We All Fall, and We All Get Up

Lynda Arnold
Lynda Arnold

2014. Wow. Just looking at that number in print can be astounding for many. For me truthfully it makes me both excited and just really really tired.

I want to start this new year off right. I owe it to myself, my husband and my kids that we have a great year. I am truly thankful for the support and adjunct services we receive through AIDS Project Los Angeles, UCLA Care Clinic, Project Chicken Soup, Project Angel Food and Access Paratransit. At this point I'm not sure how we lived before without all of that. I really don't remember.

Just last week while I was having a follow-up at my HIV specialist's office, she wrote a prescription for safety bars and a shower bench to be installed in our bath/shower tub due to my recent "almost" falls in a few different predicaments. However, I was hesitant to take that prescription to a medical supply store. Just knowing that it was recommended was enough to make me feel not only a lot older but also a bigger burden on my family. It is true that my walking has gotten cumbersome. It's true that I lag behind everyone even on my best days. It's true that even lately with my best efforts I still am off balance and trip over my own two feet -- not to mention uneven curbs, walkways or items like stairs or stadium benches or bleachers that require depth perception. It is really very true that walking up and down stairs gives me a lot of problems no matter where I go, inside or out. But I just wasn't completely sold on the whole shower safety line of thinking.

But then about 5 days later ... I fell. Now I didn't fall in or out of the tub. I fell publicly getting out of an Access sedan. I was mortified. Somehow my legs got twisted under me and I missed the gap between the car and the curb and landed face down on a very busy sidewalk. To get up I had to get on all fours and by that time multiple people were offering assistance and I was even more embarrassed. Eventually I did get up and brushed myself off and aside from some nasty bruises luckily I wasn't badly injured. I guess that was God's way of telling me to quit being vain -- go get the shower safety bars and bench installed -- we all fall, we all get up. Some of us just need a little more help from time to time.

I needed that lesson especially as we start this new year. I need to remember that it's perfectly OK to ask for help. It's perfectly OK to receive that help graciously in the most generous manner it is being given. Having a long-term illness like HIV/AIDS can wear you out both mentally and physically. It wears out my husband and children as well. I'm tired. They are all tired. Tired of playing host to the monster of a virus that in my case with drug-resistant HIV just doesn't want to go away. It still likes to hang around and cause havoc every now and then, just to remind all of us that it's still here.

Someday, hopefully soon, this blog will be about the year that I see a cure for HIV. The year that I get to say good-bye to my long-attached virus. It will get to go away just like it is when I finish a treatment or when a new drug fails. It will go far away and become only a distant memory, never to be spoken of again in the present tense.

Until that day, as in this new year, this new 2014, I resolve to accept all the help being offered to me and my family. I resolve to listen to the suggestions to help make this better and to continue to be an active participant in my own care. I resolve to maintain a positive outlook and keep my dreams alive. Finally, I resolve to remember that if I am tired of dealing with this nasty virus then so too are my husband and children. Together we must not let AIDS come between us and exhaust us of our love, patience, hope and desires.

Until Next Time ...

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Read Lynda's blog, Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!