a great loss

One day last May I finally made it to the HIV MD in the city about an hour south of where I live. I was suppose to go once before with the man who had given me HIV but he didn’t show up in time.. still at work he would tell me that day.  He told me the same thing this day in May and I burst out into tears.  I called the group of social workers that work with HIV peeps just weeping, at the time I was weeping for being angry and disappointed.  I mean really how could you take your life so little but then take my life for even less.. but I wept on the phone with this social worker whom I know and she was like just come on down.. you need to do this for you. The thing about some social workers are that they are good in a crisis, even a weeping one.  So I started the hour long drive, weeping the whole way.  My partner called me on the phone and was I believe truly upset but, I won’t know that for sure ever I guess.  Told me he was coming right now to my house.. I said I wasn’t home, he said he would wait.  a different story that is.. but I made it to the clinic, spent more time with the social workers. And that MD that rolled in on his scooter and smiled at me, spoke to me like I was a person not a set of numbers to protect the public from, who later at our only other visit would tell me that the outlook for cures and vaccines would come within our life time, the MD that did a good enough job to assist me onto the medication that makes my life a living hell as well as safe for society. that MD died this past weekend.  Only a year older then I am.  His lifetime over, and not only has the community lost a good MD, a family lost a good man but the hope for our life time has just become a bit dimmer.  This place I currently live in is beautiful naturally.. the colours in the sky at dawn and dusk, the rivers and rolling hills, the big sky, all very lovely.  An example of great beauty.  But with great beauty does not always come great understanding.  And with the passing of this man, who held my hand when I wept, and who comforted me when I spent so many weeks “adjusting to these meds” and wrote me down as partnered because he had hope, the beauty and understanding of this area is damaged.  Hundreds of comments on the funeral webpage, these services will be packed.  So many people were touched and assisted by this man, not just peeps with HIV but providers he trained, community members he served on boards with, hospitals where he was on ethic boards.  Now I am at a loss.  One of the most common things in treatment of most any kind is keeping people in treatment.  Most and by most I mean over 80% never return from the intact visit, and most things are not curable in one visit. HIV treatment is no different.  No one wants to take a med everyday for the rest of their lives, even if there were no side effects.  Add the struggle of side effects into the mix and you got a population of people never knowing the next time they will vomit or have to poo with such great force they may not make it to a bathroom, or the fatigue, the uncontrollable shaking, the headaches, the overly damn painful bone pain.. who even thought that was possible, the passing out, the inability to sleep, the night sweats that are not just for nights, my favorite one of all the fact that if you don’t take the meds every day the virus will mutate and no longer be controlled by the meds you are taking, wiping out a great many options for treatment.  This struggle is not an easy road to travel but, no health concern really is when you ponder it.  The difference I think has something to do with the stigma, the ignorance, the general and specific abuse that is targeted to the population living with HIV.. did you know that 3 out of 4 women living with HIV will be the target of violence during their time here.. does that make me safe since I already have been abused because of this virus?  No not really.  That just leaves me open to whomever finds out on their own about my condition or my at a disadvantage when I have to disclose my status to someone who professes love for me..as I have discovered the response of I love you honey and understand the struggle is not a common response.  Instead people are serving time for murder, assault and children are growing up without a parent.  A women once said it only takes one candle to shed light onto the darkness.. there is much darkness that remains around HIV and now, there is one less light that shines.  The darkness scares me, it should scare us all.  Until the candles out weigh the darkness and dawn stays..

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