|Mai Mufundisi chose death over ART|
|Friday, 29 June 2012 12:04|
Testing HIV positive when one has walked through the VCT doors or a New Start Centre when one is healthy and testing HIV positive when ill or when pregnant all present different reactions. The acceptance levels in these different cases vary from person to person.
I recently had a bereavement of someone I held dear — a mentor, advisor, friend and aunt. My aunt, who was the last born in my father’s family, was a unifier and loved people in general. She had looked after the extended family from her husband’s side and her own. Orphans from the church and the community had been raised by her. She had a huge heart — love flowed out of her.
Maybe this could be traced back to who she was. My aunt was married to a priest and was Mai Mufundisi. She had lived in many communities by the nature of their calling. She knew several districts in Zimbabwe like the palm of her hand and was well versed with their customs too.
When the need to build her own homestead arose my aunt did not hesitate to do so. They settled for Wedza. Neither aunt nor babamukuru hails from there but it was their retirement choice.
With the building completed, my aunt became a permanent resident in Wedza visiting the husband who continued with his work elsewhere. No one knows when temptation called but my aunt believed that they were old enough and trusted each other to handle life in that manner. This will be evident as you read on.
Like all people aunt got a fever. She phoned one of her children who is abroad and the son got in touch with our uncle (babamudiki), who is the only surviving male on my father’s side. Baba, as we all call him, did not hesitate to ask his sister to come over to Harare to seek treat- ment.
Since aunt was a wonderful woman most relatives trooped to see her. She was still the same old aunt — jovial, offering advice and asking everyone about their families. Meanwhile, the son abroad had sent funds so that aunt be attended to by a doctor. This was duly done.
It was found out that she had renal failure. She was commenced on haeomodialysis at a private hospital. Everyone expected her to recover. She had faith that she would get well and recited Psalm 91. She was a prayer warrior.
A month and a half into dialysis aunt continued to deteriorate. The family panicked. The doctor ran further tests and although aunt was not coughing she was found to have tuberculosis. This was a blow to the family but a relief because the doctor knew what to do now.
At the public hospital they normally offer counselling and testing of HIV to all their patients. Baba, who always accompanied aunt for treatment, told the hospital staff that an HIV test was not necessary.
The health staff allowed aunt to commence TB treatment without taking an HIV test. It was on the second visit that the sister-in-charge who had attended them on the first visit pointed out that there could be an underlying cause since she was not responding to medication.
“If that will make me recover let the test be done. They have done several tests so what harm will this one do to me. It will clear the air because I am not HIV positive,” aunt said.
The news was shattering to her and baba. Baba phoned babamukuru asking him to come to his home as a matter of urgency. When babamukuru arrived the debate was stormy with baba accusing him of infecting his sister.
I am told babamukuru was equally surprised but made a confession that during the three years they stayed apart some seven years ago when aunt was building their retirement home, he was seeing another woman.
The son abroad was informed and took leave from work. In the meantime everyone tried to talk sense into aunt. Baba asked me to talk to her on positive living. I told her that she could get onto the path to recovery if she first accepted her status.
“You must be mad. Who will see Mai Mufundisi being initiated on ART? If this is what it has to be so be it,” aunt retorted.
“I have forgiven you my husband. When I die may I be buried right here in town. Give the house to our son,” she said and before anyone could answer she closed her eyes and breathed her last.
“I am taking father to see a doctor,” said the son immediately after burial of aunt at Warren Hills Cemetery.
He phoned me with a sad intonation.
He obliged. The liver test results did not look good. There was an anomaly. Further tests revealed he had liver cancer.
medical bills and nurse aide services if the need arises. Please assist me and look after my father,” he begged.
“We lost mum and we cannot lose father just like that,” he said.
Now that the man had refused to be treated they had to take him home as requested.
As duty called, the son flew back to Atlanta, Georgia. Babamukuru flatly refused even to take a painkiller, he has retired to Wedza.