I haven’t had a peaceful sleep since my mother’s diagnosis

You are currently viewing I haven’t had a peaceful sleep since my mother’s diagnosis

My mother has three children. We are two girls and a boy. Growing up, she is all we’ve ever had. As a single mother, she had done everything possible in her power to give us education so that we would have access to the kind of opportunities she never had. There’s nothing this woman wouldn’t sacrifice for us. I believe if she was given a choice to make a deal with the devil to guarantee a good future for us, she would do it. That’s how much she loves us.
I am the oldest among my siblings. And all three of us live with our mother in a single-room apartment that is so small there is not enough space even to put a mat on the floor. We have to strategically position ourselves to get good sleep every night. Through all our struggles, our only hope is that we will be in a better position some day and be able to take good care of our mother. And give her closure from all her troubles.
Currently, I am in my final year in nursing school. My younger sister is also in the nursing training college. Our brother is in the high school. It is my mother who single-handedly provides for our needs.
One Wednesday afternoon, I was in school when my mother called to ask me a question that has altered our lives ever since. She said: “I took some laboratory tests and they are refusing to give me the results. They’re rather directing me to a certain unit in the hospital. What does that mean?” She sounded panicked so I asked her to calm down and tell me exactly what happened.
According to her, she wasn’t feeling well so she went to the hospital. After she narrated her symptoms they requested some lab tests. The lab results were sent back to the doctor, but she (the doctor) did not tell my mother the diagnosis. Rather, she asked a nurse to escort my mum to a different unit.
My mum was concerned because of the secrecy with which they were treating her case. So she didn’t follow the nurse. Rather, she called me to explain to her what happens in the unit she was referred to. As difficult as it was for me to say, I told her; “That’s the HIV unit.” Her first reaction was: “Why would they take me there? I am not infected. I haven’t even been with a man in years.”
Denial is common in people who have just received news that they have an illness they don’t expect to get – more especially, one that has a horrible stigma as HIV.
Although medical advancement has made it possible for people to live with the condition and be perfectly healthy, my mother threatened to end her life. I begged her not to do anything drastic, and that I would be home the next day to take her to another lab. I did as promised and went home to take her to a different lab. They also ran their tests and confirmed that she was positive. She knows almost half of the staff at the first hospital she attended so I took her to a different hospital for counseling and medication. Initially, she didn’t want to take the drugs but I appealed to her maternal instincts. “Please, take the medicine so that you can live a healthy life. You know you are all we have,” I implored her.
She has now started the medication but she is convinced that her illness is spiritual. “I have gone to different churches. And all the pastors have said my sickness is spiritual. They say it will take God’s intervention for me to survive this. Whoever gave me this sickness wants me to die in a way that will bring disgrace to my remains.”
I have tried so hard to convince her that the medication will work but she keeps asking me: “Are you sure of what you are saying? Will I truly live a long and healthy life?”
My heart breaks every time she asks me these questions. I haven’t had a peaceful sleep since her diagnosis. She has been in a state of constant fear and sobbing. I know she is a strong woman. If anyone can get through this, it’s her. So I pray she gets better soon. She needs to live for us to repay her for all the struggles she endured just to give us better lives.

Leave a Reply