Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sister? Kuja/Come

Judith, 22, was admitted to the hospital yesterday afternoon, HIV positive, feverish, emaciated and mute. She had been beaten by her disappointed family after she returned home, newly-diagnosed with AIDS. Judith had dropped out of Form 2 (10th grade) to live with her boyfriend. He broke up with her when she became sick.

Our friends at Christ's Hope, an area outreach agency, brought her to Maseno Mission Hospital. They were en route with another patient in their van when they saw Judith being pushed up our long red road in a wheelbarrow by a young girl. We admitted Judith, started IV fluids and began basic diagnostic tests and treatment.

This morning we learned that, before beating her, Judith's grandmother and older sister had shamed her for not attending a charismatic healing service to "cure" her AIDS. After she became hysterical, they took her to a mental hospital. There she was given a double dose of Largactil (Thorazine) and sent home -- whereupon her younger sister intervened.

Judith became more alert, but then agitated, on our ward as the evening progressed. She had a difficult night, pacing the floor and trying to leave. The staff nurses repeatedly coaxed her back to bed. But she was resting quietly by morning rounds, and her fever (possibly a reaction to the anti-psychotic medication) was down.

This afternoon, as I was working nearby, Judith softly called me to her bedside: "Sister? Kuja/Come." I reached out to hold her hand and then leaned close to hear her. She looked into my eyes and said in a slow, clear voice, "I love you with the love of God."

I couldn't hide my tears. I said, "I love you, too, Judith. Your sister loves you. And God loves you. With all this love, and with the doctors' help, you are going to get better. I promise. Do you know where you are right now?"

"I'm in Maseno Hospital," she replied coherently.

"Yes. And you are safe here. Can I get you a sip of maji/water?"

"Just hold my hand," Judith responded.

We gently held hands until she fell asleep.

Please pray for Judith, her family and families everywhere.


kate said...

I will... and for you, too. I love you!


Nancy Rowe said...

I did, for both you and Judith. It is times like that, when I say "you are standing on Holy Ground". Bless you as you and your flip flops do just that!