Thursday, January 14, 2010

They Never Tell You About the Bees – 3 Fasters Go To Hospital

The doctor came today. Sebastien, the sixth faster who joined on Day 6, may have diabetes. He’ll be leaving the fast after 7 days. He’s quietly talking with Ana right now. He says that he doesn’t want to leave the fast. He must. He can stay in solidarity but this is serious.

Ana’s sugar is low. We’re waiting to see what the doctor says. She’s sitting in a bright yellow FIU sweatshirt and trying to comfort Sebastien, explaining to him how he’ll need to change his diet in the future.

Jenny looks the worst that I’ve seen her with circles under her eyes and no vibrancy at all. Jenny is usually so “vivo” but what else could we expect on Day 14 of a fast? Her son, Jacinto, turned 13 yesterday. His 15-year-old sister, Stephanie, made him a cake. I can’t help but wonder, if Jenny is sent back to Honduras, how many other birthday cakes will she miss with her children?

The doctor is here. Three fasters are going to the hospital. Francisco may have had a heart attack – the after symptoms point that way. He needs tests. He quietly asked me if he could come back to the fast after they do the tests. “I won’t let them give me food and I can come back, right?” It broke my heart.

Jonathan says he feels fine but the doctor insists that he go to the hospital as well. He has shortness of breath and an issue with his electrolytes that could point to something more serious. He’s determined to come back.

The doctor is recommending that Jenny and Ana go to the hospital as well. Jenny’s pulse and blood pressure are very low. Ana’s sugar is dangerously low. They pressure the doctor. “It’s my baby. It’s my life. You have to understand,” Jenny is declaring. I have tears in my eyes. The fast could cost her life and leaving her children could cost her life. How does one even begin to fathom that choice? How does it even come to that?

Ana is sitting quietly in the corner, swatting away a bee with one hand. The bees started to come about a week ago. Apparently they are attracted to the fruit smell that the fasters give off. The bees really bother Ana. She was swarmed by bees in the desert on her way back to her children.

We just said good bye to Francisco, Sebastien, and Jonathan. Ana, Jenny, and Wilfredo are still here. Please don’t forget them. Call Janet Napolitano (866-587-3023). Now is the time for her to come to Miami. Our community is in pain. Haitians can’t locate their families. People are fasting in tents to stay with their families. Now is the time to speak out – speak out for the families in our community. They need you. We need you.

South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice

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