being there. I couldn’t honestly say that they were fit and on top form but they are now in the recovery phase and don’t pose any risk for their families.
The little boy was first to be released. The child has been in the isolation for over a week and had been amazingly accepting and serene. His mother came to visit him every day, but even she had to wear a gown, gloves and a mask. We gave him some notebooks and pens and he had been writing stories and drawing pictures. He was so delighted to have them.
As we released the patients, it was my role to wait on the other side of the fence acting as the “greeter” to take them outside and to show that they were safe to touch. After being given a shower by the nurse, Barbara, the little boy trustingly took my hand and I led him out and gave him back to his mother.
The old lady was next. She had lost three of her children to the disease and had been been in for over a week. She had her wash and was then wrapped up in a new brightly patterned piece of cloth. When I held out my hand her eyes widened and her face lit up and she gave me her hand. I led her out and handed her to her sister.
Aside from the good news, we also had new arrival in the ward today. We put him in the suspect ward which is where we put patients that don’t quite fill all the criteria for the doctor to be sure that it is Ebola. Apparently he hadn’t been in contact with any patients even though he lived in a village that had been quite badly hit by the disease.