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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

The Ultimate Unscheduled Event

By Steven M. Natterstad, M.D.

October 19, 2011

This blog entry was written by Steven Natterstad, M.D. ("Dr. Steve"), Dr. Bob's husband and partner of 18 years.

Steven M. Natterstad, M.D.

Steven M. Natterstad, M.D.

The conclusion to Dr. Bob's obituary read: "In addition to his husband (Steve) and sister (Linda), Bob is survived by his parents, Jennie and Angelo Frascino ... and by many friends, colleagues and 'eyeballs' around the world." You, Dr. Bob's global online family, have suffered an immeasurable loss. He was truly a larger-than-life persona, and so he leaves a huge void in our lives. However, because of the great man he was, he also leaves us with a giant presence, one that will continue to guide, reassure, educate and empower all of us.

The only way I have been able to navigate a post-Bob world is through constant "postings" to my own personal "life expert." There have literally been thousands since Bob died. Bob has assured me that he has read them all, and answered as many as would be immortally possible. I highly recommend that you continue to consult your physician expert, Dr. Bob. In a very literal sense, he lives on in the 30,000 posts in his two forums, as well as in this blog.

But Dr. Bob is much more than all these bytes traversing cyberspace. Eleven years of Dr. Bob's presence on TheBody.com (and present he was!) have taught you all a great deal about living in and navigating a world with HIV. The answers to your questions, the reassurance you seek and Bob's twisted sense of humor will always be there for you. Just ask him. I do.

The title of Bob's blog, "Life, Love, Sex, HIV and Other Unscheduled Events," provides the perfect chapter headings for a final blog entry.


Chapter 1: Life

Bob knew how to live. He truly lived each moment as if it, perhaps, would be the last. And if it were to be so, he could always honestly say that he was still the "luckiest guy on the planet," that he had lived an amazing and fabulous life, and that he had no regrets. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Bupkis!

He truly loved his life. He loved that he and I were able to get married on Halloween in 2008, when it was legal in California; he loved playing the piano and listening to classical music; he loved his career in medicine; he loved his work on the Oberlin Board of Trustees; and he loved being Dr. Bob to all of you here at TheBody.com. Very few people can truly say that they have enjoyed their life as much as Bob did.

Bob always gave generously, whether to me, his family, his friends, his foundation, Oberlin College or you, his readers. Isn't that alone the definition of a life well lived?

He answered as many of your questions as was humanly possible and, as he sometimes wrote, he did indeed read every question submitted. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that, on average, he devoted five to six hours per day to reading and answering your questions. As his travel companion, I often witnessed him spending every hour of a flight, including those interminable 14-hour ones to faraway places like Australia, churning out Dr. Bob-certified responses. And all the while, he listened to his beloved classical piano music, or his "tunes," as he would call them.


Chapter 2: Love

Bob and I met over 20 years ago when I joined the multispecialty medical group in Sunnyvale, California, where Bob had been an allergist, immunologist and HIV specialist for nearly a decade. We became friends literally at the bedsides of a tragically large number of HIV-positive patients. As an internist, I focused on the in-patient care while Bob handled the out-patient visits and treatment. Our skill sets complimented each other perfectly.

We soon discovered other common interests, including classical piano. I remember one particular conversation during which we "talked piano" for hours. Afterward I thought to myself: If only Bob were a woman, we would be a perfect match. You might say I was a bit late in arriving to the party. As our friendship grew, I shared with Bob my string of disastrous failures with women. Bob, always eager to offer a sound piece of advice, told me to "date within my own species." Somehow, nearly 18 years ago, Jupiter finally aligned with Mars and we fell in love. Ironically, the anniversary of our upgrading from friends to lovers is December 1, World AIDS Day.


Chapter 3: Sex

I suppose it would be more than fair to say that Bob did not pull any punches when he wrote about sex. In the Book of Dr. Bob, life without sex was, well, unimaginable. To live a fulfilling life as a human being meant to be sexual, no matter poz, neg, indeterminate, gay, straight, bi-curious or whatever.

