It started as a normal week in every other way
Of manic Monday mothering, then doctoring all day.
Of colds and fevers, rashes, sneezes, bruises and a bump
And then there was that toddler…on whom I felt that lump…

And “ping” then came the message- a friendly invitation
From “Sisonke” – “Together”- to have the vaccination…
I scrambled for a gap in a schedule with no “pause,”
But a gap that was worth finding for a bigger, greater cause.

I set up mobile office in the queue of vaccine guests
To respond to emails, whatsapps, texts, and general requests.
I hustled on my phone to book a scan without delay
For the baby with a fever and the mass I’d felt that day.

The queue was long but happy with a light, excited air
And when it was my turn I had a nursing volunteer
Who injected precious liquid with compassion and with flair.
This filled us all with gratitude that we were “getting there.”

With aching arm but hopeful heart back to the rooms I sped,
To find the little patient’s scan showed cancer, widely spread…
And late that day, all masked and gloved, the family was called in
To discuss with gentle honesty the road that would begin.

This heartache turned to body aches, a sweaty feverish night,
As my body, armed with vaccine, began to mount a fight.
Yet I was strangely proud of my body, hot and aching,
And thought about the precious antibodies it was making.

Next day I put my head up high and cured who could be cured
And for those whose cure was distant I shared pain that they endured.

That weekend, at a birthday braai, instead of elbow touch,
I gently hugged my precious friends who’d all been through so much.
“The week that was” reminded me: What is the human race
Without compassion, tender touch and genuine embrace ?

Embrace vaccination – Embrace life