An unconscious male patient was admitted to Blessed Gérard’s Hospice in 1999 suffering from TB meningitis. He came from a very caring family who had employed a lady to look after him. This lady was Ngapumelela Ngosizo*. Ngapumelela decided to continue caring for her patient by completing our care-givers course and by becoming a member of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard.
Ngapumelela came daily to care for her patient and the others in the ward with him. When he was discharged she continued caring for him at home. Finally he passed away and Ngapumelela carried on volunteering at Blessed Gérard’s Hospice, caring for other people who were ill. Then she found work in a factory and had little time to volunteer, but kept in contact with us.
Then one day in June of this year, my office phone rang. “Ngapumelela Ngosizo is here to see you” I was told. As usual I was very happy to see her smiling face. When I went down stairs to meet her, she was not smiling. I knew something was wrong. We sat down and Ngapumelela asked me if her daughter could be admitted to Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home. “Why”, I asked. Ngapumelela started to cry. She told me she had just been discharged from hospital and had Tuberculosis. She told me she has AIDS. She was really ill and deteriorating by the day. Her sister, who had cared for her, chased her away because she was sick. Her mother and other siblings had also ostracised her. Ngapumelela had not been working and relied on her sister for hers and her daughter’s livelihood. Without that support Ngapumelela was desperate. “Alright” I said. “But I would like to make you a better offer” Ngapumelela looked at me through her tears with a question in her eyes. “I would like to offer you enough time to raise your daughter, to go back to work and to have a good quality life” Ngapumelela continued to cry, but was silent as I continued “We are about to start our antiretroviral roll-out programme and I would like to offer you, the chance to be one of the first to be included in this programme” Ngapumelela’s tears dried up and a look of hope and relief replaced them. She left her current phone number and went home.
Two months later I had the great pleasure of phoning Ngapumelela and inviting her to come for her blood tests and to be included in the first drug readiness course. She completed her course and because she fulfilled all the criteria to be admitted to the programme, she was given her antiretroviral therapy. She has not had any side effects, she has gained lots of weight and is looking much healthier and is happy.
One of the most wonderful consequences is that Ngapumelela’s daughter has her mother back!
* The story is true, but the name is fictitious to protect her identity.
This page is part of the Newsletter No. 24 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:23