FOR BETTER OR WORSE?
“MY WIFE IS HIV POSITIVE.”
I watched the tears form a mist in his glasses as he struggled to keep the tears from falling. His attempt to put up a brave front failing completely in that brief moment of human frailty. I felt pity for him; my own hardened demeanour softening with this display of affection. Concerned for him, I stopped what I was doing to focus on him.
HE WAS NOT THE PATIENT.
The patient was his wife. She lay there, a shadow of a human being, her skeletal structure easily envisioned, as if trying to liberate itself from underneath her pale, sagging skin. She groaned in acute pain, vomiting continuosly.
SHE WAS HIV POSITIVE.
He wasn’t. Amazingly, they had been married several years despite being a young couple. Their last child was six. All three children were also HIV negative. My attention went back to him, with a new found respect and admiration, I saw the love in his eyes as he looked upon his sick wife, I noticed the gentle way he had cared for her while in the hospital, and now this, tears. Tears of fear; the woman whom he loves wasn’t getting any better despite being on drugs.
THE OBVIOUS QUESTIONS:
When did she contract the virus? How did she contract it? Most importantly, how had the children and more especially, the husband escaped from being infected?
Unfortunately, this is not an article about how some individuals are naturally immune to the HIV virus despite adequate exposure to it (scientifically proven).
The love of a husband who sticks with his wife in her time of greatest need, who stands by her despite public ridicule, who loves her despite imperfections; and who will stick with her come what may. A husband who refuses to be judgemental but accepts his fate knowing there are no guarantees in life.
I did what little I could to allay their fears and concerns; I even told the story of the lady with HIV and TB who got better just to reassure them. As they left, a new found hope in their eyes, I learnt a valuable lesson about life.
So are you for better or worse?
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