The soft voice on the other end of the phone belonged to a 40 something year old African American woman who lives in rural north AL approximately 2 and 1/2 hours from our clinic. She had just found out that she was HIV Positive this week. I called at her physician’s request.
“I don’t have a way to get there,” she said early in our conversation.
“Do you have a family member or a friend who has a car who could bring you to see us?” I added, “Our social workers have gas vouchers that can help with the cost of gas.”
“I live with my mother and daughter, and we don’t have a car. I don’t have any friends,” she said matter of factly. We walk to where we need to go in town.”
I encouraged her to think of people she knew, or people that her mother or daughter knew who could possibly bring her. I told her about the realistic hope of new treatments for HIV and how we wanted to take good care of her and that it would be ok.
She reluctantly agreed to ask around and would call me back if she found anyone. I felt myself losing hope.
I told her I would call her in a week or so if I didn’t hear from her. “Thank you” she said a little more softly this time, “I’ll try.”
I hung up the phone and just sat there. Dang it, there ought to be a way when it’s too far to walk.