Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"I almost died..."

“I almost died…”

Last week, a patient was admitted after I had already left for the day. I greeted her and introduced myself the following morning when I saw her. She was quite obviously young and very sick. She told me her name was Fatima and she is 22 years old. I realized quickly that her English was very good so we’d be able to communicate easily. As I’ve gotten to know her a little bit better, I’ve realized what an amazing young woman she is.

She began to tell me her story. She is an AIDS orphan and has lived with her Grannie and her 2 Uncles for the past few years. Once she became ill with HIV and TB, her Grannie became very angry and ashamed. She told that her Uncles were always at work or drunk. Her Grannie ignored her even though she can no longer walk or take care of herself. Over the past few months, her Grannie began beating her severely. She rolled up her sleeves to show me the bruises which were horrible. She was talking through her tears.

I reassured her that she was safe at the Respite Unit and that no one could hurt her any longer. I also told her that she’d be very well taken care of. It was a very touching situation to talk to someone who had been through so much at such a young age. I felt a very strong connection to her as she opened up her heart to me. She said that the night before she was “rescued” her family was denying her water. Fatima told me bluntly, “ I almost died…”

This young girl looked death straight in the face and fought on. I am in awe of her. Later that day, she told me that she used to be a chef before she got so sick. Her passion for cooking and serving food was obvious. I told her about the few (and I mean like 2) meals I know how to cook. I’m hoping to write down some of her recipes as time goes on. She is truly an inspiration and I look forward to getting to know her better.

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