Interview of Fr. Martin Trieb O.S.B. with Dr. Roux Martinez

What are your reasons for doing this kind of work?

There are indeed many reasons for doing this kind of work. First of all, I think, what my first reason is, is for being a doctor and that is something I always wanted to do and all these years working in the high tech technology in modern hospitals I’ve tried to be a doctor now. I’ve really tried to do all of that to actually care for the patient behind all the tests and behind all the x-rays and behind all the fancy technology and the first time I came here, I really came to this place because there was bad weather and I could not go and sit on the beach that day I walked into this place and I found this heaven of care. I found suddenly – I actually felt quite cheated because I realised that I had never really cared for patients the way one should and I have never really done this properly. And, I would say, the second reason is that we are God’s hands and God’s feet on earth and it is our Christian duty to care and that is probably what I found that what was the recipe of this magical care was Doing it for God and I think if you don’t have that part in your care for any patient you will never care sincerely or never care deeper than what is expected from you to get your pay cheque and then the third reason of course is the Brotherhood. This brotherhood has been there for 900 years already and the monk who started it, Blessed Gérard, once said, that there will always be work for us to do because there will always be this incredible misery and pain and suffering in the world and that is the very reason why the Brotherhood has survived so long, because there is that misery and it is our God’s given duty to alleviate that misery in as much as we can.

I think it is very difficult to truly answer what suffering a patient undergoes because unless you have been there dying and suffering yourself I think one can never quite truly imagine. And even for us as doctors this is such a new disease in the sense even though there is so much research being done all of us thought they know more about this disease and learn about how it affects individual lives but as in a summary I would say that there is there is a physical type of suffering obviously not just for HIV itself, but the infections you get with it like Tuberculosis. You obviously get fungal infections of the throat and of the mouth and here you get all sorts of secondary other more severe pneumonias and different forms of cancers that you can be predisposed to. So, all of that in itself is suffering, but I think one must also remember the suffering of the dehydration, of being feeling tired and ill and just not yourself all the time of weight of losing weight all the time and of just chronically being tired and not being able to get on with your life and I think the biggest suffering of HIV and AIDS is the isolation. It’s the isolation of a person being different and being marked as somebody who is diseased and people isolating you even their own family members sometimes isolating them, avoiding them, sort of being either ashamed of the disease or being sadly scared that it would be contagious, that it would be contagious and that they will become ill and of course we know it’s very well publicised these days that what can cause spread of the disease and what doesn’t, but there is still a lot of myths and a lot of sad misbelieves about the disease that even by shaking somebody’s hand for instance you can contract the disease. So because of all that misunderstanding and lack of education of people do get isolated. It’s also very sad to see mothers who give birth to children, who are positive and both of them living in that fear of dying and the mother is not getting close her child because she is too scared to start loving this child because she is eventually going to loose that child. And the child not having the parent being all isolated all alone and being cared either for other family members or institutions like this. So, certainly I think that emotional loneliness and isolation is the big part of the suffering in terminal HIV and AIDS.

This page is part of "An everlasting brotherhood" - Preparations for a video film about the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:19