Little Red Scarf is in Lanzhou, Gansu province and provides financial support and encouragement to children suffering from congenital heart disease. In addition, they provide families with post-operative care and help the children sustain a healthy lifestyle.
On the morning of February 25, our staff and Hong Yan’s mother checked into the hospital with Hong Yan. Her condition shocked the doctor who could not believe his small patient was too weak to stand for even 2 minutes. The doctor wasn't sure if he should do the operation and was waiting for the results to come out.
Before the operation, Hong Yan had to squat. The doctor explained she had a serious shortage of oxygen, so she had to keep squatting to relieve her lungs. The squat position helps relieve the burden of the heart and provides self-protection.
For Hong Yan, squatting was safest.
Many people were concerned that she should not do the surgery based on the low success rate. But luckily we found Tang Hanbo, Hong Yan’s doctor. We consulted him about the situation, hoping to get his professional point of view.
Doctor Tang showed us color ultrasonic pictures of Hong Yan’s heart, and told us his concerns. According to the picture, an index of the blood vessel was too low and underdeveloped, which meant the operation would be risky. She had to stay in ICU for a long time after the operation in case of complications.
We were very worried after talking to the doctor. Hongyan was in such a pitiful condition. The family was too poor to give her anything. She could not even walk as other normal children. Walking was a luxury for her. (In the picture, Hong Yan is wearing a new coat which was purchased by an American volunteer. She loves the coat and wants to wear it when she is sleeping.)
The child felt satisfied and happy with the new coat, but we knew she needed more than a coat. We met the doctor to hear what he said about the new exam results. The doctor said if we had not located the child she would not have lived for another ten years.
When we visited Hong Yan for the first time, we saw she was playing with a plastic shovel. When we went back to Langzhou, the volunteers bought a stuffed toy for her, hoping the stuffed rabbit could bring her good luck. We gave the rabbit a name, Pangpang, which means good luck. The toy rabbit was Hong Yan's first toy. She likes Pangpang as much as we hope she will be healthy.
With the toy rabbit, Hong Yan did not feel lonely. She stayed with the toy all day long. Her mother said she slept with Pangpang at night.
Hong Yan could undergo the operation. Doctor Tang said he was confident about the operation, but he could not control the situation that would happen after the operation. Only the child’s health could decide how well she would recover after the operation. Hong Yan’s mother showed decisiveness when the doctor told her about the situation. She said, “Hong Yan needs the operation, it is her only chance.”
On the day of the operation, Hong Yan got a high fever. Poor child. She had to curl up in bed. We found Doctor Tang and he said the operation had to be postponed.
She ate and drank nothing, just crouched down in the bed. Her skin looked purple. We prayed for her, hoping she would be better soon.
Original article written by Yujie Yun, translated by Maggie Li, and edited by Yanyan Zhang
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