Bob was commonly asked: "Can magnetic relationships really work and be sexually satisfying?" He responded: "From personal experience, I can assure you the answer is absofrickinlutely! I have been in a magnetic relationship with my lawfully wedded husband Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert in TheBody.com's Tratamientos forum) for almost 18 years and counting! I am HIV positive; he is negative . . . I can assure you HIV has not inhibited our toe-curling, own-name-forgetting, wake-the-neighbors bouts of passion nor our happily-every-after existence." And now you get to hear it from the "lawfully wedded husband": You have my assurance (and that of our neighbors) that Dr. Bob spoke the truth!


Chapter 4: HIV

Dr. Bob was one of the first physicians to treat HIV-infected patients in the early '80s. He subsequently founded two medical clinics devoted to the comprehensive and compassionate care of HIV-positive people. As primary investigator for several HIV clinical trials, he published articles on evolving new treatments and quality of life issues for people living with the virus in such journals as International Journal of STD and AIDS, Western Journal of Medicine, Journal of AIDS, and Blood. He also served as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, at Stanford University Medical Center for 18 years. He was a certified member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine. In May 2002, as part of the International AIDS Candlelight Vigil in San Francisco, Dr. Bob accepted the Bobbi Campbell AIDS Hero Award for which he received personal letters of acknowledgement and congratulations from both Governor Gray Davis and Mayor Willie Brown.

Bob crossed the line from physician to patient when an occupational exposure resulted in his testing HIV positive. In early 1996, when his health began to fail, he gave up his HIV/AIDS medical practice and turned his efforts to HIV education and to fundraising. In his words, "I could now speak with the knowledge and authority of a physician, but with the eyes and heart and soul of a patient."

That same year, he and I planted the seed for what would become The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation by performing a piano concert benefitting HIV/AIDS at our home in Los Altos, California. Due to its overwhelming success, we founded the Concerted Effort HIV/AIDS benefit concert series through which we performed classical and popular piano concerts throughout California. To date we have raised over $1,500,000 for crucial HIV/AIDS services worldwide, ranging from hospice care in Los Angeles to a clean needle-exchange program in Washington, D.C., to the provision of anti-HIV medication to HIV-positive pregnant women in Africa, thereby helping to prevent transmission of the virus to their newborns.

Concerted Effort 2011, which would have been the 17th in the series, was scheduled to take place at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, September 18, the day following Bob's death.


Chapter 5: The Unscheduled Event

At a rehearsal for Concerted Effort on the evening of Friday, September 16, Dr. Bob was in rarer than ever form. He was, ironically, the "life" of the party. We were practicing an absurdly crazy piano piece that had been our signature finale for several years. Picture this: four pianists, eight hands, 40 fingers flying, all at one keyboard, and all on one piano bench. Bob's staging for this year's rendition included neon-lit sunglasses, pages of music flying uncontrollably off the music stand, snapping pictures of us with his iPhone, and taking advantage of several bars of rests in his part of the music to either race around the piano or to stand up and file his nails while the rest of us played fast and furiously. It was classic Bob.

During our post-rehearsal dinner, Bob got the chills. The fevers continued intermittently through the night and into Saturday morning, but Tylenol, Advil, blankets and our holding each other tightly brought relief. In between fevers, we discussed plans for the upcoming Concerted Effort on Sunday, engaged in our typical pillow talk, and yes, even played a little. We both believed this was nothing more than a typical speed bump for Bob, perhaps the flu, which he would ultimately get over.

Saturday morning came, and in spite of continuing fevers, Bob insisted that the "show" scheduled for the following day must go on! He was adamant. He felt certain that either he would recover sufficiently by the next day or that I and the other pianists could carry the show without him. That was our last conversation about Concerted Effort 2011. The decision was made: The concert was on and plans moved forward.

