Mar 2, 2009
Hello Doctor Bob,
I don't know if the term "Happy Anniversary" applies to your situation with HIV. I know it happened in January but I don't want to offend you with the word "HAPPY" if it isn't appropriate.
Anyhow, i just found out last night that our neighbor's mother has full-blown AIDS and wanted to inquire as to how I can help her.
What are some of the ways that I can be of assistance to her in a difficult time?
You have always been a good friend to me Doctor. You don't know how much you've helped me. I hope you can give me this advice.
Thanks Your Ole Friend,
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hi Cincinnati William,
I'm heading to Ohio tomorrow to attend a trustees' meeting at Oberlin College (one of my alma maters). Yesterday I was in Scottsdale, Arizona where it was 85 degrees and brilliantly sunny. Heading to Ohio's snow and Siberian temperatures is not all that inviting.
Thanks for the "anniversary" wishes. Yes I did become "virally enhanced" as a consequence of a hollow-bore needle stick and laceration while performing a medical procedure on a patient with advanced-stage AIDS in January 1991. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to still be alive and I'm enjoying every nanosecond of it.
As for your neighbor's mother, first I should mention we no longer use the term "full-blown AIDS," as there is no such thing as partially blown AIDS. HIV disease encompasses a spectrum of illness that runs from asymptomatic to severe. The term AIDS was coined by the CDC in 1982 (long before HIV was discovered to be the cause of the illness) to help epidemiologist count cases to quantify the scope of the epidemic.
Finally, what can you do to assist your neighbor's mother in this difficult time? That's difficult for me to say, as I don't know anything about her. I'd suggest you talk with your neighbor and ask her what kind of assistance her mom might need. It could be something as simple as a nonjudgmental friend to talk to or help with transportation to and from doctors' visits or help in getting linked up with local AIDS service organizations or support groups. Just turn the situation around and think about what you would need or appreciate if you were the one who was infected. That should be a good guide and at least a place to start until you get to know your neighbor's mom a bit better.
Be well Cincinnati William. (Have a bowl of Cincinnati's famous chili for me, OK?)
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