Doris’s Story

This past week we took a trip in my car to Kruwa, a remote village off the road to Kumasi.  Check out the photos to get a feeling for this trip.  Once there, we found Doris who has had to leave school because she was having seizures. She was selling “chips.”  And her parents, whom we had come to talk with, were gone to the farm. We learned that farmers from this village often walk 45 to 55 minutes to reach the farmland they work.  The headmaster at the school agreed to give our message to Doris’s parents when they came home.  The message:  Bring Doris to our house in Mpeasem tomorrow so we can take her to the hospital to try to find out how to help her.

The next morning before I was out of my room for breakfast (7 a.m.) the three of them, Doris and her mother and father, were sitting on our front porch.  It is a very difficult trip from Kruwa to Mpeasem, so obviously they wanted our help for Doris.  I’d been having second thoughts about barging in when I know nothing about epilepsy or panic attacks or anything medical, and here I was trying to tell them what to do.  Well, they were here, so we all climbed into Kwame’s car and went to the Psychiatric Hospital in Ankafu.

Doris’s father had taken her to a regular hospital the week before where they did some tests and told them there was “nothing wrong with her.”  That was obviously not helpful, as she had been having seizures often during the past two months.

After a few hours of filling out forms, talking to nurses and waiting, we finally got to go into the doctor’s office.  There on the wall was a big poster with “EPILEPSY” written in large block letters at the top and several photographs in color of the human brain.  We were in the right place.  Whew! The doctor took meticulous notes while Doris and her father told him about Doris’s seizures.  The visit ended with a talk with the doctor’s nurse about the medication he was prescribing for her and assurances that they could continue praying, but to be sure to take the medication.  And within the next two weeks they should take Doris to Takoradi and have a brain scan done so they could rule out a brain tumor and see if there were any physical problems with her brain.  After that they will know more about the correct treatment for her.

Doris was to go to Takoradi before the end of this week.  Two days ago Mohammed told me that the family had decided that it was indeed a spiritual problem and they were not going to do the brain scan.  “She just needs to go to another school so she can get away from the witch (another student from her village living in the same house in Abura where they both attend University Practice Senior High School) who is casting this spell on her.”  They theorize that she (the witch) is putting something in her food that causes the seizures.  Mohammed and I talked about all of this and how Doris’s father seemed to understand the benefits of western medicine.  So, Mohammed decided to call back and tell the father that “he is the man of the family and therefore should be in control and that he needed to be strong.”  It seemed to work and today Doris arrived early in the morning with her father to go to Takoradi for the brain scan.  Mohammed also told them that there were people in the U.S. who when they heard of Doris’s problem offered financial help with the cost of treatment.  I’m not sure if it was the news that financially they could do this or Mohammed’s advice to “be strong” that brought them to the house ready to go get the brain scan – perhaps a combination of the two.  But, thankfully they came and Mohammed went with them.  I’m sure the waiting at the hospital will be long, but I should have a report before the end of this day.  My daughter in law Mavis’s offer of money to help may be the answer to Doris’s prayers.

Update: Good news!  Doris does not have a brain tumor and her medication seems to be keeping the seizures at bay.  She will return to school on Monday.

Photos from the trip to Kruwa:

1.The Road