John Lennon once said: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." On Saturday Bob developed low-back pain that became increasingly severe and untouchable by any pain medications we had in the house. There was no choice left but to go to the emergency room. Linda, Bob's sister from New Jersey, who was thankfully in town for the concert, arrived to be with Bob and me. Bob began showing signs of an overwhelming system-wide infection known in medical jargon as "sepsis": His blood pressure was low, and his lungs were having difficulty getting oxygen to his vital organs.

Bob eventually required mechanical ventilation. But before that would happen, in typical Bob fashion, he took charge of the situation and told the doctors that he first wanted to speak with me. He reminded me that he would not be able to speak once he was on the ventilator. So we shared our love for each other one last time and gave each other a kiss. Linda was also able to tell her brother Bob that she loved him.

In spite of excellent and aggressive medical care and Bob's fighting like the true warrior that he was until the end, a very malicious, unrelenting and fast-acting bacterial foe overtook him. He spent only 2 ½ hours in the emergency room. It was dramatic, to say the very least. It was very Bob.

How did this happen to our Bob? Bob took meticulous care of himself. His anti-HIV medical regimen kept his viral load undetectable and his CD4 count and percentage stable at relatively good levels. However, Bob, who was an immunologist after all, reminded us regularly that one doesn't live with this virus for decades without developing some "holes" or vulnerabilities in the immune system, even when the CD4 count is relatively well preserved. Bob was around for the introduction of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) in 1996. As a result, he LIVED for 15 more glorious years. He was not, tragically, around for the cure. He planned to be, as he often wrote in his posts and blog entries. But life happened; an unscheduled event occurred: Bob died.

I believe I hear a collective heart-rending "OUCHAMAGOUCHA" reverberating through cyberspace.

Sending you all lots of Dr. Bob-certified good-luck/good-health karma. (He bequeathed it all to me in his will.)

Dr. Steve

Get in touch with the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, or read TheBody.com's official remembrance page for Dr. Bob.

See Also
Remembering Bob: Join Us for a Public Reception on Nov. 11
Remembering Robert Frascino, M.D.
Ibrahim: HIV and Death ... In Memory of Dr. Bob
TheBody.com's AIDS Memorial
More Viewpoints on Grief, Death and HIV/AIDS
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Jane Hill (NJ) Mon., Jun. 4, 2012 at 7:56 pm EDT
I just read this. I just learned of Bob's death. I am broken up over it. Shocked, to say the very least. Bob was such a funny, witty, smart, articulate, tell-it-like-it-is doctor. He was a generous, giving spirit and gone much, much, much too soon.

