Wednesday, 12 September 2007

The story of the man with the swollen head

Our daily staff reviews of people with HIV who have been visited in their homes is a mixture of the grim and joyous (with the former usually predominating the mix).

Today we talked about Mr. Indramani (name changed of course).

Indramani had come to us some months ago with a huge swelling on the side of his face. He needed urgent hospitalisation and drainage of the pus to have any hope of survival. On that very day a veteran surgeon from South India was visiting us. He stripped down to his undershirt and did the operation on the spot! Mr. Indramani went home with a far smaller face and a new life.

Sadly the old life that was on the inside of this dear man has not changed.

Today we reviewed his condition. He is sick. Coughing. No appetite. Lost weight. Feverish.

TB if there ever was such a thing.

Problem is that he has few options right now. He is estranged from his wife - though she still comes and brings him food. He has run away from the govt. hospital at least once before, so they will not care for him. He has relied on his sister to care for him - which she has done in the past - but she is sick too.

Life with HIV is not only about the virus. It is also about the varied detritus that makes up our lives.

His comment today? "I don't want to take any tablets. Give me medicines that I can take in syrups."

So many times our staff have faithfully gone to meet him. So many inputs and sharings with him. It seems horrible to see this man who has had so much done for him slipping away. But unless he turns his own rudder in the direction of life, he will continue to drift to destruction.

As much as we feel helpless in this situation (and many like it) we have to just continue doing the steps that we can. Meet. Talk. Listen. Pray.

Only eternity will tell the outcome of Mr. Indramani's life - and our lives with him.

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