Thirteen years: In Hospital Again

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

In Hospital Again

Continued from… Back To Work Again

In her e-mail, Annie asked Isaac when he would use his HIV medicine again. Since he hadn’t mentioned it, she was curious. She also suggested he asked the doctor whether his hair might be falling out as a side effect of the antibiotics he was still on. Annie promised to write as soon as she and Jacques returned from Amsterdam on Sunday.

She did.

She filled Isaac in on everything they did in the two days and two nights that they had spent in Amsterdam. They had visited Holland Experience, which was a 3D movie theatre next to the Rembrandt House. Seated in an airplane chair on a moving platform and with 3D glasses on their noses, they made a journey through the Netherlands, which lasted about half an hour. They could see, smell and feel characteristic things of the Netherlands. Annie also told Isaac about their dinner at the South African restaurant in Amsterdam, where Jacques ate some other South African food than what Annie normally prepared at home.

Annie also told Isaac they bought him some nice things in Amsterdam and would be sending it to him soon.

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 07:04:20

Hi there friends!

I’m so glad you are back and you enjoyed your weekend in Amsterdam.

I’m still in pain, but it is bearable. I wanted to go to work, but have decided against it. The pain is worse today, but I hope by Wednesday they will sort it out.

I had a calm weekend or maybe not really. I went to dinner with a colleague on Friday. On Saturday, I went shopping with another colleague. On Saturday evening I went home with her and had dinner there, watched a movie and then I came back home.

Yesterday I was at home. I did nothing, and it just made me feel guiltier that I don’t really “live”. I don’t want to regret one day I didn’t do everything I always wanted to do. Life is so short that one should grab it with both hands and do as much as you can.

I am stopping now. If you don’t hear from me on Wednesday, don’t worry. I will update you as soon as possible.

Lots of love and I miss you!

They did hear from him on Wednesday:

Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 19:26:16

Hello dear friends of mine,

I’m at home again after my stay in the hospital. I cannot compare it to the hospital in Rotterdam. The care… oh just about everything is second class.

At six o’clock on Tuesday we — I was in the room with another bloke who also had to get a colonoscopy — started to drink our 4 liters of Go Lightly. I can assure you the name is very misleading. We had to be done by ten o’clock. He drank all of it and I could only drink three and a half liters. At five o’clock this morning, they woke us up. He went in at 9.30 and only came back to the room an hour later.

At eleven o’clock, they came to get me, but when I got to the clinic, they said I have to go back to the room because there was another patient who had to go first. At twelve o’clock, they came to get me again.

It wasn’t too bad. There’s nothing in my colon — no growth or cancer. It’s only an infection. Doctor Seymour took some tissue from the inside and on 18 February, I will have the results of the biopsy.

I was back home roundabout four o’clock this afternoon — sore and uncomfortable. Strangely enough, it is not sore where the tube went in, but on my tummy. I lied down on my left side and you should have heard the wind that came out. I guess not all of it has gotten out yet, but I felt better afterward.

When I get the results of the tissue biopsy, I will also hear what treatment they are going to give me to stop the infection. They must decide now. I cannot go on like this. My strength must return too because I’m tired of being so weak.

Kathy was on duty and she visited me last night. Charlotte and Billy were there too. It was nice, but it is definitely not the same as my Dutch visitors!

I am booked off from work for two days, so I only have to go back to work on Friday. At least I have a day to rest.

I don’t have any other news.

Lots of love,

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 19:14:18

Hi there dear friends,

The colonel called today to ask how I’m feeling. She told me that the personnel office would be closed tomorrow, so I don’t have to go to work. I don’t think I would have gone anyway, because I don’t feel well at all. My abdomen hurts a lot, just as if everything is starting all over again. Doctor Seymour also said nothing about the abnormal lesion. Maybe she didn’t know about it. So now, I will wait until Thursday. I think everything is messed up inside, but it will be okay. Won’t it?

I will send a longer e-mail one of these days.

Lots of love,
Miss you!

To be continued… Questions, Questions, Questions

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

4 thoughts on “Thirteen years: In Hospital Again

  1. I really feel for Isaac… living with chronic pain and the fear of the unknown. I imagine he had many days where he didn’t feeling like “living” that day or doing much at all. Thank you for sharing his story, Marie <3

    1. And thank you for reading, Nora. He fought until the end, even on those days he didn’t feel like fighting.

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