Bless his spirit.
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Comment by: alyssa (trinidad) Sun., Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:01 am EST
I have had many relatives who have passed but for this past year no two passing have affected me in the way Dr Bob, and Catherine Williams of CARe,Trinidad has. Two of the most beautiful, strong and selfless persons I have had the pleasure to correspond with and to draw strength from even in my own struggles. I admit I was off the Body.com for a while but when I returned I came looking for Dr. Bob...his smile, his humour and his charm always did it for me...I was shocked and horrified to the point of tears to hear that while I was absent Dr Bob took leave...It's funny how we think that people would always be there because they have a great personality and loved genuinely...My tears flow openly for Dr. Bob, as it did for Cathy, but the pleasure of his and her expertise and humour cannot be taken away...I hold it close to my heart....Sing, dance and make beautiful music..both Catherine and yourself will always have a place in our hearts.....Love across the miles.....Alyssa-Trinidad
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Comment by: Benji (Colombia) Sat., Jan. 14, 2012 at 9:11 am EST
I was not reading thebody long time ago, until now I am on vacation and I am terribly sorry for this lost, for this "unscheduled event". I feel that a guidance light just turned off. Dr. Bob legacy is tremendous, his spirit is still here, but the example he gave us with his daily life is over now. He is certainly an example of good living, an immunologist that understood an infection like this as a scientist and after an unfortunate occupational accident as a patient. His wonderful personality took an accident and turned it into a VERY positive thing for the people out here, for us, with no regrets, with fully acceptance of that fact. Not anybody can do that, only very special and really intelligent people like Dr. Bob. Next to his husband they both gave a perfect example of how wonderful love can be in a magnetic gay couple, again, not anybody can do that, only very special people, both of them. I am wondering a technical question about those "holes" in the immune system mentioned by Dr Bob: Can those holes be avoid or prevent them to exist if an early HAART treatment is started, like in the first year after the infection?. It was not my case but for the new cases of HIV positive people may be an early treatment is useful, besides other benefits of early HAART like the low viral load and the awareness to prevent new infections. It is a shame that so much prejudice and even laws against diagnosed HIV+ people keep people afraid of testing, sometimes it is like an scarlet letter, with no god in the heaven it is a little bit difficult to find that motor that people with perfect lives and future have, because evolution laws which are the REAL reason why humanity exist are originally savage and clear in their objectives and possibly they do not favor us much to HIV+ people. That is when great spirits like Dr Bob's shows up to re-write evolution laws. I acknowledge and send force and energy to scientists working on HIV (if somehow I could really help them, I would).
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Comment by: Fredd (Colombia, SouthAmerica) Fri., Jan. 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm EST
I just realized of this. I really feel sorry about this unscheduled event. You know that it is a bit like a light of guidance and even a light of hope turning off. Dr Bob left a tremendous legacy, that is for SURE. But besides his wise advises and expert opinions, the light, the guidance was more his inspiring daily life, with no regrets, with full acceptance of this condition we share, with a wonderful and a huge personality that obviously overcame that unfortunately occupational accident and turned it into a VERY positive issue for the people out here, for us. I send a lot of force, energy and peace to his wonderful and inspiring husband too to sum up the energy of Bob spirit that is with him, Dr Steve is an example of life too, of love for his husband, of all the care and affection that the negative pole of a magnetic couple is able to give, across all the barriers that this condition could rise, above all obstacles, even reducing to zero the influence of this magnetism over their love. I really join you from this anonymous distance through this moment of sorrow.
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Comment by: Madan (DFW, Texas) Tue., Dec. 27, 2011 at 2:17 am EST
Dr Steve - My deepest condolence. He was an inspiration to me. I enjoyed his wit and was touched by his compassion in the Q&A forum.I will miss him.May his soul rest in peace.
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Comment by: Michal (LA) Sat., Nov. 26, 2011 at 2:30 pm EST
Shocked, saddened, devastated. I am one of the millions of worried wells that Bob so graciously attended to in a way only he could. He had a sense of humor long after anyone else would have about us worried wells. The world is so unfair. Life is so unfair. I will always remember him and the help he provided. Godwilling he will look down over us all in some way. I hope.
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Comment by: April H (Thunder Bay ON) Fri., Nov. 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm EST
Wow Dr. Bob sounded like a remarkable man! The Body, his patients, his family, yourself and the world should celbrate and keep his memory alive with a yearly remembrance. This man truly was there for AIDS/HIV patients when no one else would or was. You stay strong and remember that he is there watching you and guiding you. Best of luck April from Ontario
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Comment by: John Trapper (Long Beach) Thu., Nov. 10, 2011 at 1:30 am EST
I am so sad about this. Three years ago when I got diagnosed I used this site a lot to get through. The way he dealt with it made it seem so manageable. I will be forever grateful for his spirit.
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Comment by: Resident (CA) Wed., Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:22 am EST
Dear Dr. Steve,
Please accept my deepest condolences.
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!
All the best and may time help heal your wounds.
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Comment by: Fred (North Carolina) Mon., Nov. 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm EST
It is terribly sad to hear about the death of Dr. Bob; however, it is wonderful to hear what an amazing partner he had who stuck with him to the very end. There are a lot of negative people who would not even date a positive person. To hear of such a wonderful relationship is inspiring. I am sure that it brought a lot of joy into Dr. Bob's life.
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Comment by: Allison (Durham, NC) Wed., Nov. 2, 2011 at 8:25 am EDT
Dr. Steve,
I am so sorry for your loss. I am an attorney working with PLWHA and have been reading Dr. Bob for years, laughing out loud. I know the small whole his loss will leave for me is nothing compared to the enormous one left in your life. Thank you for sharing about him on the blog.
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Comment by: Ru (Seattle) Sun., Oct. 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm EDT
Thanks Dr. Steve for sharing this with us. Indeed, Bob was present for all of us. He answered several of my posts in a very timely manner. He will definitely be missed.

