I don't really know how to start on one of these-I'm new to the blogging and social aspect of the computer. I always used them for working, not for socializing. I'm also new to being public about my disease. I was diagnosed with HIV in October of 2004. I had the disease for a year and a half unchecked before I was diagnosed. The man I was in a relationship with never told me he was positive. I found out when he had to go into the hospital. He always had issues with his health and blamed that for what was happening right under my nose.

We were friends for a long time before we started to be more. He was friends with the person I was living with as well as me. The person I was with went to prison for a 10 year sentence for rape. The time between when he got arrested and went to trial was 8 months of sheer hell. I spent a lot of time at the local tavern drowning my sorrows. It didn't help matters that the local tavern was literally right next door to my house(we even shared a driveway for pete's sake!). I lived in a very small neighborhood village town. I met all of my children's teachers, friend's parents, etc at this bar. I knew everybody there. I felt like Norm from "Cheers"! Anyone my age will know this reference. He was very well known there too, his family used to own the bar when he was younger, went to school with everyone, his father was the high school football coach, etc., etc. He was in the bar pretty much everyday, drinking himself to death(I didn't know why at the time). People get to talking as they usually do when alcohol is involved and we got very friendly.

I remember the first time he came home with me like it was yesterday. We had been sitting in the bar pretty much all night long, talking about this and that. I was drinking Crown Royal like it was water. The next thing I really remember is we were back at my house in my bed. I asked him if we needed a condom because I had kids and needed to be careful. He told me his was ok and not to worry about it. I trusted him and we had sex unprotected. He straight up lied to me, and continued to do so for the next year. We continued our relationship and never spoke about it again.

He was in the hospital twice in that year, once with pnemunonia and once with a bacterial infection that almost killed him. He was in a coma for two weeks and his kidneys shut down completely. He came back from both illnesses and I still didn't know what was really going on. He always made me leave the room when the doctors would talk to him and no one in his family said a word to me about anything. I was going through a lot of personal shit at the time too and wasn't paying real close attention. My man went to prison, I lost my best friend in a dirt bike accident within two days of his sentencing. I then got evicted out of my house and had to move. I was struggling to get to work everyday with long commutes and broken down cars, very active children and all their friends lounging all over my house at all hours of the day and night, really crazy parents and friends with all their drama, the list goes on. The bottom line is, I wasn't paying attention.

Three weeks after he was released from the hospital from the bacterial infection, he was back in the ER with pnemunonia. He was in the hospital for almost 2 months on dialysis and a whole slew of meds. I was called up that night by him to take him to the ER. We had already been there for about 5 hours waiting to see what they were going to do with him. They finally decided to admit him and we were waiting for the transport team to come and get him. The nurse had left his chart sitting on the edge of the bed. I was bored and kind of wandering the room while he was dozing on and off. I happened to glance down and started reading his chart. There in the top right hand corner were the words, "diagnosis-pnumosistis pnemunonia-AIDS related." It felt like I stared at those words for years, everything went into slow motion, the words crashing through my brain-AIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had never been so angry in all my life! All that time together almost 2 years of lies! I stared down at him while he slept and I could literally see myself putting my hands around his neck and squeezing the life he had left in him. I scared myself so bad, I had to leave the room. I went outside and walked for miles around the hospital trying to make sense of everything. The problem was that nothing did make any sense, I couldn't understand how someone who is supposed to love you could be so reckless and didn't care. That isn't love, that is treating you like a whore, like you were nothing.

By the time I got back to his room, I calmed down some and was at least rational. I tried not to let my emotions show, but the moment I stepped in the room, he knew that I knew. We didn't speak for the longest time, not until he finally went up to his room. They finally settled him in and left us alone. I was standing across the room just staring at him. He then did the one thing that broke my heart and my anger. He started to cry. He told me he loved me and that he was sorry, he was afraid to tell me the truth. He thought that if he was honest, I would leave him and he would have to die alone. I listened to him and I told him I wasn't going anywhere. He told me to call a place called Violet's Cupboard in Akron in the morning and speak to a person named Anna. I could get tested there and ask whatever questions I wanted. I told him I would see him the next day and left to go home, bad thing though, home was his parent's house at the time. I got kicked out of another place after the other one and was living in my car. My kids were living at their friend's houses so they could still go to school. I also had lost my job by that time and was exisiting on my child support alone. It was a pretty bad time in my life.

I don't even remember the car drive home. The only conscious thought I had was AIDS. It kept going through my mind, repeating like a stuck CD. Lucky for me, the only one who was home was his mother. His dad was still down at the Moose getting plowed. I spent the whole night sobbing in her lap, trying to grasp the meaning of everything. She was wonderful to me and continued to be until the day she passed away after him. The next morning I called Anna and went in to see her. I had the quick test, and it showed positive right away. the nurse looked at me and just shook her head at me. I knew right then what that meant. I don't think that I have recovered from that moment since.

