Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jackson's Status

I am looking at Jackson stretched out on the chaise lounge in our room. He has the hands and feet of a man but the rest of his body—narrow torso and shoulders, thin arms—looks like that a 13-year-old adolescent and not of a 22-year-old. Malnutrition and heart disease have ravaged his body. At the end of Jackson’s last trip to Peoria, I remember seeing him standing in the darkness of his host parents’ front yard, with broad strapping shoulders, but the last two years of Haiti and heart disease have worn them down.

While staying with us, Jackson has dining on nice fattening American cuisine—cheeseburgers, pizza, and spaghetti. John has been making him eat mangoes and bananas to replace the potassium the diuretics drain from his body. He wanders the hotel grounds while we are gone. People befriend him; Carol from Canada let him watch “National Treasure” in her room. Jackson is quiet and low maintenance. It’s often difficult to know how he is feeling because his demeanor is the same whether he is very sick or better. I think this place must seem a little like a high class prison to him, especially when the television service was out. But the important thing is, he’s alive and we want to keep him this way. We are hoping a hospital in the U.S. will play Santa Claus to this very sick young man.

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