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 (2)
Continued from… Reading Isaac’s words (1)
March 8, 1998
The medicine is capsules. With one batch, I have to take three capsule three times a day and with the other I have to start with two capsules, then three, then build up to six. So, I take two capsules for two days, then three, then four etcetera, until I take six tablets twice a day. The medicine puts me on a trip. At my work, they sent me to lie down and when I woke up, I went back and worked again. I have to be on this for a month before they will test my blood again.
I have a new guest. It’s Devon. He left his wife. On the other hand, maybe she asked him to go. I don’t know what the story is. I will not ask. He’s very nice – as a person and his looks – but as usual, I will keep my distance. His kids are here now. I’m proud of myself. I made lunch for everyone. I’m getting good in my old age! All I have to do now is to get a man in my life! It’s a pity that Devon is not the lasting kind; otherwise, I might just have gone all the way with him. Devon frequently goes to the pub, and that’s just not my type. My man has to stay with me and be there for me. He should not have a ‘roaming eye’.
March 14, 1998
I don’t know how I feel. I’m on full strength now, but I don’t know what effect the tablets have on me. The doctor booked me off for a week, not because I was ill, but because the pills put me on some kind of trip.
Devon has been here for a week now, and it looks like he’s going to stay. Annie, there’s nothing between us, but he really is just like Freddy. The only difference is Freddy shared my bed and Devon doesn’t. I cannot ask him for money to live here, since he has to support his wife and children. I feel sorry for them, but if Devon would get in bed with me, I don’t know what I’ll do. I made him a proposal, but he thought I was joking.
March 25, 1998
Devon is still here. Oh Annie, he’s not the problem, I am. He’s so nice – as a person and to look at. But he is restless – he can’t just stay home and watch television. He keeps going to parties, to the pub. What can I say? I again made him a proposal today, but I know he won’t accept. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. Nevertheless, he knows how I feel.
I don’t want sex, but he’s here and I think he has normal feelings ‘down there’. Why waste all the seed when all those proteins could be used for a good purpose? You know what I’m talking about. There is nothing wrong with my mouth.
Geez, what am I saying? I’m pouring my heart out, but then again, you said I could talk to you about anything. Annie, I’m in the middle and I don’t know what to do. I don’t need stress in my life, but I’m bringing it down on myself now. I’m creating problems for myself and I know I’m to blame, but I am just an old gay guy who now has to accept he will be alone for the rest of his life.
April 1, 1998
Tomorrow I have to go to the dentist and after that, I am going to see the doctor. She doesn’t normally see patients on Thursdays, but she will see me. All I need is a new prescription, because I’m almost out of tablets. I guess she will have to take blood to see the effect of the medicine.
About two to three weeks ago, they showed a man on one of our television programs. He had discovered a way to make medicine from a wild potato. He had given the tablets to people with cancer and arthritis. They didn’t get sicker and in some cases, they even got better.
Ten years later, they discovered which part of the potato the medicine could be made of. A certain professor gave it to HIV-positive patients, and they discovered it keeps your CD4+ count at a constant level. I was on the trial too, but when the trial was over, the medicine stopped. Yesterday, I called the professor and told him who I was. He remembered me, because during the trial he took blood from me daily. On the phone, I asked him if I can use the tablets too and his words were ‘you should never have stopped’. I asked him where I could get the medicine and he told me I could buy it at the pharmacy – without a prescription.
So tomorrow, I want to ask my military doctor if the hospital can buy a supply of these pills, because then I can get it free of charge. If not, I am willing to pay for it every month.
April 10, 1998
Let me tell you what happened when I went to see the doctor. I first went to the dentist, but I was done very quickly. When I got to the doctor, I thought she would do a proper examination because it was the first time I saw her since January. But no, she only did a brief exam, measuring my blood pressure, quickly palpating my stomach, after which she mentioned my liver felt less swollen. Then she wrote my prescription and handed it to me. That was it.
I went to the pharmacy, left my prescription with the pharmacist, and went to a meeting. When I got back to the pharmacy, they informed me the doctor had prescribed other medicine than those I’m currently using. She told me to take the prescription back to the doctor, so I went back. I told her what the pharmacist said, then she drew a line through the meds on the prescription and wrote the name of the meds I am on. She didn’t even apologize! Only then she must’ve remembered about taking blood, because she instructed the ward sister to do it. I don’t know when I’ll have the results.
April 17, 1998
After I made the proposal to Devon, he had told me I was making him feel uncomfortable. We never spoke about it again.
He has been here for a month now, and up to now, he has paid nothing, even though I provide his food. It’s not about the money, but the idea of him just expecting me to support him. He has money to go out, but not to pay his way. Then, just as I was ready to talk to him, his son was admitted to the hospital with a broken leg. Apparently, he had a tumor in his leg, which caused the bone to be brittle. Luckily, the tumor was not malignant. Both he and his wife are with their son now. Maybe they will grow closer together. In his sessions with a social worker, he said that he doesn’t want to divorce Amy.
To be continued… Reading Isaac’s words (3)
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
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