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Umar’s deadly fever 5: lessons on brain abscess

Dr. Akin-Onitolo A.

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continued from part 4

3rd July 

This children’s ward has become my second home. Many mothers met me here and have left. See, Siddiq’s mother is leaving today, her son is well. Although he has sickle cell disease and may soon be back here, they are at least returning home. I wish I could be returning home too. 

But we must complete Umar’s treatment because I do not want to have to return here later. It is now 2 weeks since his surgery and we have spent a lot of money on strong antibiotics. The doctors want him to take these drugs for at least 6 weeks, can you imagine? Almost every day, they prick my poor baby here and there looking for a vein to put in the antibiotics. When I asked why it must be injections, the junior doctor explained that it would cross into the brain better that way. Of course, I want the best for my baby so I let it be. 

I told the junior doctor, a very nice young man, about the time Umar had some ear problems and I found pus in his right ear, and he was convinced that the pus from his ear must have also entered his brain. The ears are connected to the brain so the infection in his ear must have crossed into his brain. 

“Just like that?” I was forced to ask, “Does it only happen to boys? I have 4 girls and none of them had this type of sickness.” 

“It can happen to both boys and girls,” he said, “it is a serious infection that can cause death if not promptly treated. It can start from infection in the ear or mouth, or spread from another part of the body. It can also happen after injury to the head or meningitis.” Now that I know, I can be a better mother. When I have my next child, I will be more careful. 

 

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Dr. Akin-onitolo A. is a graduate of the University of Lagos whose mission is to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) using health promotion and improved health literacy. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who had her elective at King's College London. Hugely interested in travel, meeting people and generally being creative, reading and writing fiction are a few hobbies you could find her engaged in during her spare time. Catch up with her on Twitter @Akinonitolo and Instagram @t_onitolo