It had all started innocently enough... Five of us had gotten together to celebrate the 49th birthday of our dear friend Nora Drake. While most people dread reaching this age (the point where most mid-life crises begin), Nora rejoiced in it and was embracing it whole heartedly. When she was first diagnosed with HIV thirteen years ago she was told that she had only two years left to live.
And so, spirits were high (with no help from the liquid kind) on this particular evening as we ate, talked, joked and laughed.
Eventually some time after dessert, the four of us who were left, started discussing the effects that our various medications were having on our once feminine bodies: spindly arms, veiny legs, bloated abdomens, flat saggy butts, no boobs (or seriously 'morphed' out ones) moon faces and even a buffalo hump or two.
One thing led to another and suddenly Nora blurted out "What's next -- are we going to grow a penis?!" Suzie quickly replied, "Yeah, and it'll be right in the middle of our foreheads!"
Disgusting, right? Wait, it gets better. Soon we were all dissolving in laughter as we speculated what it would be like to create a new line of BARBIE dolls. Instead of the well-endowed, tiny waist, long-legged femme-fatale, we'd model her after our own ever-changing bodies.
What would we call her? HIV Barbie? Protease Barbie? Lipodystrophy Barbie? The latter would have stick arms, spindly legs, an enormous bloated abdomen with huge pendulous breasts, no ass and a "Quasimoto" hump on her back.
The idea of "Night Sweats Barbie" made us shriek with laughter! She'd have tiny holes poked in her forehead, hairline and chest so that when she was squeezed, "sweat" shot out everywhere. "Night Sweats Barbie" came with an extra change of sheets and night gown.
Then came PCP Barbie; she came with a hospital bed, an IV pole and various bags of antibiotics. Next came "Barfing Barbie"; she came with her own vomit bag. Of course, we couldn't have Barfing Barbie without "Diarrhea Barbie". This special Barbie would have painted on Depends instead of panties and would carry a box of Imodium in place of a purse.
Through howling laughter, we came up with "CMV Barbie"; her accessories were an eye patch, a cane and a hickman implant for easy dispensing of medication.
Pair any of these lovely ladies with "KS KEN" and wow! (and yes, we know KS Ken is Gay! But did you know that he is bisexual?). What a couple!! Of course, they'd need transportation. Forget the traditional pink Corvette. These two would ride in style; we'd put them in their very own brand new, shiny ambulance!" It would come fully loaded with it's own handicap placard, cases of Ensure and Depends in the back and a ready supply of vomit bags on the front seat.
And don't forget, Babs always has the support of her best friend; "Skid Mark Skipper".
Back to the Women Alive Fall 1999 Contents Page.
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.