Health information based loosely on true stories, link to blog HERE.
I watched the tears form a mist in his glasses as he struggled to keep the tears from falling. His attempt to put up a brave front failing completely in that brief moment of human frailty. I felt pity for him; my own hardened demeanour softening with this display of grief. Concerned for him, I stopped what I was doing to focus on him.
He was not the patient.
The patient was his wife. She laid there, a shadow of a human being, her fragile skeletal structure easily visible, as if trying to liberate itself from underneath her pale, sagging skin. She groaned in acute pain, vomiting continuously.
She was HIV positive.
He wasn’t. Amazingly, they had been married several years despite being a young couple. Their last child was six. All three children were also HIV negative. My attention went back to him, with a new-found respect and admiration, I saw the love in his eyes as he looked upon his sick wife, I noticed the gentle way he had cared for her while in the hospital, and now this, tears. Tears of fear: the woman whom he loves wasn’t getting any better despite being on drugs.
The obvious questions.
When did she contract the virus? How did she contract it? And most importantly, how had the children and more especially the husband escaped being infected?
Unfortunately, this is not an article about how some individuals are naturally immune to the HIV virus despite adequate exposure to it (scientifically proven).
This is an article about love.
The love of a husband who sticks with his wife in her time of greatest need, who stands by her despite public ridicule, who loves her despite imperfections—and who will stick with her come what may. A husband who refuses to be judgemental but accepts his fate knowing there are no guarantees in life. As they left, a new-found hope in their eyes, I learnt a valuable lesson about life .
So are you for better or worse?
About the author: Dr Erhumu
Stories from working in a busy hospital in Africa based on true life experience and some imagination.