Little E sings and whistles. She loses teeth and gets whiney when she’s tired. She is sweet and spicy rolled into one.
She knows HIV has been in her blood since her days of living in Uganda, Africa and she knows her favorite days do not include blood draws.
Little E knows she is loved and normal.
6:30 AM – Sister wakes her up and she drags her feet to the bathroom.
7:00 AM – She pushes her breakfast around on her plate, wishing for bacon instead of eggs. She pops six ART* tablets into her mouth along with a vitamin and swallows them with moisture droplets from the bottom corner of her pink cup. She stares at me oddly as I perform my swish routine to get my two vitamins down my own throat.
7:30 AM – She attends her local public school where her teachers know of her virus because we have chosen to tell them, not because it is required. We have chosen to disclose her status because we don’t want our girl to think the virus is something to hide.
8:00 AM-3:00 PM – Little E practices her addition facts and reads a book to her sister’s 4th grade class. She plays at recess and eats at the noisy lunch table with her fellow first-graders.
3:45 PM – She gets off the bus with her five siblings and squeezes her little brother waiting on the porch.
4:30 PM – She brings her big tears inside to show me her scraped elbow. I use a tissue to stop the bleeding and then spray and bandage it like I do all of my kids. I do not wear gloves. She is happy to wear the new bandages** that match the tone of her skin and returns to her bike riding.
5:00 PM – She runs an errand with me and her sidekick brother where I turn my Mom Magic and create a date by stopping for ice cream. Even though it’s actually dinner time. Sister and Brother try each other’s ice cream like cute siblings do.
7:30 PM – She brushes her teeth with her orange Crayola brush after popping her second dose of medicine. She hugs and kisses her mom and dad, prays for her cousin who is coming to visit next month and closes her eyes. It’s been a good day.
Our little girl will repeat a version of this day for years and years. And then more years. People treated with ART* are typically healthy and can expect to live a long life.
Two or three times a year, Little E sees a special doctor who talks to us about any possible side effects of the drugs she takes, adjusts dosages as necessary and makes sure she is healthy. She gets her blood drawn at the visit to make sure her viral load is still undetectable***.
We are forever indebted to other families who were open about their kids’ diagnosis of HIV. Without their voices, we would never have considered adopting our Little E.
Our girl is a World Changer who will never let her virus detain her!
*ART (AntiRetroviral Therapy) is a mixture of different medicines used to fight HIV.
**Tru-Color Bandages was developed by an adoptive dad. Check out their site!
***HIV, although forever in the bloodstream until the good Lord heals it, is considered undetectable when the viral load no longer shows up on a typical blood test.
5 Things to Know about HIV:
- HIV is transmitted in these body fluids: blood, sperm, vaginal fluid, breast milk. It in NOT found in tears, urine, spit or snot.
- There has never been a case of HIV transmitted in a typical household setting. Our kids are not having sex or using needles, therefore there is no risk to anyone in our home.
- For the virus to contaminate another, one of the four fluids must actually ENTER THE BLOOD STREAM, such as sharing needles or a blood transfer.
- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) destroys white blood cells. With fewer and fewer of these blood cells, the body can no longer fight off infection and this may lead to Auto Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) if left unchecked. People taking their medicine (ART), have a heathy amount of white blood cells and never develop AIDS. Hallelujah.
Spread the knowledge. Knowledge is powerful!