The Ethiopian Doctor

31 Jan

                                             In my last post I shared about having to take our daughter to the ER for seizures.  It was on 12-1-10, World’s Aids Day.  I thought it was interesting to be at the ER on World Aids Day.   I was given lots of opportunities to talk with doctors and nurses about “our story.”  A few young doctors in their residency asked when did I find out she had HIV…like did I know before I adopted her.  One doctor gave me a high-five when I told him we knew we were adopting a HIV positive child.  (It was a little weird, but neat at the same time.)  All of the nurses and doctors were so kind and sweet to my daughter.  This was a pleasant surprise.

If you remember from this post, I used to drive four hours to Dallas to the ARMS clinic, because of a bad experience with this children’s hospital that is an hour away.  When your child is having seizures you don’t drive to Dallas.  I had no choice but to give this closer hospital a chance.  I later learned that the PID doctors that had refused to help with our embassy paperwork had left or retired.  During our stay I never felt like anyone acted ignorant about HIV.  Everyone was supportive and kind.  (We now feel 100% comfortable with our closer hospital and PID clinic and will no longer drive to Dallas.  We loved working with Dr. Barton at the ARMS clinic, but the drive was getting difficult.)

The most memorable doctor we had during our hospital stay was an Ethiopian doctor.  It was about 3:00 AM when we admitted to our hospital room.  My daughter had just fallen asleep and was finally resting after hours of screaming in the ER.   So this doctor comes in and starts asking questions to help asses this new patient sent to her floor.  I tell her about the seizure and about that our daughter is HIV positive and was adopted from Ethiopia.  Then she said, “I am from Ethiopia.”  She paused and then started speaking softly.  She said she was having a hard time controlling her emotions.  She said that she was so touched that we would adopt a HIV child.  At this point we were both crying.  (I was so exhausted and emotionally drained.  It did not take much to get me crying.)  She kept saying thank you, thank you.  She told me some about caring for HIV/AIDS patients back in Ethiopia.  She told me that she plans to return to Ethiopia once she finishes her residency.  She also shared that she has a foster son back home that has HIV and has lost both of his parents to AIDS.   It was a very touching conversation that I will never forget.

Talking with this amazing Ethiopian woman made me think that we, as Americans, don’t really get the HIV/AIDS crisis that part of the world faces.  I mean HIV/AIDS does not emotionally affect most Americans.  We have a World’s AIDS day for education, but then go back to not thinking about it.  Other countries are faced with the AIDS crisis everyday.  Most Americans will never look into the eyes of a child who has lost both parents to AIDS.  This doctor has.  Most American doctors won’t know or understand HIV/AIDS like this Ethiopian doctor, who has lived to help HIV/AIDS patients and plans to return to Ethiopia to help some more.


3 Responses to “The Ethiopian Doctor”

  1. Becky Burk February 1, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    What a great story thanks so much for sharing. When I meet someone from Africa and they learn that we adopted our son from Ethiopia I would say that 98% of the time they start crying. It’s always so odd for me b/c we feel like WE are the ones who were blessed with our son and not the other way around but like you said, people who have lived in that situation I suppose can really relate to what our child’s life would have been like had he not been adopted.

  2. Jennifer February 3, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    I love this post and such a beautiful story. I am a reader on the HIV adoption loop and currently in Russia finalizing our adoption of our daughter. She is 2 today. I look forward getting to know everyone on the loop once we get home. Which I pray is next week.

    • Kay February 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Congrats on the adoption. Our oldest daughter was born in Russia. We were there in March 2005. I loved Russia and hope to go back again one day. Enjoy your stay and try to soak it all in. Praying everything goes smoothly with the courts and you get home soon. I am glad you found our blog. I look forward to hearing more about your story too.

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