Monday, 2 July 2007

When the world comes around

This morning, I noticed a spot on my face, on the corner of my mouth, and I thought that the tell-tale signs are here. Now I know that everyone who sees me will start pointing with, "you see, there is another sign of someone with AIDS. Thin and infectious spots on the face."
At the moment, I don't think I will really care if I hear that behind my back, or infront of me at the bus line. Maybe I will care when I hear it, or much after, like when I am asleep in bed. I have become very good at smiling alot in the day and crying alot when alone at night. It's not like I do not have people around me (Thanks Jamie for your encouraging comment and opening your arms to me), I have an extended family, friends, colleagues... lots of people. It's just that they are the very same people I don't want to see at the moment. I don't want to say I am fine and well when asked how I am, for it will be one big lie. Yet, I am still not ready to reveal my current condition. I don't want to be felt sorry for. I don't want anyone crying for me (I am doing enough of that for the world as it is). So, you see, I do have people around me, just not the people I would like to sit and share this with. I need to find my own group, people going through what I am going through, people who have been here before, in the first steps of the journey and been lost like I am. I want to talk to somebody who will not look at me funnily or move his/her seat abit further from me. I want to talk to somebody who will tell me about the drugs that will keep my count healthy... someone in the know. I need to listen to someone who once thought that suicide was the best medicine invented for the HIV/AIDS virus but decided not to be a test guinea-pig... for that's where I was a while ago.
That is why I went into a VCT (Voluntary Counselling and Testing centre) today. I found this nice lady at the reception desk who asked how she could help me. There were a number of people at the reception, so I tried to keep my voice low. I told her that I was there to seek advice on issues touching on AIDS.
"Do you seek this advice on your behalf?" She asked me, as loud as she could be.
"Yes, it is for me." I replied, in a still small voice.
"Have you had a test done on you yet?" This woman must be on something, she doesn't notice I am trying to keep this conversation between us.
"Yes, I have had a test."
"What were the results?" she asked.
"What do you think? I am back seeking advice, so what could the results be? Could you try and keep it low, please?" I asked politely.
"Oh don't worry," she tried to assure me, "all these people are here for more or less the same reason as you, so don't feel shy."
"Well, I don't care if they are here to pick their lunch or bury their mothers. I just don't want to share my business around." I was now speaking between clenched teeth.
"I am sorry but this is a public office and..."
I didn't hear the rest, I was already walking out. I felt so mad. Why couldn't she understand? I don't know if I over reacted, but I now find it funny as I narrate the conversation. It definitely wasn't funny then, it was more frustrating than funny. But now I smile as I write this. And I have a funny feeling that there is a whole world out there, waiting to come around if only I will let it. I am getting there. Not today, and I do not promise about tomorrow... but with every day, and with every step I take, I will keep trying to find my place in this new world. For now, the journey continues.


Kenn Chaplin said...

I hear you.

Your post reminds me of the early days (months, really) when my first waking thought was “My God, I’m HIV-positive!”

It was very frightening, so I know that it still is frightening for you, too.

I also recall believing that everything – EVERYTHING – was HIV-related. It’s not necessarily so, as you will find out eventually, but I DO empathize with you in these early days of your new reality.

One of the first things I recall was my skin breaking out, drying out, and although it was due in part because I come from a family with pale skin, sensitive to the sun, stress – and there’s no denying you’re feeling stress, is there? – also causes skin conditions.

This is a very frightening time for you, I know (or at least I remember how it was for me). Life looks suddenly shorter. There is distress and disbelief and panic.

I hope that you can find support among people in your community who are going through the same thing. There ought to be such groups where people newly-diagnosed can meet, in confidence, with people who have known about their HIV status for some time now and have adjusted to it.

You are not dying, my friend. You are very much living with a disease that can be managed. You will probably have a lot of blood tests and the like in the coming days to see whether you are a suitable candidate for medications of one sort or another. Again, it is helpful to talk to people who have experienced these moments.

You are not alone. Keep in touch, please, and certainly keep writing!


Kenn in Toronto, Canada

Jamie said...

[quote]"Well, I don't care if they are here to pick their lunch or bury their mothers. I just don't want to share my business around." I was now speaking between clenched teeth.[/quote]

Juanita,I smiled when I read some of this entry.Your sense of humor still shines through your pain.
I don`t have this disease so I can`t offer advice or point you in directions that you may need to go but I am here,to read,to listen,to talk.I`m interested in your blog.I`m learning from your blog as I have learned from Kenn`s.
But I can tell you from experience that Suicide is not the answer.It may seem like the answer at times,but it really isn`t.
Do what I have done at my darkest moments.Make an app`t with yourself.Even if you want to do it right now,make an appointment with yourself to do it a week from now.I can almost guarantee that you will feel differently if you wait for that appointment.It may sound silly but it`s worked for me.
Take care for now.It sounds like you`re feisty and that`s a good think.I`ll be part of your Canadian family,if you will allow me.

Anonymous said...

"Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you
wherever you go."
-Joshua 1:9

Hello Juanita!

I greet you, sister, in the name of Jesus Christ. I was directed here through Kenn's blog.

Knowing people who have HIV and knowing of their fears- but not understanding those fears first hand- I hope that this blog can be a safe and helpful outlet for you.

I hope to walk with you here on your journey- and I will pray that you find encouragement and peace in these days and those to come.

In the love of Christ,
Jennie <><