Thirteen years: Reading Isaac’s words (1)

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

Reading Isaac’s words (1)

Continued from… Isaac tells his story (2)

Annie couldn’t sleep. Next to her, her husband snored – not a care in the world. Irritated, she got out of bed and went to the bathroom. While there, her thoughts returned to the afternoon and evening with Isaac. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to know you had an illness of which you would certainly die. Then, as if the knowledge one was going to die wasn’t bad enough, there was the uncertainty of when it would happen.

She admired Isaac for his strength. She knew how much he feared dying, but still he managed to stay positive – to fight every bug that tried to bring him down to his knees.

With tears in her eyes, Annie went downstairs. She sat down at the computer and opened one of the drawers. Held together by elastic bands were all the handwritten letters Isaac had sent her before he switched to email.

Very soon, Annie found what she was looking for – the last letter Isaac had sent her in 1997. In it, she read the same things he had spoken of that afternoon. His doctors had decided he should stop the medicine for a while, since it seemed to have too good an effect on his body.

Annie opened the next letter – the first of 1998. Soon she was so into reading Isaac’s words that she forgot to return to bed.

January 5, 1998
I went to my military doctor today. It has been a month since I have stopped with the medicine. I don’t feel different and there are no side effects. She took blood again and it will take about two weeks before I have the results. I was going to start on new medicine today, but they haven’t ordered it yet. This is so bad. They had a month to order it. When I finally get the medicine, I will have to use it for six weeks before she will do more blood tests. But as I said, I feel good. I don’t notice anything different since I’m off the medicine. My state of mind is positive and I have to watch out or I might just feel too good.

January 11, 1998
On Monday (January 5), I went to my military doctor again. She had changed her mind about the medicine I have to use (with approval of my civilian doctor), but she must still order it. As I wrote in my last letter, I don’t feel different without the medicine than I felt with it. I just hope the couple of weeks without medicine didn’t weaken my constitution so much that I have to start all over again to build it up. Speaking of which: I now do exercises every day and I hope in a couple of weeks I can see some results. I know it makes a difference, so I work hard at keeping a positive state of mind. Exercise helps.

January 17, 1998
I phoned the hospital on Friday to find out whether my medicine has arrived and if my blood results were available yet. However, neither my medicine nor my viral load results were available.

January 18, 1998
Yes, that colleague of ours indeed got married. So, you see, every Jack will have his Jill. I guess this Jack will go through life without his Jill. Or should I say Jack?

January 21, 1998
Yesterday I had a session with the psychologist again. It wasn’t too hot. Sometimes the conversation just doesn’t flow. Better luck next time.

Something is going on, but I don’t know what. I have lumps all over my body and they itch. At first, I thought it must be mosquito or fleabites, but I didn’t see any fleas on me. I just don’t know what it is.

February 2, 1998
I still didn’t get the blood results of the blood taken on January 5 and it has now been almost two months since my medicine was stopped. I don’t know what the delay is. My mom said I should push them, but I’m not in the mood for that. I feel good – I’m just a bit tired. Whether it’s ‘health tired’ or ‘work tired’, I do not know. On Friday 6 February, I have to be at the doctor again and then I will hear what she has to say.

I read gay couples are now allowed to get married over there. I guess me being part of a couple was never on the map, so yet again I’m missing something good!

February 8, 1998
I still don’t have my tablets. They told me it would be there on Friday (February 6) but it wasn’t. I will call them tomorrow. Apparently, they now have a telephone number and the medicine can be available quickly. I also decided I don’t see why I should go to the doctor every month. She does nothing anyway and my blood values will not change that quickly, so why should I go there every month? All she does every time is write me a new prescription.

February 10, 1998
I had a heavy session with the psychologist today. He is cute, but sometimes the conversation just doesn’t run smoothly.

February 15, 1998
Annie, please help me. Could you please look up ‘Immunology’ and ‘PNI’ on the Internet and send me the information? Over here on television, they showed a woman who had four brain tumors, and they gave her only six months to live. Now, 18 months later, she is still alive. ‘PNI’ is what helped her. It’s about mind over matter, so to speak. If you can find anything, I will really appreciate it.

Annie, I feel good except for the fact I’m fed up. I’m not depressed, but I guess it won’t be long before I am. I just feel like my life is passing by too quickly. There’s so much I want to do, so much I can do, but I don’t. Don’t ask me, because I cannot tell you exactly what. I just know I can’t go on like this.

March 2, 1998
Medical-wise I’m feeling good. I haven’t been for tests again. What is the purpose of it? I have not been on any medication that could have had any influence on my blood. You will not believe it, but the pharmacist phoned today. My medicine has arrived at last! I will pick it up tomorrow.

I’m very tired nowadays. I don’t know what causes the tiredness, whether it is work or my health.

This past weekend I’ve been to a barbecue held in honor of our Major’s birthday. Devon and his wife Amy was there too. Devon had too much to drink. He walked over to me and he hugged me. Just as a friend, you know. The Major and the Sergeant Major saw it. I didn’t know what to do at that moment, but if we were alone, I would definitely not have kept my hands to myself. You know how good-looking he is!

To be continued… Reading Isaac’s words (2)

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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