Terry and I first met 32 year old Sam about a year and one half ago when he was admitted to the hospital with HIV, TB and Cryptococcal Meningitis. Initially he was very wasted and mentally obtunded. As he slowly recovered we met the real Sam, a pleasant man with with a huge smile. He spent nearly 2 months in the hospital so we got to know Sam and his mother quite well. Our donors paid his hospital bills and he eventually made it home. Unfortunately Sam and his family could not afford Fluconazole, a medication to prevent return of his Cryptococcal Meningitis. Sam did well for a few months then his condition deteriorated. He was too weak to come in for his HIV medications so one of the counselors would deliver his medications to him and update us on his progress.
Last October Sam’s mother could no longer care for him and brought him back to the hospital. He had been lying in bed so long that he had the worst bed sores that I have ever seen. Both hip bones were exposed with sores involving more than 1/2 of each buttocks. Sam was barely conscious and was obviously septic from his wounds. I seriously thought about not treating his infection thinking there was no possible way Sam could recover. As I pondered what to do Sam whispered, “help me Doctor”. Sam made the decision for me and we started antibiotics and daily cleansing of his wounds. Dr Laura Dooley had just brought us a large supply of Fluconazole so we started Sam back on it. Slowly Sam showed improvement and his smile returned.
Around Christmas Terry and I realized Sam was just not going to give up. We also realized his
wounds were never going to heal on his primarily carbohydrate diet. We began supplying Sam with sardines, peanuts and eggs to increase his protein intake. I also tried to see Sam during his dressing changes at least once a week and cauterize his wounds with silver nitrate. Gradually Sam started gaining some weight and his wounds became smaller. With determination Sam got out of bed and began walking with the aid of a walker. His mobility slowly increased and Terry and I had to walk through out the Hospital to find Sam for his protein deliveries. Sam’s smile was never bigger than yesterday when he was finally discharged. He will be staying near the hospital so he can continue with dressing changes until the last of his wounds are completely healed. Terry and I feel blessed to be a witness to one man’s determination and a real miracle!