My story has been in the making for a while now, luckily now I can only give you good news. When I was allowed to pick up little Patrick at the police station, he seemed to be a perfect healthy baby, chubby and in no time at all a small smile appeared on this face. Appearance deceives!
After my internship with the infectious diseases (read HIV, HIV and a lot of results of HIV) where I had a very informative time, I felt a bit gloomy about the chances of patients with HIV in Uganda to have good life. Every day the question was not if somebody would die, but especially WHO had passed. Partly because a lot of patients came too late to the hospital, but mainly because we just did not have the necessary means. A very sad situation, I cannot express myself in more adequate words.
Back to Patrick; A week after we received him it was not going well, he did not drink well and was diagnosed with malaria. But even after receiving treatment his situation did not improve much. A couple of days after I arrived in the Netherlands, I received a message, Patrick had been brought with urgency in the hospital. At admittance he had a cardiac arrest, while he was in the ICU and on artificial respiration. The diagnosis: an advanced HIV infection with meningitis, pneumonia and all that after being brought back to life. All this for a child of only 6 weeks old! A miracle that they were able to get him back at all, but there was little hope for the future. When I arrived back in Uganda a week later, little had changed. He was still in the ICU on artificial respiration. The day before my arrival, the hospital experienced a blackout. All equipment, including the respiration machine had stopped as Patrick did. The last bit of hope that we had, had evaporated, though he seemed to be going in the right direction. BUT … after two weeks he was allowed to be disconnected from the artificial respiration. He still had a long way to go, but certainly in less critical situation. He was now admitted to the normal ward and I was finally allowed to hold him and feed him.
Now he has been back home for a week, though still needing oxygen, but at home!!! The last couple of nights I have taken night shifts with others to take care of him. Day and night ever 2-3 hours a bottle and regularly medicine.
Tonight it is my turn again. The night tasks are: See if he can be without extra oxygen. Up until now he is doing better than expected. Is this a step in the right direction? Let’s hope so. Now I have hope again and am very thankful I can take care of him again.