For Alex: You have to remember that whether HIV + or Not- One time life will end! That is a fact. People die suddenly too, not neccesarily due to being HIV +; when is time, death comes without a warning.

If you know the Bible, there is a verse that says " one will be in gardern and will be picked away, another will be harvesting, planting etc.

I am thankful that Dr. Bob died with less pain. Be strong Dr. Steve as grieving is a process. In my prayers, as well as Linda and the rest of the family.
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Comment by: Green Trees (Atlanta) Sun., Oct. 30, 2011 at 6:20 am EDT
Thank you SO much for your post Dr. Steve. I'm not HIV positive, but I've been reading the Body for many, many years. In part because of Dr. Bob's posts. I found him humorous and refreshing. He will be missed.
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Comment by: Anonymous (Midwest) Sat., Oct. 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm EDT
As an advanced practice nurse, Dr. Bob has given me the inspiration and desire to become an HIV nurse practitoner. What an example to so many.
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Comment by: adriana (zagreb) Fri., Oct. 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm EDT
Thank you dr. Steve , thank you so much, for sharing this with us!!He really was a great person, and I miss him soo much!
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Comment by: marissa (canada) Thu., Oct. 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm EDT
Dear Dr. Steve.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I loved Dr. bob's posts because they were so funnny. Laughter really is the best medicine.
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Comment by: Michael Irwin (London) Wed., Oct. 26, 2011 at 7:45 am EDT
Thanks for this.
I was one of the many who received a speedy reply from Dr. Bob.

Forever grateful.
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Comment by: South africa Wed., Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:14 am EDT
What a pity! so true that at some stage, even with treatment as with other diseases, one will succumb.
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Comment by: Ariel (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Tue., Oct. 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm EDT
Para mi Dr. Bob fue una persona admirable que nos dió un ejemplo con su vida, su mensaje sigue en pie con su fundacion.
Tuvo mucho amor, compansion y alegria al responder nuestras inquietudes al igual que su esposo Steve que aprecio mucho por su valentia y apoyo que nos dan.

Gracias a los dos!

Ariel, Argentina
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Comment by: stanley (Kampala) Mon., Oct. 24, 2011 at 9:21 am EDT
It is indeed unfortunate, he was a good man even if i disagreed with some of his thoughts; he should have lived to celebrate the cure!! RIP Bob.
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Comment by: Billy (Hickory NC) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm EDT
Thank you Dr. Steve for sharing this with us. My brother who is - and was very healthy passed from sepsis so I know how quickly it can devastate the body.
Peace & Love
Billy
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Comment by: james (uk) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm EDT
Heartfelt condolences to you Dr Steve and to Dr Bobs family. I am one of the throng he has helped when diagnosed totally out of the blue. I can not thank him enough. I will light a candle now for Dr Bob.
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Comment by: Rob (Canada) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm EDT
Thank you, Dr. Steve, for sharing these moments with us. My sincere condolences.
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Comment by: Jonathan (Harlingen, TX) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm EDT
Love finds us, but it's up to us to sustain it. You both understand and embraced this. Bob lives in every note in your heart, blossoms in the flowers out front, and is the wind blowing in your hair. I've lost a partner and I stand with you arm in arm. Godspeed.
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Comment by: Bob B (Dallas TX) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 11:56 am EDT
Like other flashbulb memories in my mind, I'll never forget where I was when I learned of Dr. Bob's passing. I was shocked and stunned at the same time. I couldn't imagine a cyber world dealing with HIV without him. I have many friends with HIV online and they too were as moved as I was. I'm so sorry for your loss Dr. Steve, and hope you can go forward without him, and make Bob proud of you all the more.

