Eight years old, eight kilograms. Amnat was completely conscious and perfectly lucid. He would remain so until his last moment. His mother was at his bedside. She didn't have, for her part, more than thirty kilograms. Her spouse who brought the virus home had been on the other side of death for five years.

The boy knew that other children had passed before him on this bed, children that went on to be treated with expensive and effective medicines. He also quickly understood that he would not get the same treatment. I had decided in cold blood. It was too late to help him. He shouldn't be separated from his mother. The certitude that her son would die before her was the source of a strange happiness for her.

Enough said? Nearly.

The child didn't die. After a month I cracked. I negotiated with the Germans that they would take charge of both mother and son if, with 'blind' antiretroviral therapy I could make the child survive for two more months. They agreed, but were sure that the child would not survive the heavy therapy. So I administered the antiretroviral therapy.I only prolonged the boy's torment, or so I thought. Until, after about ten days he asked me himself stop the treatment.He died the following day.

The 'orphan' mother entered my ward of her own accord about a fortnight later. She had no special symptoms, nothing at all in fact, but weariness. I sent her back to her room with psycho tonics.

Nevertheless she came back, she'd stopped eating, no longer drank. I agree to rehydrate her intravenously. The next day she asked me to remove the drip.

- Is Amnat calling you?

- Yes, he calls me.

I removed the drip and a few hours later she died.Hope can be a fearful poison.










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