Child of the Month
By Rich Petersen
www.programaninos.org
Osvaldo Padilla Contreras

      Niños Incapacitados would like you to meet Osvaldo Padilla Contreras, age 12, seen here with his mother Yolanda at our last monthly meeting.  Osvaldo lives in San Juan Cosalá with his mom, stepfather (Carlos) and other brother, Juan Luis, age 15. His natural father abandoned the family soon after Osvaldo’s birth, but fortunately his stepfather has more than stepped up to the plate with love and support.
      Osvaldo was born perfectly normal but at the age of three months he aspirated some of his formula and went into respiratory failure. At the Hospital Civil he was put on a respirator and recovered consciousness, but so much time had passed without oxygen to his brain that the child was in a vegetative state and the medical staff was not optimistic about a good prognosis. To make matters worse, Osvaldo then suffered three more respiratory failures and then three cardiac arrests; each time he was resuscitated but had to be hospitalized for six months while the doctors monitored him.
      With each of these episodes the little boy’s chances of survival grew more slim. Then he began to have convulsions so surgery was recommended even though there was only a 50-50 chance of recovery. Miracles do seem to happen, however, and following the surgery Osvaldo had no more convulsions and was able to be discharged home, albeit with a diagnosis of cerebral paralysis and with the added complication that his muscles would not relax normally. His mother says his arms and legs were “straight as a board.”
      Since being at home he has been confined to a wheelchair or has to be carried physically by his mother or stepfather.  From the outset his parents began therapy for the boy, first at DIF, then with a private therapist, and currently at the Teletón Foundation of Mexico in Guadalajara. One of the therapists at Teletón had heard of a new use for the drug Botox, not for cosmetic enhancement but rather, in cases such as Osvaldo’s, to help relax the muscles. This is when his mother first came to Niños Incapacitados for help with the cost of this injection, still rather “experimental” in this regard. It was decided to take a chance with this new therapy and Osvaldo was given the Botox injection. Again, he responded positively. His muscles are much more relaxed and supple, and while he still has little muscle control, he is able to wave good-bye and gesture.
      In spite of all his problems Osvaldo is one of the happiest children around.  He smiles almost constantly, loves to interact with his family, and enjoys visiting his neighbors and going to Mass.  It seems that being around people is what pleases him most. Mom says he loves to listen to music and to try to sing along, but only happy music. He doesn’t like sad songs or “romantic” ones. He is an avid Chivas fan and loves to watch matches on television. With the love and care of his family, Osvaldo has overcome many obstacles in his short life, and Niños Incapacitados is happy to be able to help. His therapy sessions are ongoing, and his mother states he has made wonderful progress in the past few years.
      Niños Incapacitados meets the second Thursday of each month at 9:45 at La Nueva Posada. Please join us to learn more about what we do and to meet other children we are assisting, or see our website at www.programaninos.org. A new feature on our site is the addition of PayPal in order to make it easier to donate, either locally or from the U.S. or Canada. The Botox injection that was of such help to Osvaldo cost 4500 pesos.