month-old baby in a stroller next to her. She asked if I minded if she heated up the baby’s bottle in the sink while we talked. She was very concerned and attentive toward her child. Several times as we talked the baby cried and she went over to him and tried to get him to take a pacifier.
She was 27. She had used drugs heavily as a teenager. Now she was married to an auto mechanic. She hoped to return to school to get her high school equivalency diploma. Four months after her child was born she was admitted to the hospital with pneumocystis pneumonia. We had already seen some children with AIDS, but this baby boy seemed healthy enough, though, husky and laughing robustly.
In the middle of a sentence, as we were talking, Annie shrieked and jumped off the examining table. She ran to the sink, where she had put her baby’s bottle to warm up. The bottle had blocked the drain and the sink was overflowing with hot water. A large puddle was soaking into the rug underneath the sink. She couldn’t get the bottle out of the drain because the water was so hot. Her shriek had frightened her child, who was positioned between the sink and me. He started to howl. Since she had put her examining gown on backward, it opened in the front as she jumped off the examining table, and her breasts jumped up and down furiously as she bolted from the examining table to the sink. With no regard for her own modesty, she tried unsuccessfully to shut the water off in the sink and remove the bottle with one hand and give the baby his pacifier with the other. Finally, I shut off the water while she pulled her baby from his stroller and nestled him between her breasts. There, between her breasts, the pacifier, and the bottle, he eventually returned to his former state of contentment. The nurses in the clinic had heard the screaming and were pounding on the door. “Just a little accident. Nothing to worry about,” I told them and I found myself chuckling despite myself.
Annie’s child made her a “research interest” to the faculty studying how children got AIDS. She asked me if it were possible that her baby and her husband might have the disease also. I told her it was a