Her home clings to the mountain side. She can’t walk outside it without being winded. The steep path that runs along her home leads to a world she used to know.
She had been a nursing student until she developed TB. She was in her 20’s, but she had a bad case. TB ate away much of her lungs. She kept working thinking she needed to tough it out; most of her lung function was permanently lost before she was treated for TB.
When she was hospitalized, she had one wish. She wanted to be home with her baby son. Her oxygen machine now keeps her tethered to his side in her home. Her cord, with many extensions, let’s her walk freely, but only so far. Her son now leaves her side and runs up the steep paths she cannot. He will be going to school next year.
She sells toys at Christmas from her doorway. Toys sold by parents who couldn’t afford the gifts they were given, bought by parents who could. She knows in some ways she is fortunate. With her family and her neighbors, she can still look after her son.
She relies on those who make sure she has oxygen and those who make sure no illness overwhelms her fragile lungs. They make sure her oxygen machine works and that her electricity for her machine works. They make sure she has the medications and food she needs.
They also laugh with her. She never lost her wry humor.