Journalism students – “This is reality”

Journalism student Stella writes:

Thank you for the opportunity to write a blog for kickingthebucket.co.uk. Exploring it has inspired me to write more on the subject; because as sad is it is, this is reality. My blog link is starryeyessite.wordpress.com

African mother and child 2

When Truphena was told that her son had Cerebral Palsy and that he may never walk, the world around her came crushing down. She had never felt so alone, felt so out of her depth like she did now. She looked at the little being lying on the hospital bed so helpless, not at all aware of what the future lay for him. Things were going to be very different not just for him, but for her too. She picked him up and held him in her arms, tears trickling down her cheeks as she felt a gush of affection she’d never felt before. She didn’t hear the rest of what the doctor said to her, it all sounded like a distant murmur.  When she left the hospital later that day, she knew all they had was each other and she vowed to do everything she could to protect him.

See Truphena was only 17 when she found out that she was pregnant. She was barely an adult and all of a sudden she was faced with the responsibility of taking care of another human being. She was shunned by everyone around her, even her parents did not spare her. She had to drop out of school. The future seemed bleak, loneliness threatened to swallow every part of her entity until all was left was a shell that was too numb to feel the pain anymore. Loneliness became the only dependable friend. She came from a village where giving birth out of wedlock was considered shameful, it was a taboo. She was now an outcast, with no-one to educate her on what to expect during pregnancy. She pretty much carried on with her pregnancy without attending any ante-natal classes. She had to grow up quick, become independent. She worked odd jobs to sustain herself and in preparation for the new arrival. So when she found out about the baby’s condition she decided to leave for the city to seek medical attention.

The next months were spent with her going from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, her hopes had been raised so many times and her heart broken just as much. She had spent so much money and time; trips to the hospital had become her daily routine. Every penny she could scrape together was spent on his consultations and medication. He was always on her back; she carried him everywhere even when she balanced the basket of mangoes on her head as she sold them to travellers. She had walked those narrow hospital corridors and witnessed so much agony; there were women with cancer, men in their last stages of H.I.V, children battling terminal disease; there was pain; disease; people struggling with their ailing bodies. The place always had a pungent smell of disinfectant that stayed with her long after she left the building.

As the days trudged on, his condition worsened. Truphena seized every opportunity to spend as much time as she could with her son. She sung to him every night till he fell asleep. She could not fathom the thought of life without him, he was her best friend. She did not lose hope even on that fateful morning. She was carrying on as usual when all of a sudden he began vomiting vehemently. She quickly rushed him to the nearest hospital. The impact of the nausea made his body jerk as shivers ran through him. She had this nagging feeling at the pit of her stomach, he did not look good, he was in total pain. His breathing became heavy and laboured, his eyes glazed over. He tried to cough but could not. There was a priest, doing his rounds. The doctor signalled to him to come over. He was dressed in an immaculately white rob which made him appear divine. She placed her son on her lap as the priest took some form of oil and made the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. Truphena closed her eyes. There were groans of pain, a baby’s cry of pain, a mother’s despair, the whole world on her shoulder. This was a heavy cross to bear of humanity and their failing bodies.

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