(A-24 Miguel) Status: Sponsored for meals, saline solution, diapers, Ensure
(A-25 Manuel) Status: Sponsored for meals
(A-26 Maximiliana) Status: Sponsored for meals, Sponsored for insulin
Needs: regular sponsorship of catheter adjustment (A-25), medical sponsorship for all three, stipend for Iris to care for them full-time, blankets
To help: www.mayanfamilies.org/donatenow "A-## [write needs, sponsorship etc.]"
A link to previous stories about the three siblings can be found here.
For more stories and photos of the ancianos in the Feeding Program, please consider purchasing a book compiled of our participants. All profits go to the Elderly. You can preview the book here.
UPDATE September 12, 2013: This week Manuel (A-25) went for his catheter readjustment and there were some unforeseen transportation and medicine costs. Manuel is in need of $50 to cover these costs. We are also still looking for medical sponsorship ($96 every 3 months/$384 a year) to cover these catheter readjustments costs.
UPDATE: October 17, 2013: Yesterday Maximiliana's sugar became very low and she had to be taken to the hospital where she began to slip into a diabetic coma. The doctor was able to give her some medicine to stabilize her and fortunately she was able to leave the hospital and is back in her home today.
"I have abandoned my own children, because their children abandoned them, and they have no one else," says Iris, who is the full-time caretaker of her two uncles and mother. Last month, Iris had gotten sick and was bedridden for days. "There was no one. When I recovered, Miguel's bed was completely soiled, they'd barely eaten, they needed to be washed. Someone from the Assembly of God had come by to check on them, to help them."
In the yard, several small houses comprise the area where Iris and her family live. Miguel and Manuel sleep in the room where we talk, which is just big enough for two twin beds. The ceiling is covered in cardboard, to keep out the rain.
Iris's husband still lives with her in the house, along with their six young children, but "it's like he's not even there." He has a drinking problem and does nothing for the family. Iris's siblings have their priorities, and left her the responsibility for caring for the three. She taught herself how to be a nurse, how to care for her diabetic aunt and disabled uncles. "The doctor told me, when Miguel had his accident, that 'he was going to die.' 'He is going to die' is not the way to answer someone who is fighting for him."
"Miguel isn't eating well these days, his back hurts from being in the bed. A woman comes to help me bathe him, to get him in and out of the wheelchair. He can't take pills, can't eat solid food. We have to make it into liquid for him. He has a hernia, and some kind of lung infection. When he breathes, he sucks and sucks."
The three need constant medical attention: in addition to Miguel's deterioration, Maximiliana is still recovering from a stroke she suffered more than a year ago, and is in need of insulin to control her diabetes. Manuel must go every one or two months to have an adjustment made to his catheter. When asked what they need most, Iris is quick to describe the costs of their medical care. "It costs me to get to the doctor, every time the apparatus is adjusted, to come back from the doctor. It costs to have insulin, to have a saline solution for Miguel, to have Ensure or another kind of liquid protein. These are things without cures. These are things without an end. The need is constant."
Fortunately, to help Iris, a volunteer working with Mayan Families is assisting in caring for Miguel, Manuel and Maximiliana. A couple of days per week she bathes them, feeds them, and passes the time with them. Three generous sponsors have also made it possible that the three will get meals each day from Mayan Families, and thankfully receive much-needed medical support.
However, because the problems are merely balanced and not solved, Iris still must seek help when emergencies-- or even routine medical procedures-- arise. Manuel is due for another catheter adjustment, this Friday, May 17, which costs Iris $67 for transportation, the procedure and the meds. Maximiliana is covered for meals, but not necessarily her insulin. Miguel is always in need of diapers, towels, and blankets.
"I try to give them what they need," Iris says, "but I look at my own kids, and what I'm unable to do for them. Will they do the same for me?"