QiaoLing is a five years old girl and came to CCH in early February, with special needs of spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
When I first met her, she was sitting in the corner of the room, playing with the edge of her clothes. I wanted to get closer to her, but she seemed frightened by me as I was a stranger to her. She turned me down by covering her face with the left hand. I watched over her not far away. She indulged in her own world and didn’t respond to me when I called her name. I thought she might be neglected and didn’t get enough care and love in the past.
In the first few days, I tried to create as many opportunities as possible to get in touch with her. I called her name repeatedly and made sounds by toys to attract her attention. As she still couldn’t eat by herself, I fed her food with a spoon patiently. She couldn’t walk and could only stand by holding onto something. I always smiled at her, but I was a little frustrated because I couldn’t see much progress in her. Sometimes, I even thought maybe she had a static inner world of the heart.
After a week, I was designated to take care of QiaoLing in hospital as she was going to take hydrocephalus surgery. She sat on the hospital bed and stared blankly. I sat at the bedside and then I had an incoming call. The ringing of my cell phone caught QiaoLing’s attention and she looked at the cell phone. After I answered the phone, she moved to me, grabbed it and then went back to the spot where she sat before. I suddenly realized she was interested in music. So I put on music in my cell phone and gave it to her. Surprisingly, she gave me a gentle smile. I felt extremely happy and praised her in time. Music brought us close together. When she wanted to listen to music, she would point at my cell phone and shout “ah, ah”. She could even wave her head and arms along the music.
In addition to music, I found QiaoLing was also interested in comic books. She stared at the book which the child on the neighboring hospital bed was reading. I borrowed one from the child and gave it to QiaoLing. She held the book in her hand and started to read with avid attention. At this moment, the doctor came in. He saw QiaoLing reading and said, “Wow! We have a good learner here. You look more like a scholar if you wear glasses!” At a second look, the doctor found QiaoLing held the book upside down. Everyone in the room laughed out. QiaoLing looked up from the book and laughed too.
Because of the surgery, QiaoLing’s short hair had to be shaved and she became bald. But the good news was the surgery was quite successful and QiaoLing was discharged from hospital in late February. She had already been attached to me and we got along quite well. She didn’t refuse my touch or hug any more. She could take her initiative to give her hand to me. When the nannies played with the children in the room, QiaoLing sometimes also participated in it. She could find out toys she liked among a pile of toys. I helped her practice walking every day. Now, she can walk slowly by holding onto my hand or wall. She is more responsive to external stimulus. She still loves music and books. She hasn’t made much progress in language development. I will continue to help her walk and speak.
After QiaoLing recovered from hydrocephalus surgery, another spina bifida surgery is awaiting her. I hope the surgery can be successful and she won’t suffer much. I’ve learned from taking care of QiaoLing that nurturing care is so important and you never know how it will impact an orphaned child.