The worst day of my life was probably a few weeks ago. Around mid-February. Due to the bill for my delivery that I had been given by my doctor, 300k (naira) I decided to look for a cheaper and equally as close place to give birth. My doctor had warned me that I would not get it any cheaper than that because of my status, but I decided to try anyway.
I went to the hospital where my friend’s sister gave birth because I heard it was only 180k for a CS. I asked for the doctor from the nurses and receptionists in the very crowded hospital, and for some reason it seemed I had committed a sin. There was a lot of whispering and turning to look at me, over and over again. I guess they just did not understand why a heavily-pregnant woman would want to see the main gynaecologist without registering. Anyway, finally they told him,and he came OUT of his office, stood by the stairway, and asked me to hurry up with what I had to say. When I mentioned my status, he immediately asked if it was my HIV status and said he actually did not deliver ‘them’ in his hospital. ‘They have a centre in LUTH, I actually used to send them there until I heard of my colleague who delivers them not far off.’ I asked what was so special about delivering HIV + women, and he said a lot of things have to be prepared for the delivery but he never asked his colleague how he does it for ‘them’. He then gave me directions to the hospital where ‘they’ were attended to, and he went back in.
My doctor had told me that it was difficult to get a colleague who could perform the surgery I needed (Caesarean) because HIV+ people were discriminated against among doctors. I thought it was a lie until this happened. He said he brought it up in the meeting they usually have and many of them verbally put him down. They asked why he wasn’t sending them to their centre and why he was bothering. some said they never wanted to know their status. Doctors! How will the stigma ever end? And even in the centre which is a great distance away from most places, the way the people are handled is appalling. A queue that goes on for days because there are only a few people to answer to everybody, and I can imagine the kind of insult such people receive.
Anyway, I went to the hospital that attended to ‘them’, only to find out that the MD was unavailable. I never went back again, though, because the place didn’t look too clean or organised.
Telling my mum about my status was quite difficult but it was probably the best decision. However, now she bothers me to go to some pastor we both know, to be prayed for, so I can be healed. I have been going there for weeks now – believe it or not- but suddenly I am tired. Is God not enough? Must I chase miracles? And I am not also comfortable with his mountain of fire type of prayers. In truth, though, I guess I am a bit disappointed because I was prayed for and I went to do a blood test again, and it was still positive. A part of me considers it silly, to ask for healing for an illness that has been said to have no cure, to start looking for miracles in church, like all those ‘other people’.But though this illness is not a death sentence, the stress of attending to it, and taking care of yourself is killing, not to mention expensive.
In an unrelated development, my mum will come in a week to see me, before she returns, again, in 3 weeks, for the birth.. I had wanted to see my mum for years in my place in Lagos, I just never knew it woukd be under these circumstances. How she will manage with me in one room in someone else’s house is a problem for me. I wonder if the people will show her respect, how she will eat (presently, I mostly make my own food), everything. I feel like a disappointment as a child; now when she should sit back and enjoy the fruit of her labour, she has to attend to an adult child, with no income and no house, who has an incurable disease, and is having a child for a man at large. After all she has gone through for her kids. Honestly, not that I am ungrateful for this place or anything,but, even in this state that I am, if I find a more private place to go to, a place of my own, I will leave without thinking about it. I wonder what I’ll do after the birth. How I’ll get a house, when there obviously seems to be no in-road here. Already, my friend’s 10 year old son walks past me without greeting me, for reasons best known to him.Ordinarily, that would not have even caught my attention, but the mixture of hormones and circumstances make things hurt more than usual.
Still, I thank God. I’m expecting a part payment for a job I did for some people in SA. If that comes I can cover 2/3rds of the hospital bill and still have a little money to buy some baby things. Fingers crossed.