Thirteen Years: Reading Isaac’s Words (7)

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 (7)

Continued from… Reading Isaac’s words (6)

September 20, 1998
I first went to my work on Friday and later I had an appointment with the doctor. As usual, she had little to say. She told me I should understand how lucky I am, and that I should make use of the second chance I have at life. I told her how I feel, but she just kept on repeating how lucky I am. I also asked her for hormone tablets, but she said it’s not a hormonal problem, but a depression. I have to get out of it, I guess. She didn’t draw blood this time, but will do it again next month. My viral load has decreased from three million to 900 thousand, which I guess is good. So my friend, medically speaking, I am healthy. I am very grateful to our Creator.

I forgot to ask the doctor why I’m so tired. What does she know anyway?! Maybe I should go to a proper doctor. I will see.

September 24, 1998
On Sunday, I spoke to my mom and asked her to come and visit me for my thirty-seventh birthday. Luckily, it’s not the big forty yet! She wanted to know when I would go to visit her again, but I don’t want to go there, because I will not have a car. When she’s here, I can take her around to see things.

She arrives on the Sunday just before my birthday and she will stay for a week. I don’t think it will be too bad. We just both have to stay calm and not expect too much.

Don’t worry about me. One of these days, I will be my old self again. I don’t think a psychologist would help. I just need to sort myself out and I will.

September 27, 1998
I’m feeling better. In the past weeks, I didn’t get out of bed on Saturdays, but on Sundays, I forced myself to get up to get some groceries. This weekend I have been up and out on both days.

October 5, 1998
I’m doing very well. My state of mind is a lot better and I know the positive thinking helps. I have to go to the doctor again on 16 October. She will then test my blood again and I will get the results a month later. I don’t feel sick, don’t look sick, am gaining weight and am looking like a middle-aged man!

October 8, 1998
Annie, I have a request. Can you make me a list of something each of you would like to have? I want to send you a package. Maybe you would like to have some South African products. So come on my friend, this is a small favor that you have to do for me. I will be waiting for your list!

October 17, 1998
Everything is well over here. I’m just nervous about my mother’s visit. She arrives tomorrow. I have bought flowers for her room and a fruit basket. I just hope the visit goes well.

I hope you’re busy with the list I’ve asked you, Annie. Will you please send it to me tomorrow?

October 20, 1998
Your timing was perfect. I received your package today, right on my birthday. Thank you! I love it. It is the best birthday present I have ever had! Moreover, as if the package wasn’t a big enough present, I love speaking to you on the phone.

As you can derive from my words, everything is okay. I wasn’t well when my mother arrived on Sunday, so from the airport I drove to the hospital where I consulted a doctor. He said it was just nerves and tension and I should try to relax, so that’s what I’m doing now.

I love the pictures you have sent. Just remind this old man: when was the last time we have seen each other? How long ago? When did you leave here?

October 25, 1998
I had a nice birthday, and I have hinted at a surprise party. I’ve never had one, and it would be nice if someone would arrange one for next year.

October 27, 1998
Of course, I want that list. I will take the risk of sending the package by mail. There will also be something in it for Christmas.

October 30, 1998
No my friend, you are very wrong in your assumption I might come over there to visit you. The list is for the package I want to send you. It is just easy to start buying everything now and to make sure that it reaches you before Christmas. So come on, send me the list!

November 1, 1998
Health wise I’m well. I have to see the doctor again on 7 November. I wasn’t well after my mother had arrived, but then they said it was only nerves. However, I think the doctor should do a proper examination for a change. I don’t feel sick, but I guess a proper examination will not do any harm.

November 3, 1998
I am well, but I don’t look forward to my appointment with the doctor. For a couple of days now I have been having a bugging headache and it might just cause the doctor to do a lumbar puncture again. When the needle enters your back, it’s a very unpleasant feeling. But I guess, better now, than two days before Christmas, the way it happened in ’96. Back then, I had to fight for them to release me; otherwise, I would have spent Christmas in the hospital. But okay, if they have to do the lumbar puncture to be able to help me with the headaches, so be it.


It startled Annie when, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her husband sitting on the couch. She had just read the last e-mail Isaac had sent them before the Dream a Wish Show flew him to the Netherlands. She didn’t know how long her husband had been sitting there.

“Are you ready to come to bed yet?” he asked.
“What time is it?”
“It’s way past midnight. Are you okay?” her husband wanted to know.
“I guess. I am just tired. I didn’t sleep well last night.”
“You look tired too. Come on, you have to go to bed if you want to be strong for Isaac,” Jacques urged.

“I know,” Annie snapped, and she immediately felt guilty. She continued in a friendlier voice. “I’m going to take a shower and then I’ll come to bed. I indeed want to be strong to support Isaac for as long as I can, now he’s here with me and not as far away as he was in his letters and emails,” she said, pointing to the computer, which she had just shut down.

“Have you been reading his letters?” her husband asked again.
“Yes, everything up to the last one before he came over here. I want him to know I will support him, no matter what. Even if he gets angry with me every day. I understand now he has to vent his anger. His fear. I can handle it. I have to,” Annie said, and she disappeared upstairs.

She didn’t want her husband to see her tears.

To be continued… Surprises and Excitement

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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