Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day 193

Success and failure all in about 30 minutes….A couple came into the clinic and told me how much they appreciated my working with them and how helpful I was in explaining the process of HIV and the reasons for the ARVs. This praise made me feel so nice I thought, I am really helping people today. Directly following them, a well dressed and well spoken man came in to tell me after eight months on ARV treatment he decided that he was going to stop taking the drugs. Now this is not only foolish in my opinion, but basically a death sentence. If he stops drugs there is a chance of him becoming resistant to the first (of only two) lines of treatment available to him in Zimbabwe. Although he is physically feeling much better his immune system was still severely injured and he would be at risk to fall sick quickly. The reason he gave me for why he was going to stop treatment was that he was a preacher and how could he continue to preach the healing power of God while taking these medications. I sat with him for some time and gave him the medical reasons why not to stop and when I realized this was not working tried to appeal to his religious side and convince him that he could be doing a great service to all people with HIV by living and stopping the stigma about HIV. He could be a witness to others by living this healthy lifestyle. After about 30 minutes of me listening to my own failing attempts at changing his mind I told him if he gets sick in the future he should come back sooner rather than waiting until he is really ill.
It was so discouraging to see someone improve so much and fail at convincing them to continue the improvement. It also struck me as slightly ironic that these two patients came back to back. The very obvious message that not everything works out as you plan it was blatantly clear.


Blogger diego the boxer said...

hey there!
i just spent an entire hour looking at photos from the past few months - of course it included photos from the wedding... its sooo hot in here today that it makes me want to go to st john... i was looking at my favorite photos at caneel bay, and one of them is the picture of the donkeys, with you & wanda smiling at them... ahhh, its almost a year soon!
your soccer story was so funny! it reminded me of my rat stories growing up back home in the philippines, hahaha, it was a battle between me & the rats as to who wakes up first in the morning... of course i won most of the time =)
anyways, when i was reading your story about the preacher, i feel that sometimes faith is the best healer for other people, esp for the religious ones. its really hard to believe this sometimes, but i think faith sometimes strenghtens & heals the soul, then the body starts feeling that too... faith becomes stronger during sickness, and that endless belief to becoming healed can be medicine to some people...
ok, i miss u too and hopefully i can send u some photos of the new apt when our renovations are finished....

7:46 PM  

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