Lindani*, a small girl, was brought to us by her mother. She had the "usual" symptoms, like diarrhoea and vomiting. The little one does not look well and is quite weak.
Apart from that her skin is damaged all over.

These are some of the typical symptoms which come with HIV-infection as opportunistic diseases. It is true, her mother suffers from AIDS and Lindani is also HIV-positive. Because her mother is still working and has nobody to look after the little one she requests to admit Lindani temporarily to our children's home when she will have improved. For the time being she will stay at the hospice. Lindani's mother's blood tests were so bad that she has to start antiretroviral treatment a few months later. Lindani is steadily improving so that his comes to bring him home before Christmas.

It is only a few days later that she returns him with the same symptoms as last time. Lindani remembers us and cries initially when her mother leaves, but we can console her quickly. Again we try to sort out her skin problems and her diarrhoea and we succeed after some time doing so. Afterwards she is well and starts learning to walk, to eat on her own and we have lots of fun together. Sometimes she is overdoing things and falls asleep spontaneously no matter where she is and what may be going on around her.

Her condition though continuously goes up and down. When she was worse and did not want the eat and drink properly, we transferred her to Stanger Hospital. The doctors took her blood to check the CD4 count. If this is below 200/mm3 ARV treatment has to be started. Thank God her CD4 count was still so high, that she had no need for antiretroviral treatment yet. The hospital still wanted to admit her for the time being and we brought her to the paediatric ward. I removed her clothes and she was given a small white hospital shirt. She looked like a little angel as she was sitting there in her little bed with the little white shirt. It nearly broke my heart to leave this little angel there and not to take her along again.

Meanwhile she grows and I see her when her mother comes for her regular check ups, as she is taking Linani along. Both of us rejoice every time when we meet again. These regular check ups are very important for patients on antiretroviral treatment. The doctor can see whether or not the patient has any adverse drug reactions or if there may be any other problems. Lindani's blood count is still so high that she is not in need of ARVs yet. We also check her blood regularly and if she gets to the stage that she needs the treatment she will also get it and thus have a chance to live a long and relatively normal life with AIDS.

Angelika Müller

* Lindani (Zulu for "Wait!) is not her real name, but Lindani's mother gave explicit permission to tell their story and to use her pictures.

This page is part of the Newsletter No. 27 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:49:46