President Thabo Mbeki's foundation
I am no stranger to hospital
life. In retrospect it seems
as if I was always in need of
a doctor. A team of specialists.
A psychiatrist. The tap root
of a psychologist for cognitive
behavioural therapy as if
my life depended on it. I wanted
the good doctors to cut out
the cancer of chronic illness.
You see the thing about chronic
illness is that it always threatens
to misbehave. It doesn't
have those neat hospital corners
that beds have that you
wish for. There was always a shift.
Paradigms. A tightness in
my throat. I could feel every breath
I took at each vertebrae but
I wanted to survive. My memory
of needles is as long as
eternity. Oh I know that they
are convenient. Their aim leaps
through the air. I find myself
every six months or so in 'Needle Park'
at the hospital. Arm pale. Arranged
on the table. This is what the
rest of the world doesn't know.
I sob in my room late at night.
No one can hear me. There, there,
now. You're almost human.
I tell myself repeatedly until
I am sane again. Vanity restored.
I'm whining. I'm unhappy
I know. I drink a glass of water
next to my bed. My nightly
ritual and suddenly I've inherited
the house again. I'm whole
in the sanctuary of my bedroom.