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
A Cyst And A Lump
Continued from… The Letters Start Again
The next day she got answers to some of her questions:
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 09:29:26
It’s Tuesday and yet again, it is a wonderful summer’s day. As you can see, I’m home. I went to work yesterday, but halfway through the day they sent me home. When I arrived home, I had a message from the doctor on my answering machine. She asked me to call her, so I did. She said she had good and bad news. The good news was my pancreas is swollen just a little bit, that the cyst (???) is getting smaller and that the blockage was gone. The bad news was about the blood and urine results. There are too much enzymes in my urine. I have to drink lots of water and rest. I’m not allowed to go to work this week. I have to eat food that digest easily and should steer clear of fatty oils and too much protein. I think I will buy myself some soup and baby food. What do you think?
I have to go. I have an appointment with Zoe, who used to be our colleague and is visiting us from New Zealand. I will write again later to tell you how it was.
Take care. I really miss you all a lot. I am not just saying it. I really do miss you.
Annie still had the flu, and she too was at home. She saw Isaac’s e-mail when she got out of bed just after the lunch hour. She immediately replied to his e-mail. Just like Isaac, Annie was also puzzled about the cyst Isaac’s doctor had mentioned. She asked him about the cyst and about his blood results, because he only mentioned the urine results in his e-mail. Since she remembered Zoe, she also told Isaac about her own e-mail correspondence with their ex-colleague. Annie told Isaac she missed him just as much as he missed them, if not more.
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 11:32:23
Jacques, thank you very much for your message. I miss you, your concern for me and your warmth — and you didn’t even know me. You are a good man, Jacques.
It’s Thursday, Annie, and I guess you’re back at work again. I hope the flu is gone and you’re feeling better. I’m still home and following the doctor’s orders to rest. I still don’t feel well. Do you know what I think? If I use my sense of smell, my stools smell like intravenous feeding. I think it got caught somewhere in my intestines. I don’t know the results of everything, so I can’t answer all your questions. And yes, the cyst thing puzzles me too. I will ask her if I go to see her tomorrow or on Monday. I drink a lot of water. The jug is next to my bed.
I watch my lava lamp all the time. It is burning day and night. Sometimes I just turn the television off to watch my lamp.
Kathy told me the ambulance bill arrived at the hospital. She gave it to the bookkeeping department, so we will have to see what they are going to do with it.
Annie smiled when she read about the lamp.
For Christmas, they had given Isaac a lava lamp. She liked the idea of him using it so much. Since she was still at home with the flu, she clicked on the reply button to answer Isaac’s e-mail. She told him Jacques had booked a room for the two of them in a hotel in Amsterdam for a weekend in February.
She urged Isaac to follow the doctor’s orders to the letter and closed off, telling him just how much she wished that he still was with them.
In the next couple of days, they exchanged more e-mails, sharing information about their daily lives. Isaac was still at home and Annie was planning to return to her work after the weekend. During the weekend, they celebrated Jacques’ birthday. Isaac sent his birthday wishes by e-mail and he said how much he wished he could be there to see everyone again.
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 19:16:03
Dear Annie, Jacques and kids,,
This morning I took my car in for a service. Billy went with me and dropped me at the hospital afterwards. I told him I would phone him when I was done, so he could come and pick me up again.
At 8 o’clock, I walked into Doctor Bailey’s office. She made some small talk and then examined me. She said there’s a small cyst on my pancreas, but I should not be concerned about it. When she examined my stomach, she wasn’t sure about what she felt. She called doctor Seymore and asked if she would see me. Doctor Seymour was my doctor before, but she had left the AIDS team.
Doctor Seymour examined me, and then she asked Doctor Burchess to examine me too. He did. An abscess in my back can cause the pain I get in my legs. It’s in my lower back, where some different muscles meet. The pain in my stomach can come from my colon, which might be inflamed.
Apparently, not one of the three doctors could feel the exact path of my colon. If my colon is inflamed, they could not determine this for sure. The reason is they will have to do it with tubes and that can worsen the inflammation. They have given me a load of antibiotics and we will wait and see what happens. Tomorrow I have to go for another CT scan. I hope that after that the doctors will know what’s going on.
Now you know everything. I am booked off until the 25th. For the rest, I have no news. I decided it is better for my health if I quit smoking, so I did. It’s been two weeks since I had my last cigarette. I think that every little bit helps, so I grab onto what I can.
Oh, how I wish life was less complicated, that one knows what is good for you and you could make the best choices without having to think twice.
I miss you, and it is very lonely over here.
Lots of love,
To be continued… Baffled Doctors
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