Thirteen years: Reading Isaac’s words (6)

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 (6)

Continued from… Reading Isaac’s words (5)

She had slept only for a couple of hours.

Annie went through the motions on this day on automatic pilot. She went to her work, and she came back home. She went to the hospital, and she sat with Isaac, who slept most of the time. After visiting hours, she drove back home with her husband. He noticed she was not in the mood to talk.

When they arrived home, Annie sat down in front of the computer. Soon Jacques noticed Annie was reading emails they had received from Isaac in the months before he came to visit them. Something in his wife’s attitude told him she didn’t want to be disturbed. He left her alone at the computer.

July 12, 1998
Billy spoke to me this afternoon. In confidence, he told me his first attempt wasn’t successful, and he was going to try it in another way. What should I do? I cannot just let it be!

July 14, 1998
I have spoken to Billy again. He promised me he wouldn’t play his ‘dirty tricks’ again while I am still alive. I hope he sticks to his promise.

July 15, 1998
I went to see the doctor today. She took some blood and gave me a prescription, so now I can start to use my tablets again. However, when I got to the pharmacy, the pharmacist asked me if the doctor was starting me on new tablets. Annie, yet again, she had made a mistake. I wonder where her thoughts are! Maybe I should ask to have another doctor or I would have to have a serious conversation with her again.

July 16, 1998
Don’t worry. I’m okay now. You shouldn’t think you would be able to get rid of me that easily! I am planning to be with you for a very long time still! I started the tablets again yesterday and blood tests will show whether the break I had, had any effect on my CD4+ count and the viral load. The results will only be available in ten days.

July 18, 1998
Annie, Billy didn’t stick to our deal. He did another suicide attempt! He is in the hospital again. The therapy will now have to be intensified. Apparently, his depressed feelings are a mix of having had a bad childhood and that he doesn’t have work at this moment. His wife has to support them and that makes him feel worthless.

I have been to my psychologist to tell him that the consults will stop. I have not made an appointment with the psychiatrist yet and I don’t know if I am going to do it. The doctor has not spoken about it again.

July 24, 1998
I feel good. I don’t consciously watch what I am eating. After each meal, I anxiously await the reaction, but up to now, I am okay. We only live once, so why should I cut out all the good things?

August 17, 1998
It is going okay over here and no, I am not watching what I eat. If one cannot eat tasty things anymore, what is left then?

Billy seems to be okay. He doesn’t look well, but he hasn’t tried to commit suicide again. He is at home waiting for a doctor to contact him. Billy has decided to go for shock therapy. It will work quicker than the tablets he’s using. It will be a bonus to have the old Billy back again.

Oh my friend, it really bothers me that I seem to be impotent. Maybe I should get myself some blue tablets! But then again, why? I suppose I should just accept it. Maybe it is one of the side effects of the virus. Tomorrow would have been Freddy’s birthday. I also have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I wonder what the effect of being without tablets in July would be.

August 20, 1998
I went to the doctor on Tuesday and I really don’t know what to do with her anymore. When I had pancreatitis, she took me off the tablets to give my pancreas some rest. I suppose that was the best thing to do, but now my CD4+ count and the viral load is a mess. What should have been up is down and what should have been down is up. Moreover, when she had to write the prescription, she wasn’t even certain what medication I was on or how much of each I have to take. She took blood again and next month when I see her, she will then apparently be able to see if the tablets did anything to my blood. If not, she might put me on something else. She really plays with my life.

August 28, 1998
I am getting fat. In a way, it is good, but it is very bad for my self-confidence and my self-image. I also have a problem with acne, worse than I ever had it as a teenager. I think I have developed a hormone imbalance.

August 30, 1998
I haven’t been to the doctor again. My next appointment is on 18 September. I am almost sure the medication causes the acne. Maybe I should get some sun on my face. When I look at myself, I see that the wrinkles are increasing too. Old age is really catching on with me now!

I went to the neighbors yesterday, and it was really amazing. The old Billy is almost back. The shock therapy is working wonders for him.

September 7, 1998
My health is good, but my mind is not. I guess I got into this mood and I should just get out of it too. So maybe I will be myself again one of these days.

September 8, 1998
Oh Annie, I don’t know why I feel like this. I just do. I cannot explain. Maybe it is because I am lonely and it is depressing me. I just don’t have the strength to go out and look for someone. As I see and experience myself, I know I will never get a mate.

September 15, 1998
I was not in the mood to go to my work yesterday. I stayed in bed and I slept most of the day. I don’t know what it is, but if I have half a chance, I fall asleep.

Devon is back with his wife. I hope it works out well for them.

I have arranged with Kathy and Billy’s wife to inform you when I am admitted to the hospital, so don’t worry about that.

To be continued… Reading Isaac’s words (7)

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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