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David Brudnoy Speaks on Denial


David Brudnoy
"Your perview diminishes or expands according to circumstance. I had had a dream at one point that it might be fun to do a hiking tour in the Andes.

"My dream at that point [in the hospital] was to be able to walk from the bathroom to the kitchen. The scope of one's desires begins to accord with the reality of one's circumstance.

"I mentioned earlier the phenomenon of denial -- of kidding oneself -- convincing oneself -- of something that isn't true, then permitting oneself to tell what you believe to be true, but which is, in fact, a lie, to everybody else. I told everybody I was well because I believed it. I didn't lie to anybody. I lied to myself. And that is one of the stupidest things I have ever done. I know people do it all the time. I would urge anybody who can tell that something is odd in a friend of theirs or family member -- you've got to get that person straight into the hands of somebody who can take care of that person. I just said, 'No, I'm fine!' Well, we see what happened? A very un-fine period in intensive care."

"I couldn't quite believe how much was happening. I hadn't believed when I was told I was infected that I could have become infected. But I was, and I am, and that is unresolvable."

"Selfish though it be, it is essential that my first consideration be health. And that is a strange one for me. During the period of denial, my body was telling me, 'I'm sick.' My brain was convincing myself that I was well -- just a little flu!"

"I began to feel a sense of 'I'll be back soon.' I remember coming into the Mass General Hospital regular rooms on the fourth of November and saying, 'Gee, I wonder if I'll be out in time to do the election coverage on November eighth.' I was angry at reality because I couldn't do it."

"There are horrible people who will throw their children out if they find out that they are gay or they find out that they are HIV infected. There are horrible people who will say, "I never want to be a friend of yours again, don't touch my child" and so on. But by and large, people are not horrible."

In addition to being a radio commentator, David Brudnoy taught a class in Media Criticism at Boston University and published regular movie and book reviews in Boston area weekly papers. His autobiographical "Life is Not a Rehearsal" was published in December 1996.

He also established Research Foundation at Massachusetts General Hospital.