Pathologic pick-a-boo - A patient encounter, Part 2
Do read Part 1 first. (See below.)
“Will he understand?”
“Probably so,” I answered. “If not, we can review it each time he is here so that he knows more about why he is taking the medicines."
I turned to the young child. He was seated on a black plastic and metal chair. I envied his posture. Looking at him, I began to also envy his style. He wore a pressed, red and white, short-sleeved, plaid, button-down shirt and baggy khaki pants, the kind with plenty of extra pockets.
“Monde, how are you today?”
“I am fine,” he said.
I gave a hyperbolic fist pump in the air, the celebratory and mildly obnoxious kind.
Monde smiled. It was an ungnarled smile. His brown irises were centered perfectly and still within paper-white eyes. His cheeks were full and wartless.
The TB soup around his brain was gone, and he had the face of a child again.
I talked to him about his soldier cells and how they were getting stronger on ARVs.
“The soldier cells were three [percent] before, and they are now six! Imagine when they get to ten, or even twenty! You are going to be very strong.”
I dramatically flexed my arms to show him how strong he was going to be. (Don’t roll your eyes, dear reader; kids like that kind of stuff.)
When I finished 'HIV-for-seven-year-olds 101', I asked Monde's mother if there was anything else.
“I told Monde that he would be on the medicines for life,” she responded.
I extended my arm, holding out my clenched fist; Monde did the same, hitting his knuckles softly against mine.
“Well, that is going to be a long time."