Hydrocephalus – a mother’s cry for help

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Windhoek

A mother of a two-year-old boy who suffers from hydrocephalus needs assistance to purchase a special wheelchair, which is only available in South Africa. Because of his condition, the boy, Justin Gaeseb, does not talk, sit or walk.
Apart from the wheelchair, the mother – Clementine Gaeses, aged 45 – said she needs advice on the type of food to feed the boy, as he is not growing. She also needs advice on how to do physiotherapy at home.

Gaeses said it would be wonderful if she could get in touch with mothers who have children with hydrocephalus, so that they can exchange notes on how to care for children with this condition.

“He has a problem relieving himself and only does that when we massage his stomach. For a two-year-old he still eats soft food and only in small portions. He is not gaining weight and I am worried,” expressed the mother.

The unemployed Gaeses said an occupational therapist obtained a quotation for a wheelchair, which costs N$12 000, but the nearest place can be bought from is South Africa.

The mother explained that the wheelchair is supposed to support the boy’s head, because it is heavy and would ensure he does not to lie down the whole day. The wheelchair will also prevent his back from twisting.

Gaeses said although her husband is employed, he is the only breadwinner at home. She does part-time sewing, but after an accident she cannot sit for too long as her leg swells up.

According to healthline.com, hydrocephalus is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. The name literally means ‘water on the brain”.

Healthline explains that brain damage can occur as a result of the fluid build-up. This can lead to developmental, physical and intellectual impairments. It requires treatment to prevent serious complications.

It states that hydrocephalus is caused when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows through the brain and spinal cord in normal conditions. Under certain conditions, the amount of CSF in the brain increases.

The amount of CSF increases when a blockage develops that prevent CSF from flowing normally, there is a decrease in the ability of blood vessels to absorb it and when the brain produces an excess amount of it.

Gaeses says she only found out she was five months pregnant when she visited the doctor after spells of dizziness and vomiting constantly. She said at the time the doctor detected some abnormalities and when she went for the sonar scan they saw the baby had water on the brain, but there was nothing they could do at that stage.

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