Friday, August 7, 2009

"Jenny, this is your friend Mpumelelo..."

During one of my first weeks working at the Respite Unit, I walked in and saw a large crib set up. I was worried to look inside. The first few weeks working at the Respite were very challenging and I wasn't sure I was up for yet another SHOCK. I was called over and found a very sick, severely wasted (thin) young little boy. I was absolutely floored when I found out that he was 14 years old. He looked about 7 or 8.

I found out that his name was Mpumelelo and that he had virtually no family taking care of him. He was in such bad shape and was in extreme pain. I spent the next days with him and I think I actually wrote about him in an earlier (much earlier) blog. In any case, I have kept tabs on him because we transferred him to Don McKenzie Tuberculosis Hospital. I have to drive there at least 200,000 times a week so I would always go visit him and give him "sweets." He ended up being there for months.

As a nice little incentive, I told him that when he was released, I'd take him to Wimpy (a local fast food chain). I wrote down my phone number and told him to call when he was out of the hospital. He finally called and we made a plan. My roommate Katie and I took him a couple of weeks ago. He was so happy to be out and have a fun day. It was a great day and a great reminder that not everyone here dies. Many of my patients use every ounce of courage they can muster and they fight back. "Lelo" is definitly a SUCCESS story.

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