Real Medicine

The Girl with the Smile

She is here for a nerve conduction test and an assessment of her Thalidomide regimen.

Thalidomide: The morning sickness wonder-drug-turned-teratogenic-horror that gave birth to deformed and ill babies.

It has some wonderful other uses. Crohn’s Disease and Myelodisplasia run from this drug. And mycobacteria hate the drug too. But special permission is required to use such a potent drug.

She had an IRIs-reaction to starting TB medication a year ago and suddenly had TB-abscesses in her midbrain. Her cerebellar function declined and she neared death.

She’s better now, her abscesses microscopic. Her dose is being halved.

The first thing she asks me is, “When can I go back to school?”

This girl who fought for survival, who lives in a shack and attends a struggling school, wants to go back. She wants to learn. She enjoys practising her English with me, and attempts to teach me to speak Xhosa (I am dismal).

She knows the cerebellar tests by heart, and loves them. She shows me how good she is at balancing and pointing.

I’m used to shy eight-year-old, wilting daisies.

How refreshing to meet this girl. She is the future.

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8 thoughts on “The Girl with the Smile”

  1. I checked our your website and enjoyed it’s clean look. Stopped in for a Sharefest visit.

    I enjoyed your blog about the child wanting to go school. As a teacher I love those kinds of students.

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