Later on that day, I went to the hospital to see Bobby. He knew right away the moment I walked in his room. I went over to him and he held me from what seemed like hours. I then told him I wanted to ask him all the questions that I had and when I was done, we wouldn't discuss it again for the duration of our time together. He answered every question that I had with total and complete honesty. He told me how he contracted the disease. Back in the early 80's he was in a car accident and split his nose wide open. During surgery to repair the damage, he lost a lot of blood and had to have a transfusion. He was given a bad batch and contracted it. He didn't know for another 10 years himself, when he ended up in the hospital for something or another and was tested. I asked him why he didn't tell me from the beginning. He said the same thing as before, he was afraid I would leave him and he would be alone. I told him that I wouldn't have left, but I should have been the chance to try to not contract it. I told him that I forgave him and I would be with him until the end. He lasted another 2 years after that talk we had, and I fulfilled my end of the bargain. He died in my arms on my living room floor and I was the last thing he saw as he wanted. He died on September 13, 2006. He was 47 years old. I miss him every day and can still his voice as plain as day.

Forgiveness is a strange thing, some people can do it, others cannot. Even though I forgave him, I am still very angry at him. I think under the circumstances, it's a healthy attitude to have. My son cannot forgive him, but my daughter can. It's been really hard on them through all this. I tried to keep it from them for as long as I could. They were angry with me for keeping it from them in the first place. We have conflicting feelings on that subject. I wanted to tell my family and friends from the beginning about my status. Bobby didn't want me to say anything to anyone. His family never spoke the words AIDS, they still run around town saying he died from cancer. I needed to tell my kids and my friends and family so I could have their support around me. Bobby wanted privacy, I felt like I was being hidden. When you have to hide, the shame naturally follows. It's not a good feeling to have. The one thing that doesn't go away is the way that people treat you when they know. The stigma's about the disease from the early days are still there, I think it's even worse than it used to be if that's possible. For the longest time I couldn't even say the word AIDS without flinching. I never thought I would have to incorporate that word into my world. It wasn't a foreign word in my world. Before I got the disease, you would hear about it in the news, Freddy Murcury died, I remember when the AIDS quilt first came into being, all that stuff. I lived in small town america and wasn't a needle drug user and I slept with "normal" people. It wouldn't happen to me I used to think. Bullshit!

If I am to say I learned anything through this whole deal it would be this, it can happen to ANYONE! AIDS doesn't discriminate, it can hit anyone. It doesn't target certain people with certain lifestyles or any of that garbage. It doesn't just happen in some remote jungle in some country, it happens to you at any place at any time. These stupid people who run around saying if they get AIDS it's no big deal anymore because all we have to do is take the meds and we will be fine, wake the hell up!!! It is not fun, or glamorous, or easy to handle. The meds are not the solution to the actual problem. You get AIDS, you will die. That's the bottom line, and until some major medical breakthrough happens, that's it. Nowadays, people don't treat AIDS the way they used to. We have become too complacent with it, the attitude with it is just take the meds and you will be fine. What about the people who have difficulties with the meds? What about the ones that the meds don't work anymore? Who is the fool who thinks the meds are easy?! I'd like to smack them upside the head! The meds suck my ass! I hate them and have a real big problem with them. I feel like crap on these damn things, and puking is not a good look for ANYONE! Life is not in the inside of my toilet bowl, thank you very much!

If anyone would ask me what the hardest thing is to deal with, I would say it's the fatigue. I hate the fact that I am not able to do what I used to do, and I hate being tired all the time. My numbers pretty well suck and have for some time. The lowest they were was an 8 about 4 months ago. I finally got a good med deal going on and can tolerate them pretty well. My CD4 went to a 53 about a month ago. That's the highest they have been in about 3 years. It sure would be nice to be able to go back to work one of these days. I haven't been able to do that since 2004. I never thought I would miss it so much, especially back when I was having to drag my ass out of bed in the morning to beat the rush hour traffic! I have even been trying to find something to do out of the house on the computer. Good luck with THAT! Is there a legit home based business out there?! Where I don't have to sell anything, pay some extreme amount of money, or get scammed? Very Frustrating!

I have passed some of my own expectations though. I made it to 40, where that's a good thing on one hand, on the other I have now become old. Even though my son is 21, I still haven't heard the word "grandma". I don't really want to hear that word anyway, so no big loss there. I haven't gotten really sick yet either, I am still hanging on by my fingernails! I am not really looking forward to the hospital routine yet. People say that the disease treats people in different manners, hard to believe that when I had a ring side seat for what Bobby went through. You can't help but think it's going to be the same way for yourself. I have to work on that every day. It really scares me sometimes. I have spent so many years isolating myself from everything because of my fears, it's hard to get out there again. Nothing is ever easy they say!

I will say this-dating really stinks! I have really tried to get out there again since Bobby died. It really is not fun, I think that people in my age group are few and far between as a "good one". Maybe it's me, or where I am looking. I am happier alone it seems. I was with someone for about 2 years that just ended. He liked the bottle a little better than me, and got pretty vicious in the things he would say to me when he was drunk. At the beginning, it was nice for someone to actually look at me and not be scared to be with me. He was retired from the Army after 21 years of service and 8 combat tours. He said he didn't care about my illness and he would be there to take care of me. He had his own issues and there was no room for mine. He would say it didn't matter when he was sober, but sang a different tune when he would drink. I can't be with someone who tells me it would be better if I would just drop dead in front of him then he would be free. So I freed him a tad sooner!

I have become weary of this disease, it doesn't seem to stay in the background as much as you would like it to in the overall scheme of things. I can now at least be ok with the fact that it's a part of my life, and I have found a pretty decent balance. It is a delicate one though! That's why I say it's good to face each day with whatever humor you can find! What else do you really have if you can't laugh at something or someone? The best is when you can laugh at yourself, and that's the most imortant lesson.

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