Thursday, May 31, 2012
39 year old Innocence came into the OPD on Monday complaining of abdominal and leg swelling of a month’s duration. Examination revealed multiple hard nodules throughout his abdomen, enlarged lymph nodes everywhere and extremely swollen legs. I explained to Innocence that he likely had widespread cancer but biopsy was needed to confirm this. I referred him to nearby Mbingo Hospital for the biopsy but he was very hesitant to go because of the anticipated cost. Still with a smile on his face he told me “this will be my HIV.” Since he had recently had a negative HIV test I asked him what he meant. He replied “surely this will kill me the same as HIV would”. Like many of our patients with cancer or cardiac problems, he will likely not go for further care as he financially is unable to afford it. Accepting that we can not do everything for every patient here can be difficult at times. I have to trust that God has me here to help where I can with the resources available.