bob b
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Comment by: Teresa Moore PA-C (Dallas, TX) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 10:51 am EDT
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sad for you.
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Comment by: gurlzone (New York) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 10:20 am EDT
Thank you for sharing your experiences with Dr. Bob in your time of grief.
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Comment by: Dan (West Midlands, England, UK.) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 8:12 am EDT
Dear Dr. Steve,

Thank you SO MUCH for this piece. It is perfect. You have given the 500 of us who wrote of our grief on Dr. Bob's page just what we needed, particularly the facts and the circumstances of Dr. Bob's suddenly falling ill on the Friday evening and then, sadly, dying the next day.

I am in my late 50s and so is my civil-partner. We have been a couple for 20 years. We both have professional careers and I am HIV+ and he is not. So you can imagine therefore why Dr. Bob and yourself were important to us.

Last week Nelson Vergel launched a video on The Body and YouTube to try and get some energy into efforts to find the cure for HIV. In honour of Dr. Bob, I think we all need now to really throw our energy behind that campaign for the cure.

Dr. Steve, please accept our sincerest thanks and our very best wishes.
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Comment by: Tom (Africa) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 2:41 am EDT
I have followed Dr. Bob and have always found his humor exceptional while at the same time presenting valuable information for living with HIV. He has been an inspiration over the years and his death comes as a reminder that sh.. happens even to the best prepared infected individuals. Good attitude and good living are the key to living the positive life to it's fullest.
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Comment by: Scott (Indianapolis) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 12:46 am EDT
Dr. Steve,

I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. For our loss. I was hoping you would write something, and it was beautiful. I enjoyed hearing from you in English. I took 5 years of Spanish and I've tried to read your forum, but with much trouble. I know our Spanish-speaking members are grateful to you.

Dr. Steve, I hope you will understand that many of us have questions about what happened. We are told that we should live a near-normal lifespan. I think most of us realize there are no guarantees. To hear Dr. Bob was having a good time the night before and even "playing" with you and then gone by the next day is hard to deal with. I know it is much harder for you to deal with, obviously. This is so very scary. I think many of us understand we have to watch out for our heart, liver, and kidney health. But, I don't think most of us think something is going to kill us so quickly. We think it will be because of long-term kidney damage or something. So, I hope The Body will cover this in more detail. We've been told by some here that sepsis is common in the general population and could happen to anyone, and HIV wasn't the cause. But, HIV seems to have played a major role. When you research it online, everything I've read says the elderly and people with HIV/AIDS are at much greater risk of getting it and having poor outcomes. I think not discussing it in greater detail is like a child losing a parent and not being told information. They are left scared. And, well, many of us are children trying to learn our way through all this. I know many, myself included, didn't really know what sepsis was. Or, whether this is some bacteria you catch from someone or what.

Yes, I understand this sounds so selfish. You and your family are going through a great, awful loss and we want information for us. But, I think The Body needs to do a lesson on what sepsis is, how you get it, and how many poz folks it affects.

Thank you for sharing Bob with us
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Comment by: LostSoulLA (Los Angeles, CA) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 12:45 am EDT
Dr. Steve - your post brought tears to my eyes. I've never met or spoken to Dr. Bob, but felt like he's my family. It's so good to hear from you, sharing snippets of the personal side of his life with us. Thank you so so much.
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Comment by: Michael (Montville, Ohio) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 11:50 pm EDT
Thank you.
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Comment by: Renee (FL) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm EDT
He was always there for me when I needed him. Always. He will forever have a place in my heart. In my darkest hour, he made me believe things would be okay.

Thank you Dr Steve for sharing this with us. It made me laugh and it make me cry. It reminded me to take each day as it comes, enjoy it, cherish it.

