Tuesday, October 19, 2010

dinner of thanksgiving

Three months ago today, I went to the doctor. The night before, I was exposed to HIV. Always afraid to a ridiculous degree of contracting AIDS, I am rather used to my doctor kinda shrugging and relaxing my fears. This time, he was concerned as well. There wasn’t a chance that I’d had a possible exposure—I had an exposure. Period. That doesn’t necessarily mean I did or would contract it, but the exposure was certain. He put me on what many of us have come to call the day after pill. Which really is a month long HIV regimen of HIV medication (if I understand correctly). If the medicine isn’t started within seventy-two hours, it will do nothing—and not everyone is convinced it helps (but most are).
The day after the exposure, the night I started the regimen, I drove to Sonic and got tater-tots with cheese and a cherry-vanilla coke. I refrained from a burger, a sacrifice if you will.
I sat there in the car. Sobbing.
The prayer mostly going something like this:

I don’t know if I can pray for healing and protection from disease. I don’t really think I have faith in your willingness to protect from sickness. I’ve believed before, and was shattered. However, I ask that you help me have faith this time, once again. I hope you will see fit to protect me from this disease. In three months, when the final test happens and it is negative, I will take the entire night off, will have no one else around. I will return and have the meal at Sonic, burger included, and listen to a book on tape, and revel in being alive and healthy. After, I will open the bottle of thirteen-year-old wine HWMNBN and I received as a gift and have been saving for his return. I will drink it. I will go home and will not keep silent of your gift to me.

Today, the final test came back in. Twelve weeks of worry and fear came to a rest. Tonight I had my burger, cheese tots, and cherry vanilla coke. My vampire romance played over my iPod. I prayed thanks. I revel(ed) in being alive and healthy. Right now, I keep not silent of His gift to me. My glass of the horrible wine (most would like it—I only like sweet), is beside me, and I drink from it freely.

Maybe I should be humbled to the point of shame. The old me would be shamed to admit to the possibility of having HIV and AIDS. However, I have too many friends that I love, know too many good, good men with HIV and AIDS to see it for more than it is. Not shame. Disease. Shame or none, it’s not easy to say or admit. The four of five of you I’ve confided in, asked for your prayer and support, I thank with everything in me. When I couldn’t put my family through any more fear and worry than they already have, you have once more been family to me. Thank you for standing by me and walking this life with me. Thank you for seeing the friend you love in me, even when there is barely a shadow of him left.

I give all praise, thanks, and credit to God. Whether I had contracted it or not, whether the negative result is due to the medicine or not, it is all from God.

I had no plan of what to do if the result would have been different. I refused to make a plan, as it was about the only act of faith I could manage. However, if the result had been different, this would still be true:

though you slay me i will trust you

Through the tears that seem to still never end and the hurt that continues to cut, there are moments of God’s love through the arms and laughter of my nephew, there is evidence of his care of me through loyal family and friends, and there is evidence of his protection in a blood test that came back negative.

As ever, I am at your mercy and grace—whether I understand and agree or not.


Avenjer said...

When you hinted at this months ago, I figured that's what it was. You were having fun (which I was happy about) but, always be safe. Condoms condoms condoms please everyone. In DC, the rate is HIGH like 1 in 9 people have it. Too many friends have made the "my ex called and one thing lead to another and then he told me in the morning and I rushed to the doctor" mistake. When they know better and then I'm scolding them "he was your ex for a reason remember?" And then they're all "never again." Some of the twinks here seem to think because of the meds they can just not worry and have sex without condoms. But I tell them it's not worth it. Condoms cost much less than the med cocktail and less than risking you're life. Ugh, how much did the med cocktail cost? It's expensive. And the side effects are no fun either. Well, like my friends, I'm glad that you're ok too. And that you appreciate your life and faith again. God moves in mysterious ways. Maybe you just needed a good long scare, sort of a 3 month Halloween fright before your upcoming Halloween weekend. No scares in Seattle please, only tricks and treats so, pack some condoms in that suitcase mister :)

Brandon said...

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and to care. Also, thanks for the advice, and while I'm not going to go into that vivid of detail, the condom wasn't the issue in this case. There's only one person that hasn't used condoms, and I thought we'd get married. I have too healthy of fear of this disease to play around in such a way--however, even so, exposure can happen...

Avenjer said...

Well yes, you're right exposure can happen in other ways. And like you said since I didn't have all the details of what actually happened, I just assumed the most common exposure. Hmmm, but if it was'nt a condom issue, then that only leaves one other possiblity of exposure to hiv infected blood-------you're a vampire!!! I knew it! GAAAAH!!!! You read vampire teen novels, have a windowless classroom, and hate napping in the sunlight---OMG it all makes sense now!!! Gaaaah vampiiiiirrree!!! :)

Brandon said...

Sigh, vampire.... from your lips to God's ears... ;)