Thandiwe came to our Respite Unit in May of 2012 very young and very afraid. She knew very little English and was extremely quiet to boot. In the first few weeks of care and treatment Thandiwe was simply too weak to move in and out of bed. While her ARV initiation had commenced, the results seemed non-existent. At the young and volatile age of 21, Thandiwe, the tiny scrap that she was, was dying of AIDS. The carers and nurses worked tirelessly to bring some life back into her, continuing treatment, pushing fluids, but above all, raining unconditional love and care over Thandiwe.
Nosipho is a woman in her late twenties/early thirties, but when she arrived in the Respite Unit she looked like she could have been 15. She was emaciated and incredibly underweight, positive for both HIV and TB, and had a very painful groin infection. This combination was a recipe for disaster and for the first month or so of her stay with us, she was often reluctant to get out of bed because the pain was so bad or because she simply felt too weak.
Sandile originally came to us from the Western Cape and has been a patient in the Respite Unit for almost 7 months now. When he arrived he was completely wheelchair-bound and his feet and legs were enlarged and covered in boils. Through various conversations, we learned that his girlfriend had passed away from AIDS, and he was now trying to support his daughter and his girlfriend’s family using the disability grant money he gets from the government each month.