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 And Out Of Hospital
Continued from… Admitted Again
In Isaac’s last e-mail, Annie saw an opening again. She wanted to know what he liked better — to send them e-mail or to have face-to-face contact. Of course, she was aiming at their upcoming trip to South Africa, of which Isaac luckily had no notion. Although she knew with questions like these she might make him suspicious.
The next week, they heard nothing from Isaac. He was back in the hospital. Every morning, Annie sent a fax to Jeanne, who took it to Isaac. This way, she could at least let Isaac know they were thinking about him.
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 16:08:55
Hi there you beautiful people,
Many thanks for all the faxes I get so frequently. Jeanne faithfully brings it to me every morning. I think she made a deal with Nick, the guy in the signa office and he doesn’t mind taking your faxes to her.
I’m on a weekend pass again and have to be back in hospital on Sunday evening or Monday before 8am.
I was waiting for my meds on Tuesday, when I started shivering. My temperature was 39 degrees, and they told me I could forget going home. They stuck another morphine patch on me and that relieved the pain a bit.
Last night I tried and tried, but I just couldn’t pee. I told the night nurse, and she told the day staff. When the doctors came on their rounds, the doctor said they have to insert a catheter, but without a bag attached to it. I asked if it was really necessary and they said yes. I wanted them to send me to another hospital, like in the Netherlands, where I don’t know the people personally. Here I know most of the people working in the ward.
They said to forget it.
My little man was much smaller than usual. I guess the nurse who inserted the catheter had a good laugh about it. Oh well, so what? When I went to get my pills for the weekend, they told me the morphine causes you either to pee a lot or not able to pee at all. I am pulling the patch off tomorrow and then I am going to use only tablets.
Sending each other e-mail or seeing each other in person is no problem. I just don’t know what to say over the telephone. It’s so expensive, especially when you don’t know what to say.
I’m stopping now. I’m really taking it easy. I don’t feel so well and long for those times, I felt a lot better than I do now.
Love, and say hello to everyone.
Annie sent Isaac an exceptionally long email, telling him all the news there was on her side — about the new house of her aunt and uncle; about her mother’s bladder infection; about Kevin’s new school and about a new colleague. She also shared her opinion on Myra’s depression and she asked many questions about how Isaac was feeling.
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 13:21:33
Hello my dear far-away friends,
I am home again. Many thanks for the frequent faxes. You cannot imagine how much I appreciate it.
On Saturday, I had only gone out to get some cat food and milk. Back home, I got into bed. Towards the evening, I noticed red spots on my body — first my legs, then my arms. When I looked in the mirror later, I had a fright. My entire body was covered with spots. I thought on top of all, I now also had the measles. I went outside to get the car out of the garage and just then, Billy and Charlotte came home. Billy took me to the hospital. The doctor on call couldn’t say what it was. On Sunday, when another doctor came to see me, he said it wasn’t the measles, but an allergic reaction to one of the tablets.
On Monday, they took away the tablets they suspected had caused the reaction. This morning they needed the bed for another patient and said I could go home. I’m still red. It looks and feels like I’ve been in the sun for too long. It feels just like a bad sunburn. It also peels just like sunburn, but the skin under it is not tanned.
The doctor has booked me off from work until 30 April. By then, Doctor Bailey will be back and I will hear more about the medical board. I think I will take the board. I cannot go on like this.
I’m not losing heart and I will not stop fighting, but I’m getting scared now. I cannot tell you how scared. If only I could feel good for a while — like I did in the first week when I was with you. Then maybe I can muster up my courage again. It’s really getting to be a never-ending story now.
Oh, I miss you! All of you. Give my love to everyone.
Take care. Lots of love.
To be continued… Time Away From Home
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
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