Monday, February 14, 2011


All of us spent a day doing visits with the Sisters (nurses) in Soweto.  I had the privilege of doing visits with Sister Maria.  She is known for having worked the longest at Hospice Wits...25 years...she could remember when they first started with a small house and an inpatient unit- where she first worked.  She and I visited several patients throughout the day and I want to share about one young man named Lucky.  Lucky was 36 years old and a brand new referral from another organization.  We had no phone number so we were going to show up and see if we could see him.  We wound through the small roads past the bustling neighborhoods and found the modest home with a few rose bushes growing in front.  We were greeted by his sister at the door.  His Granny had gone out and would be back shortly.  We went in and met with Lucky in his bedroom. A very strong odor and flies filled the room. The circumstance were difficult.  He had HIV, TB of the Spine, paralysis of the lower extremities, severe oral thrush, extensive decubitis all the way across the entire sacrum and new onset of severe pain in his R leg and knee for the last 2 weeks.  After explaining the program, completing Admission paperwork and signing consent Sister Maria discussed the option of admission to the inpatient unit.  Regardless of language I could see Lucky was unsure of this...he appeared afraid and did not want to leave his home.  Just like our patients at our Hospice..sometimes the unknown can  be more scary then difficult circumstances at home. After dressing changes with home made saline and some of the supplies actually brought on this trip were completed by Sister Maria and myself he felt more comfortable.  He agreed to go.  There was no transport available.  Sister Maria shared that often when there is no transport available they take patients in their car.  The family helped Lucky into the car.  The Granny, myself and the supplies were in the backseat and we took a quick drive to the Soweto Hospice office.  Lucky was helped into the unit and made comfortable.  Before we left and after he was settled into his bed I was able to visit with him again. I asked him what he thought as he lay in the bed with a much more relaxed look on his face.  He told me "I feel like I will feel better in this place...I feel it already in this place".  >>>>>>> Sunday we had barbecue at Dr. Patrick's home.  Sister Dorcas who oversees the Inpatient Unit told me that Lucky died at 1am the morning after he was admitted to the unit.  They had redressed his wound and found maggots.  They had given him a meal, juice, water and pain medicine and he had been so comfortable.  His Granny and family were able to come and spend time with him before he died.  They were thankful that he was comfortable.  I was privileged to have met him, to have seen the work that Sister Maria is doing and that we in some small way are working to support.  There are many ""Lucky"'s ....         -------Deb


  1. Hi All! It's great to be following your adventure.
    Happy VDay!

  2. hey Mrs. Deb, this is the 8th grade Language Arts class. We heard your story about Lucky. What a sad story. We will be praying for your visit there.

    Happy Valentines Day!! We love you. What you are doing is awesome.

    Emma, Mark, Rachel, Zach, Sam, Nick, Zaimah and Mrs. MacDonald

  3. Hi Mrs. McDonald's Class and my sweet Sarah...from South Africa. We are having a wonderful time with our Sister Hospice...they have a wonderful program and our doing great work and have taken great care of us. See you when I get back. Love, Deb/ Mom

  4. Deb,
    Your post about Lucky brought back specific memories of our trip in 2009. (Steve and I talked about it way into the night). The work our sister hospice is doing is on the highest level of human compassion. The suffering from this plague, AIDS seems almost unbearable. But then there are people who are willing to risk everything to place a salve on the pain and suffering.

    God bless and protect the care workers who encounter Luckys every day. - Cathy