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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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Reged: 05/06/05
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Loc: Los Angeles
Living with HIV/AIDS
      #159905 - 09/12/05 02:16 PM

A week ago as I sat in a doctor's reception room waiting for the results of a liver biopsy, it came to me that since my initial diagnosis twenty-one years ago, I have spent the last two decades attending the end of my days. How many times have I been surprised by bad news? How many times have I expected bad news and been told that all was well? Strangely, for me bad news about my health has been easier to take than good news, why is that?

When I opened the certified letter from the Red Cross that announced I had tested positive for what was then called HLTV, I tumbled from the garden bench I was sitting upon into an abyss so deep that I never thought I would see the sun again. In that abyss, I experienced fear so profound that it was a living presence in my life. Intense and frightening it was, but it was consuming fire. A decade later when I emerged into the light, I learned to live day by day.

Day by day, day by day I lived until after waiting in a doctor's reception, I was told my blood cell count had plummeted and I would need to start AZT. Those small blue pills were a reminder twice a day that I was to die as I had seen all the friends of my youth die. Fear focused my life upon making my life count, and I worked hard to make it so.

Then the miracle drugs Protease Inhibitors came onto the market, suddenly I and everyone else with HIV/AIDS had a future. However, the prospect of a future, having to plan for it, work towards it meant at the time that I had to learn to live for tommorrow when I had spent years perfecting living day by day. The prospect of a future when I hadn't had one in so long, I found disturbed the peaceful awareness of each day I had mastered.

So, I planned for tommorrow, which I hadn't done in years. I was like an infant learning to walk as step by step, I strode into my future. These were wonderful years when I felt as hopeful and confident as I did when I was a young student.

Then a doctor told me I had PCP and was to go into hospital. As I fought for my life, my mind became focused on that thin thread of breath that connects us to the living world. Each inhalation of oxygen from the tubes in my nose, was a frangrant granting of another minute of life. I grew peaceful again and remembered Proust's lesson, that to live we must conquer time and savour the moment. But I left hospital and re-entered the work world of planning and a thousand inconsequential actions, that a moment reverses. I grew restless.

In the years since I lay in hospital concentrating upon my breathing, I have lain in other hospital beds thinking one clear thought or another. Pain has concentrated my mind and fear has focused my thoughts. Morphine has dulled my mind and taken my thoughts from me. But in those clear moments of pain or fear, I have felt more alive than all the time spent waiting.

The results of my recent liver biopsy were inconclusive and I was advised my doctor's wanted to wait watchfully to see what developed. Watchful waiting has been the sign of much of my last twenty-one years. I am grateful for each day I am given, when so many times I haven't expected to see the dawn, yet, those periods of focus are the ones I cherish and for which I yearn. I find that each time I wait in reception, I am both fearful of what is to be revealed in doctor's office and as full of anticipation as bridgroom.

I don't know for certain that life has a meaning; I hope it does. I know that this physical life is not the end; my friends who have passed over have returned often to reassure of that fact. I also know that for me this life is best lived focused upon the in and out of breath as I learn to live in the moment in a world that is racing toward tommorrow.


Life is a river.
Carpe diem.

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Reged: 09/09/05
Posts: 13
Re: Living with HIV/AIDS new
      #159969 - 09/14/05 03:30 AM

You must be a writer,actor,screenplay... something such beautiful words. Encouraging words. Hold onto the light. Fight never let it go out-struggle if you must to hold on to the positve things, people,places, warm breeze on your skin. The little things we call life.
You are a joy to read.

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Reged: 09/14/05
Posts: 325
Re: Living with HIV/AIDS new
      #159976 - 09/14/05 05:00 AM

Wow. Now here is a reading of a person that has experienced more wisdom in one life than I can count 100 other lives to have added together, Bravo ScotCharles - you are a celebrity.

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Re: Living with HIV/AIDS new
      #160425 - 09/22/05 02:04 AM

I saw a few of your postings in another room I was in. I was just diagnosed last week Wednesday. You are an angel, thank you!

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