And to Dr Bob, I love you, will miss you, and was never able to thank you enough for taking the time to help a stranger find her way out of the dark and into the light.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest because in the end, we're all pushing up daisies.
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Comment by: Ann (md) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm EDT
Thank you!
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Comment by: Douglas (Miami Beach) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm EDT
You were very lucky to have had those 18 years together.
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Comment by: Héctor (Argentina) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm EDT
Dear Dr. Steve, I ´ve just found this web site and forum ...I am sorry for that loose and sometimes I ask myself why people like Dr. Bob leave us? Pls. recive my sincerelly and warn embrace and hope I `ll see you playing the piano in Buenos Aires at once¡!
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Comment by: Anonymous Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm EDT
Dr. Steve, thank you for sharing your strength with us. It's a beautiful thing for you to do--to share these things about your life with Dr. Bob in a difficult moment like this one. We're infinitely appreciative. My thoughts are with you. Like him, your selfless dedication to the HIV-positive is admirable. Thank you, Dr. Steve, for all you do.
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Comment by: Alex (Moscow/Russia) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm EDT
Dr. Steve, my condolences.
However I don’t understand that passage about developing some holes in the immune system. It has been almost 30 years and we still don’t know about these holes. What kind of bacteria it was, what was the immune response and why it wasn’t enough?
Thebody.com is the leading resource for us, HIV+. And sometimes the only hope. And Dr. Bob was a part of it. And once of a sudden he dies of a bacterial infection because of some unknown “holes” in the immune system??.. I just don’t buy it! Call me a cynic, but I think there should examination, investigation and conclusions been made. This death officially is not counted as HIV-related, but it was! Yes, it is hard for family and friends to deal with a sudden death of their beloved one, but unless it is carefully and comprehensively analyzed - it’s another death in vain. Something should be done, otherwise it’s just blah-blah. And no hope.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Dan (West Midlands, England, UK.) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 8:43 am EDT
Alex, I hear your anguish. You're saying that if a person is on medication, has an undetectable viral load, and a fairly good CD4 count, then they are supposed to live and live, until they die of something which is not HIV-related. However, this is a view or a state of affairs that we can only wish for. We have to remember that up until the mid 90s, only 15 years ago, having HIV meant a fairly early and nasty deterioration towards death. But for the last 15 years we've had the meds. Yes, we would all LOVE to think that if we take them as prescribed and behave ourselves healthwise that we will all make it into very old age, but it's simply too soon to KNOW that that will be the case. A more realistic way of responding to Dr. Bob's unexpected death is to accept that the meds have given all of us a window of glorious opportunity to find the thing that we all REALLY need: a cure for HIV.


Comment by: Ray (Pittsburgh) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm EDT
Thank you for a beautiful tribute. My good thoughts go out to you and Dr. Bob's family.
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Comment by: Mariana (Argentina) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm EDT
Hi Steve, I do not speak English only Spanish

I have used the google translator to read the post from Dr. Bob.

He has left a great legacy through this wonderful means I had the privilege of knowing him.

It was an unexpected event, when I heard he went to the forum to read new post and ask you a question I could not do ...

I'm very touched, parents of Dr. Bob has been an instrument of God, to bring the land to an Angel.

Dr Steve, I know the pain is great .... I have no words I am melancholy.

Greetings from Argentina, a faithful reader of Dr. Bob, by the translator of google.
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Comment by: Alan (Larkspur, CA) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm EDT
Dr. Steve
Thank you for sharing this, I am sorry for your loss and the loss that all of us are experiencing. I feel like I knew him from all of his posts, he was an amazing man and will be missed.
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Comment by: Rece (Tennesse) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:37 pm EDT
That was awesome.I go back and read Dr.Bob's responses all the time. I am still praying for you Dr. Steve. I can tell all great thing he wrote about you that he loved you.

