by Sr. Liz Coetzer

To many we are the last beacon of hope in a dark world. They come in off the street looking for acceptance and help.

Thuli was one like that. She was weak and tired. She was very open with us stating from the first moment that she was HIV positive, and needed our help. For the past few weeks she had been suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting, and nothing seemed to be helping. She was feeling desperate.

We admitted her into our hospice. A few days later when she was feeling better, she said she wanted to join our HAART programme. We were very happy to be able to help, and she was soon well enough to attend our classes. After the course ended, she started on her Anti retroviral regime.

She was ready to go home soon after starting. Her system was tolerating the medicines well, and she was feeling stronger.

About one month after she left us she came back. She was not well. She was vomiting and suffering with a very bad headache. A few days after re-admitting her to our hospice, we transferred her to Stanger Hospital. There, after various investigations they diagnosed her with cryptococcal and TB meningitis. She was a very ill lady.

About 3 weeks later, we got a call from the hospital telling us they had done all they could for her, and could we take her back again.

We readily agreed.

Thuli came back to us, we could not believe it was the same person. She was unable to walk, she could not even sit up. She could not see properly, and she was not eating.

Ahead was a long road. Thuli had the will, and we encouraged her and worked hard with her. Her family were also supportive and came to see her regularly. We started seeing small changes, she knew where she was, and she got her sight back. Slowly she started sitting up and then we were able to sit her in a chair for a short while. Before too long she was taking a few steps around the bed.

It was 6 months later, with quite a few little setbacks, but she had persevered. And all our hard work was rewarded.

There came the day when Thuli was well enough to go home. She was strong, and able to walk on her own. It was so rewarding for all of us. Thuli is a very special person with a lovely smile. It was a privilege to be part of the team of dedicated, hard working caregivers, and to be able to help someone like her.

Sr. Liz Coetzer is a professional registered nurse and part of our HAART management team.

This page is part of the Newsletter No. 25 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:06