[quick editorial note: I turned comment moderation on for old posts but forgot to set Blogger to email me when there was a comment needing moderation. Oops. Sorry if you're the commenter who sat waiting so long.]
In the spirit of Thanksgiving last week and today being World AIDS Day I wanted to thank the doctors, nurses, and support staff (and researchers?) at UAB's Family Clinic (or whatever it's called now). When Nettie was born (and the months leading up to then), my parents, brother, the rest of my family and I (and possibly her bio-mom, but how would anyone know?) were worried and unsure about her chances of being born healthy and getting to grow up to be the wonderful pre-teen she is today, much less to be the beautiful young woman she'll be in a few more years.*
Scientific American had a special issue devoted to HIV/AIDS right about the time we found out my (now former) SIL was HIV positive. That helped a lot. We had some current information all in one place, and it was understandable. It also helped with the OB, because while I'm sure he was a wonderful doc, he didn't start out knowing much about what could be done to help the baby's chances of being HIV negative; my brother could go in with good information to get the OB looking into it.
After the birth though we were a bit in the dark again; SA had articles on pregnancy and birth and HIV infection in babies/children but, as I recall, nothing on when you know an infant isn't infected. This is when the Family clinic came in and were just wonderful. (Not all of our experiences at Children's were wonderful, or even good, but that wasn't FC's fault.) The doctors and nurses were not only good at doctoring but had good bedside manner and were willing to answer any questions we had; the social worker, too. (She even gave Mom and me meal vouchers but we didn't get to use them -that was the Day From Hell.)
The Family Clinic is (or was 10 years ago) a group from UAB and had "clinic" at Children's Hospital in Birmingham one day a week (Montgomery and Huntsville 2 other days a week, iirc). Their goal was to treat every HIV positive child (and HIV exposed infants) and, when needed, the parents of those children in the state. (A lofty goal and one I'm sure they fell short on - a lot of people would have trouble getting to the hospitals). They also did research on HIV in infants and children. They had drug protocols, testing schedules, and stats. Just learning the statistics on when babies test positive and hearing that Nettie, at 8 days old, didn't have any of the common early signs of infection helped put us at ease. Or at least helped us not worry TOO much. And a year and a half later, knowing that she didn't have to be tested any more, was very nice confirmation that our beautiful healthy little girl was going to stay that way.
Now if we could somehow skip the middle school years, everything would be perfect.
*What? How? When? She was just a little baby, like, yesterday!