Thursday, January 27, 2011

You never think it could happen to you...

I have reconnected with so many old friends on Facebook.  It's been a lot of fun seeing how people are doing and what they've been up to.  Last night, after posting about Dan's fundraiser for the AIDS LifeCycle, an old friend sent me a message saying that they contracted HIV a few years ago.  They said a lot of people don't know so they asked that I keep their secret.  But I asked that they write their story down for me and I would share it anonymously.  Because, you never think it could happen to you and this is an example of how you never know what life has in store for you.

Please don't ask who the person is.  I will keep their secret locked up tight.  But I hope you can hear their story and then open your wallet to support Dan (who will help people like this).

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On February 2 it will be 3 years since I found out that I was HIV positive and my life as I knew it would change forever. I'm a healthcare worker, and have been for nearly 12 years. I had taken a job in a small town in the mountains so that I could enjoy life a little and help my dad out after his divorce from my mother. Was a normal day in the ER and I was helping with a patient that had fallen ill with an AIDS related case of pneumonia. During the packaging of the patient to send him to ICU, I grabbed ahold of some equipment that had alot of blood on it, and realized that I didn't have my gloves on.

I didn't really think anything of it. Washed my hands and went about my day. Three months later I thought that I had the worst case of flu ever known to man...lol. That month was my birthday and we were given a free lab panel blood screen test. On Feb. 2, they informed me that my tests came back Pos. for HIV. I lost my mind that day. There were so many emotions that I had never felt before. I instantly remembered the blood exposure and I hadn't filed any paperwork for workman's comp.

I informed my boss of my news, and was allowed to keep my job. For now. The hospital would not allow the work comp claim. I was on my own, with no insurance. With help from my cuzn I was able to find an HIV program that helped people out in need. There are many programs, grants, etc. to help, but do not last long. Again...so many emotions. Depression, Suicidal thoughts, and keeping myself away from people as I was afraid I would infect someone. My living in a small town in the mountains turned into severe isolation and hinderance. One day my friend called and said they had a dog dumped in their driveway in a box. I went over that night and found that it was an awsome Border Collie Puppy with a broken tail. I instantly feel in love with her and took her home. She gave me something to live for, and be happy about. I needed to be there for her. So a year goes by and my boss tells me its time to tell everyone that I was sick at work. So during a morning and evening staff meeting, I stood in front of the room and told my peers that I was sick. I wanted to vomit and pass out. Was the most embarassing thing ever. I had nowhere to hide. A week goes by and I was called into the office and was told I was being laid off. I knew why. I suddenly had no income, insurance and ability to pay for meds. The stress took its toll on my body and I got sicker...faster. I was placed on med. I was given the option of the typical cocktails that made you look sick, or one that made you feel crazy. I figured, I've always walked the line of crazy or not so I'd go with that one. $1,700 per month was the cost to keep me alive with the crazy pill.

The pill indeed made you feel sick, and crazy. At first it gave me the spins. Just as bad as a long night with Tequila. It gradually got better, and 2 years later I don't feel the side affects. One pill per night and thats it for now, as long as the virus keeps responding to it. I Have now had an ongoing lawsuit with the hospital that is stalled and will take a long time to finish. I was given inside info, I had indeed been let go because of my HIV status. During the 8 months of unemployment and continued searches for work, I was made aware by a potential employer that the hospital had told them I was HIV pos and not to hire me. I luckily found a full time job with benefits at the very time when my unemployment, and medical grants for my meds would end. I have been at my job for 11 months now and fear every day that I will be found out, and lose my job. Now nearing the 3 year anniversary which is 2 days after my birthday I am comfortable with who I am, and direction that my life is going. There have been a few side affects of the disease and medicine, but I've made it through with my dog at my side, and the support of a few friend.

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I really appreciate my friend sharing this story.  Even staying anonymous, it was very brave!

Please watch my video or Dan's and put ONE DOLLAR in the mail to support AIDS research.  The life you end up saving may be your own!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oqay2UzULE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMVGXVN4gGA

Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. You are very brave to share your story. So many times health care providers are exposed to many health hazards all while trying to help heal others. There are many cruel people and corporations that are not supportive of their employees, however there are also many people whom you know and will come to know through your battles that are behind you through it all. Stay strong and enjoy the people around you. True people will always be there no matter what.

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  2. To say I am sorry for what you have had to go through and will continue to go through is so much less than what I would like to say. There are no words for how my heart breaks for the Anonymous Friend. The way you contracted the virus is so terrible! I truly hope that you continue to stay strong and fight hard until there is a cure.

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  3. Very brave indeed. Lori posted my story a week or so ago. Thank you for allowing her to post yours. I remember back when my brother was in the hospital that there were nurses who refused to care for him. We asked them to not be allowed to care for him. Thank God for those who would. Also, the funeral home here in Brentwood refused to take him, so we went to Higgins in Antioch. I have made it clear that I WILL not be handled in Brentwood if something bad were to happen.
    There is still prejudice out there. Hopefully this blog will help. :)

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  4. People are amazing creatures. They can overcome horrible experiences and thrive after. Keep going strong Anonymous. The world needs people who can overcome and continue on.

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