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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Day at the HIV/AIDS Clinic

Adults this time. Nice people. One lady told me she's been HIV+ for twenty years. I was struck today by two thoughts.

Number one is the "normalness" of these folks. With one possible exception you would never guess anyone I saw was HIV+. They could be standing in line next to you at the grocery. In the seat beside you at the movies. In the car behind you at the light. Prepping your food at a fine restaurant. You would never know. They work, go to school, live their lives. Just like you.

HIV/AIDS is an equal opportunity killer. It doesn't care if you are black or white, rich or poor, straight or gay.

That fact aside (and my second thought) I mentioned to the doctor it appears HIV/AIDS is an economic disease. It seems it disproportionally affects poorer people. Not necessarily because of the way they live. But more for the lack of education and opportunity. From what I've been reading it's like that in Africa too.

The clinic I've been visiting is nearer the inner city. Wealthier patients can see private physicians in their office, can drive out of town so no one will recognize them. Cover their tracks so to speak. At the clinic there is no pretension. The patients I've seen are pretty much open about their condition. Very little BS.

I find myself wanting to return. I add nothing to these people's lives. I just shadow the doctor and chat. Yet I feel good about going there.

Picking up some of the technical terms too. Viral Load: the lower the better. CD4 count: the higher the better.

Oh, yeah, HIV+ people HAVE handled your food.


Jan Doble said...

OK, Mike, by now, I should think your line saying you 'add NOTHING to these people's lives' has probably been invalidated. You may not ever 'know' the effect you can have on a person--any person--by just being there, and just by brief interactions.

In fact, just think how lives have been touched simply through these blog interactions. Small things can be big things in disguise. Never discount the impact you may have on others...even if subtle...and even if you never even know about it. It's there...like a wave that ripples outward, we all have an impact, in some way (hopefully positive) wherever we go and whatever we do and whatever we say.

Take care!!

Jan Doble said...

yes, i see your point. a situation such as the one you are in does offer opportunity for great blessings(in your life)through your brief observations. you do your work, thinking you're offering 'nothing', with no expectations--and you get so much back. you didn't do it with any selfish expectations...and that's usually when we do get the most back, isn't it!