Thirteen years: Good News, Finally!

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

Good News, Finally!

Continued from… Surprises and Excitement

Isaac had just returned from having the CT scan when Annie walked into his room. She immediately noticed that Isaac’s good spirit of the last couple of days was fading.

“How are you feeling, Isaac?” she asked.
“I’m okay,” he answered with a slight smile.
“Then why do you look a bit down? How was the CT scan?”
“That’s just it, Annie. I feel good. I really thought I could go home today or tomorrow. Alas, that will not happen.”

Annie, who had hoped the same as Isaac did, was shocked.

“Why not?”
“Because the infection isn’t gone. And, I don’t have a fever anymore, but my temperature is still not normal. The doctors want to keep me here for at least another week,” Isaac said with a wry smile.

“A week?” Annie exclaimed, but then she quickly recovered again. “We’ll get through it, my friend. They will not keep you here without reason. We have to trust the doctor’s judgment. They only want what’s best for you.”

Isaac was quiet for a while.

“I hope I won’t be in hospital over Christmas,” he then said.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, Isaac. Your health is more important than anything else, even Christmas,” Annie soothed.

She changed the subject.

“How does your tummy feel now you eat normal food again?” she asked.
“Normal food!” Isaac snorted. “All I get is porridge, three times a day! I would love to have a nice big steak!”

Annie didn’t respond to his outburst.

It worked.

Isaac calmed down and answered her question.
“It feels okay. Sometimes I feel a vague pain in my stomach, but I’ve had it for so long, it doesn’t worry me anymore.”


It was a week later.

Little had changed in the last week. Annie still went to the hospital every afternoon to sit with Isaac until she went home with either her husband or Myra after evening visiting hours. There was only one day when Isaac felt down and had more abdominal pain, but for the rest of the time, he was feeling just fine. His spirits were up and especially in the evenings he enjoyed joking around with the ladies. They all frequently had tears streaming down their faces from laughter.

Whenever Jacques was there during visiting hours, Isaac was more reserved. It was clear he felt more comfortable having the women around. In the afternoons Isaac and Annie sometimes talked about their time together in South Africa, sometimes they each read a book and sometimes they just watched television together.

Now, after the weekend, Isaac was scheduled for another CT scan. After this new scan, the doctors would decide whether he could go home or if his stay in the hospital would be extended.

A nurse entered Isaac’s room, pushing a typical hospital wheelchair out in front of her. She was there to take Isaac for the CT scan.

“Do I really have to sit in the wheelchair?” Isaac wanted to know. “I can walk down there.”
“Yes, you have to sit in the wheelchair. It’s hospital protocol,” the nurse smiled.

Isaac exaggeratedly sighed when he sat down in the wheelchair. He pulled a funny face at Annie, knowing the nurse couldn’t see it. Annie giggled as the two left the room.

Her tummy cramped all the time Isaac was gone. Annie was nervous. What would they find? Would the infection be gone? When would Isaac be able to go home with her? How long would he still have to stay in the hospital? It’s been four weeks to the day since they had admitted him to this ward. For two hours, questions raced through her mind. She was relieved to see the nurse and Isaac when they returned to the room. Isaac had a big smile on his face.

“The infection is gone, Annie. It’s gone!” he laughed. She felt tears in her eyes and had to do her best not to let Isaac see it.

“That’s wonderful news, my friend. I am so happy for you!” she said as she hugged him.

The nurse was smiling too. They loved having Isaac in their ward, but they knew he desperately wanted to get out of the hospital.

“The CT scan indeed showed the infection is gone. However, since Isaac’s temperature is still somewhat elevated, the doctors want to do a series of blood tests. Only when they are sure that all blood values are okay Isaac may go home,” the nurse explained.

“How long will that take?” Isaac asked.
“Two or three days,” the nurse answered.

To be continued… Going Home For Christmas

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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