Monday, April 5, 2010

LIVING AND DYING WITH AIDS



Friends,
Today we admitted to our in patient ward in the clinic, a 40 year old woman, suffering with AIDS and Tuberculosis. The family had gone to the National Hospital, that cares for AIDS patients; she had been a patient there for the last two months and they signed a release to bring her home. They had reason to do so. I had called the hospital and was informed by the nurse that she was doing fine and there was no reason for the family to discharge her. That was not true. She had not been eating, she was unable to bathe herself, her skin was black with the dirt, she had diarrhea and she had a severe wound in her hand caused by an infiltration of an intravenous fluid.

On admittance to our clinic, we found her severely dehydrated and febrile; we bathed her, cleaned her hand wound and dressed it, started intravenous fluid and gave her a little fruit and she brightened up. Surely if the family had not taken the initiative to take her from the hospital she would be dead in a few days. Her husband died of AIDS! This is often the situation. Unfortunately there is a stigma to have this disease; patients are often shunned by their family and neighbors. Most do not seek care so the statistics do not tell the real truth. Our Clinic lab is able to diagnose HIV, AIDS. The nearest health center for antivirals is two hours by bus; this medication is provided by the Health Ministry. We have a mayan psychologist, who lives in a nearby community; he dedicates his time and energy to
to accompany these patients. The Clinica Maxe├▒a would like to hire him part time but our budget does not allow this. Most of these patients who we take in to our infirmary are very poor and have little family support. You can help us by making a donation to the NURSES FUND of which I include the address. Thank You for your support and prayers for those we serve. Pray for Manuela and others who suffer and for us that we may help them find comfort and peace.

Send your donation to:
Guatemala Mission (Note for NURSES FUND OR CLINIC)
PO BOX 1729
Helena, MT
59624

Sheila