His name is Claude. He is six years old and in first grade. He is number one in his class.
Love him dearly.
Now the CONCERN.
On the 27th August they carried an unconscious Claude from the school to my clinic. He had just put his head down on his desk and did not respond to efforts to wake him.
His eyes were rolled back in his head and he was limp as a rag. No response of any kind. We rushed him to the hospital. He was still unconscious when we arrived at the second hospital. The hospital did checks, started an IV, did some blood work and waited. I held his little hand and prayed. It was frightening to be able to do nothing. After about an hour of doing nothing he moved, turned his head, opened his eyes and said 'bete' (hi). mama and his eyes wondered why I was there and where he was. He seemed to have awakened from a nap. They kept him overnight and admitted they could find nothing wrong. He came home the next day with the admonition if it happened again, we should come back and they would give us a referral to CHUK Hospital in Kigali.
5 days later he was carried home again. Same procedure. Only this time after waiting for him to regain consciousness they sent him home and told us to come back at 8 the next morning for a referral to the other hospital covered my MUTUAL Insurance. We finally got the referral about 11 am. It was a bit late to travel to the hospital in Kigali but I feared to wait so we went.
We arrived a little after 12 noon and thank God the doctor was still there. He also could find nothing wrong but ordered a brain scan. The doctor wrote out the order for yet another hospital and signed it. We went directly from CHUK Hospital to King Faisal Hospital because they had the best equipment to do the scan. We expected to be given an appointment but instead they agreed to do the scan at once. They asked would we pay cash as a private patient. "No," the hospital that sent us was covered by our insurance. Now it seems the doctor should have had his supervisor sign the order and he did not so it was no good. Our insurance would not cover it and it was a lot of money by Rwanda standards. I was more than a bit upset and a woman in the office took pity on us and said she would help us because it was not our mistake. The scan ended up costing us 6,000 Rwanda Frw $12 USD. Imagine a brain scan for $12!!
We had to return the next morning as there was no one to read the scan. Another trip to Kigali but important. Claude was doing fine. The scan was scary for a little kid but he was brave and after the scan told me it was a funny bed. "But I wasn't scared Mama!" He laughed at the big blue apron Oswald had to wear to stand with him while Mama went into the other room to look at the photos the scanner had made of his brain.
We picked up the scan and went back to the CHUK doctor. The report read "Everything is normal." But now what? We saw a different doctor than the one who ordered the scan. This doctor decided we should have an EKG. This was to rule out any heart problem. It was now 6 pm and the EKG lab was closed for the week end. So another trip to Kigali on Monday morning.
The EKG happened and a problem showed up. His heart is a healthy heart but it is too slow. The arrhythmia is off. A specialist was called in to read the EKG. We were blessed because Doctor Stephanie an American Pediatrician arrived at the hospital just 3 days before and was in on the consult.
Normal arrhythmia for a child is in the 60s, his is in the low 50s and during his quiet time it goes below 50 causing his body to want to sleep. The main concern is the length of time he is out. Should a breathing problem develop then we are in serious trouble.
An EEG was also done and it is normal.
We are going to treat him with caffeine as a stimulant for the present. Both episodes have been after lunch and during a quiet time in school. Coffee seems like a strange medicine but if it works I am ok with it. After lunch he will come to my kitchen for a cup of strong coffee. The hope is to stimulate the heart activity. He has no problems as long as he is active. His heart is healthy. The arrhythmia is the problem - something different and a bit scary.
It has been three weeks now with no further episodes. We are taking one day at a time counting our blessings.