Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Senzo and the doll - A patient encounter

Dolls in Exam Room 8

Senzo was pretending to breastfeed a doll when I walked in the exam room. He sat beside his mother and infant sister, holding the head of the stuffed toy firmly to his tummy. Occasionally, he would tug at his jacket to try to move it out of the hungry doll’s way.

He looked up at me gave me one of those hey-look-at-me-look-what-I-am-doing looks.

“Aren’t you going to be a good big brother!” I dutifully told him in response. He did not understand a single word of English, but his smile suggested that he understood the sentiment.

Senzo wore rainbow-patterned flipflops, baggy corduroy pants, and a grey and maroon sweatshirt. He was small but bouncy.

When I examined him, he seemed no less excited than if I had been passing out candy dressed up as Disney’s Mickey Mouse. He watched every move with amazement.

Watching the child watch me, I too felt amazed. Senzo was one of Baylor’s many success stories here in Swaziland. When Senzo was a year old, his CD4 was below 500. Now, thanks to a few pills and careful follow-up, his count is nearly four times that, well within the normal range.
After refilling Senzo’s ARVs, I turned to his mom. "Are you going to get Senzo’s little sister tested?" I asked.

“Yes. Next time I am at the clinic,” the mom replied.

“Good. If the baby tests positive, we will take very good care of her, just like we have taken very good care of Senzo.”


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