Take care.
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Comment by: latifah (Tanzania ) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm EDT
RIP Dr Bob ..He inspired me and gave me hope when I was diagonised though miles away in Africa just by visitibg The Body website changed everything and I was blessed to have read his blogs. Dr Steve I am sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing a beautiful and touching
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Comment by: Dee (Atlanta, GA) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm EDT
Thanks so much, for your essay, Dr. Stephen Natterstad. Like so many others who never met Dr. Bob, yet were helped beyond measure by his encouragement, wit, and valuable information.... it has been quite difficult to wrap my mind around his passing. Also like so many others, the tears flowed uncontrollably when I read it. May you continue to find some sense of comfort, humor, and solace in knowing that your relationship with him was by Divine Order. Reading your story today helps my own personal healing/mourning process. Thank you, and bless you.
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Comment by: Kevin (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm EDT
Thank you for sharing Dr. Steve. I am so sorry for your loss. As one of the many "eyeballs" I will miss Dr. Bob's wisdom and insight. I only wish I could have met him in person one day express my gratitude.
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Comment by: Craig (Arizona) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm EDT
I have followed Dr. Bob for a few years & am sorry for your loss. I pray for the Salvation & Love of Christ for all those stricken with this fatal disease. Jesus died for ALL of of sins (Hetero, Homo, etc). All mankind is made new through Christ.
John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 10;9, 1 John 1:9
God Bless You & all you helped.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: "Dr. Bob" ((I'm watching you!)) Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 8:32 am EDT
Hey, Craig, just cut with all the Jesus-crap, will ya! Just cause I'm not around any more, doesn't mean you can spout all that nonsense after me, OK? By all means, you pray for YOUR salvation through Christ or Muhammad or whatever other pixie-cum-god you want, but pleeeeaze know that in the case of Dr. Bob illness and death had nothing to do with sin or sinning but simply everything to do with a bacterial infection that my body just wasn't up to dealing with. Fact. Now, you can take your Biblical quotations and go off and sit by yourself under a tree and memorise a few more, but please consider that just as I had 15 more wonderful years of life due entirely to the hard work of scores of scientists all over the world, a cure for HIV ain't gonna come about through any amount of prayer or crossed fingers. Maybe you can do something concrete and worthwhile to find a cure? Think about that. And, meanwhile, most of all, enjoy your life!
Comment by: Janice Fri., Oct. 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm EDT
Ouch! I think all the poor guy was trying to say was that he was praying. He never even suggested that it was because of sinning. What's wrong with praying? And please don't try to be Dr. Bob. He wouldn't say anything like this.
Comment by: Michael (Santa Fe, New Mexico.) Sun., Nov. 6, 2011 at 7:44 am EST
Hi, Janice.

You ask "What's wrong with praying?" Well the answer is that there's nothing wrong with hoping, but praying involves asking favours of a pixie in the sky, a spirit, a god, or some-such . . . and no such supernatural beings exist. That's what's wrong with praying.

Next, you advise "Please don't try to be Dr. Bob". Don't you think we should all try to be like Dr. Bob till the day we drop? That will be the greatest tribute we can give him. Best wishes to you.


Comment by: Faizal Deen (Ottawa, ON, Canada) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm EDT
Thank You so much for this. He truly was amazing and you were both so blessed to have one another just as we were all blessed to have him.
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Comment by: Richard Cordova (Chicago,IL) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm EDT
Thank you for writing this. Dr. Bob touched so many lives and I am sorry for your loss.
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Comment by: Dave (Pa) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 11:12 am EDT
Dr. Steve, hope your wonderful memories give you strength to cope with your intense loss. What a beautiful tribute to your partner! Thank you for sharing.
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Comment by: John (Seattle, WA) Thu., Oct. 20, 2011 at 11:03 am EDT
Thanks for writing and sharing this blog with us. His humor and very straightforward responses to our questions will be greatly missed. I'm sure it was an honor to know him in person.
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Comment by: Lori (iowa) Wed., Oct. 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm EDT
Love you Dr. Steve. Praying for you always. Miss Dr. Bob a lot.
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Bob Frascino, M.D., was President and Founder of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. He had been an outspoken, popular expert in TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" forums on safe sex and fatigue/anemia since 2000. Once a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Frascino served as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, at Stanford University Medical Center from 1983 until 2001. He was a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and had also been a distinguished member of the executive boards of numerous state and regional associations.

We're inexpressibly saddened to share the news that Dr. Frascino passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Click here to read more and to share your thoughts.


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