Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Dickson was a private man. He died yesterday, an hour after I had quietly reassured him, "You're safe here. We'll take care of you." His core body temperature was 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 Fahrenheit). Dickson looked at me and smiled as I covered him with another blanket. We both knew he would die soon.
He came to us too late, suffering from end-stage AIDS. A kindly outreach worker in Homa Bay, two hours away, had brought Dickson to Maseno because he felt we would give him better care than the several district hospitals in between. But we couldn't do very much.
"Dickson has no one," Desmond told us. "We're his family. He's from the 'interior' -- a region with few roads, isolated from other villages. We know he's in bad shape, but we couldn't leave him there. He's only 28. He says he's been sick for a long time."
Wasted, weak, gaunt and cold, Dickson spent only four days on Ward I before he died. We fed him, bathed him, changed him, talked and prayed with him. It was too late for anything else -- ARV's, anti-TB's, even steroids. He never complained, and he always smiled.
"Whose son, whose friend, whose lover, whose brother was Dickson?" I wondered, as "Sister Helen" and I closed his eyes and wrote his name on the "strapping" (adhesive tape) that would bind his limbs together. "And how could he die alone?"
"But he didn't die alone," Desmond reminded me today. "You were with him, Dianne. "
God's peace, Dickson.
Posted by Dianne, Dee, Mom, Granny at 11:00 PM