First, I have to say that this year, 2009, was a lousy year for death and very sorrowful milestones personally even though I did have some high points the past year. But, the sadness seemed to over-shadow any joys I might have enjoyed, but then in time...
I have been so mentally exhausted the past six months.
I have been so mentally exhausted the past six months.
My number one issue with 2009 is it has been ten years since my confirmed diagnosis on November 3, 1999 of HIV/ AIDS and it will be ten years since I walked the first week of December (another awful anniversary for me). And, it will be ten years in February of 2010 (three months coming) since I was taken by my family from
My recent counts: CD4 is 864, viral load is undetectable. I am happy with them because I was sure everything would be a mess with all that has happened - major stress - and fighting a head cold.
The Holidays have been so hard with Dad's passing in May and then the sudden death of Jimmy, my brother-in-law, in October. I live with my sister Arlene and Jimmy, so it has been unsettling. At first I wasn't sure if I had any reason to celebrate, but then there's Mom, my siblings and the little guys and girls, (my siblings' children and grandchildren). Dad's birthday is on the 25th, Christmas Day - even harder. Thanksgiving was tough because Dad always ate here. This year we had Mom and Arlene's son with his two boys, so it was fine until everyone left.
At first, I was not going to do anything this year, but Dad really would have been upset if I let it pass. I did do Christmas and
I did have my book self-published in July 2009. I have been keeping myself busy with trying to market it mainly by contacting various organizations, media people and of course, celebrities interested in any HIV causes and gay rights.
Another step for me in going forward is finding a career/ job that suits this area and economic climate. Again, ten years is quite enough and I have been very restless lately. I am planning to go back to school on February 1, 2010 for medical transcription and billing at a local Tech school. The actual course is five months with two and a half months of on-the-job training, a sort of internship. I smile because I have to wear scrubs for class so I look "professional" - that ought to be fun!
I have been trying to use so many organizations to jumpstart my life again like the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) which pointed me in many directions. One in particular is Career Counseling at a local university. I think they are of some use, but they keep trying to direct me into art and fashion. Not a big industry here - maybe fifty years ago, with the manufacturers that used to be here. They even suggest computer graphics, etc format to basically tele-commute with companies in NYC or LA. I remind them that I haven't proven myself in an industry I haven't been involved in for ten years and there is much more to invest in since so much has changed.
Another very big step for me is getting a new apartment after January 1. This was something I have been mulling over for at least six months and even discussed this with Arlene and Jimmy and it became an important option when they were going to build a house. It was their house and I disliked the fact they were feeling it was necessary for them to continue worrying about me. So, when Jimmy died very unexpectedly, I put things off for a bit and then I began thinking - Arlene shouldn't have to worry about me or vice versa - we both need to start over again, it's time. I am fifty-one and Arlene will be fifty soon. We both need our own space. I joke that all the old horror and thriller books and movies of the past had a brother and sister living together. I don't want to be the creepy brother and sister living on the hill to scare the beegeezus out of neighborhood kids!
I have to admit that I think I have been using living with Arlene and Jimmy as an excuse to keep my life on hold.
The apartment is a large one-bedroom disabled/ handicapped accessible place. Meaning it has all the grab bars in the bathroom, the shower has a chair/ handheld showerhead/ pedestal sink/ etc. and the kitchen counter and sink are also accessible. It also has three huge closets - I am worried that I haven't enough stuff to fill them! The living room, dining room and kitchen are one big room with the kitchen having maybe three feet of linoleum. All else is carpeted - well, not the bathroom which is also large. And, it is my own place with my things and my rules now. I will be on my own again - exciting and scary. I wonder if anyone in the family will visit or do I have to keep the effort going myself?
I will send the address and new phone number when I get it all together.
Shadow, the eight year-old, male white shepherd here scared the crap out of us at the end of November. He had a hard time moving so I had Arlene's one son take him to the animal ER about ten miles from here and I followed in my van. I never would have been able to handle him being in a wheelchair. We found out he has Lyme disease which caused his inability to walk. So, after an overnight stay with IVs and antibiotics - he's back to normal - playing Frisbee and being his usual nosy self! Thank God!
One very good thing is I had a reunion of high school friends who were partners-in-crime a.k.a. The Buzzard Club. It was great to reconnect with everyone - much thanks to Facebook - the stories of memories from back thirty-three years were mostly hysterical and I am glad.
My next update will be February/ March I am thinking, so I'll have more to tell about the apartment and school.