Saturday, January 10, 2009

Angels I Don't See PART V

Parts I, II, III and IV can be found here

Two days before Christmas Ric finally agreed to go to the emergency room. As the nurse was taking his vitals he told her he needed muscle relaxers and anti-depressants. He also told her he was mourning the death of his father who died the previous week. At that point, his father had passed over seven years prior.

“He’s actually here because he is delusional, unmotivated, cannot remember much of anything and he is increasingly becoming a danger to himself and others. He has an undiagnosed neurological disorder and we have been to countless doctors and no one can tell him what is wrong” I said.

I could recite his symptoms in my sleep. The entire week leading up to his visit to the emergency room was spent on the phone with the many doctors that had treated him pleading with them to try again and find some answers. The time for speculation was long gone and it was imperative that they find something out, and quick. Otherwise I was convinced we were going to lose him.

After taking some blood, an x-ray and a CAT scan the emergency room doctor admitted Ric to the hospital overnight. Ric was having none of it. He wanted to go home and was making life as difficult as possible for all the medical professionals. Finally, they gave him some Ativan. Within minutes, he was sleeping like a baby.

On Christmas Eve, an infectious disease doctor examined Ric. After a few questions he asked if he could talk to me privately. I agreed but asked if one of my good friends who was visiting Ric at the time could join us.

Before we went to the hall the doctor asked one more question in front of Ric.

“Is there any other strange behavior Mr. White has displayed” the doctor asked.

“Well I suspect he drove my car even though he is unlicensed. I received a court summons about leaving the scene of an accident”

In a moment of rare clarity, Ric spoke up. “I drove the car to go to the bank. I hit a Mercedes but there was no damage so I left”

I never mentioned to Ric that it was a Mercedes that was hit so I knew he was telling the truth.

After the confession the doctor, my friend and I went to the hall.

“What we are dealing with here is probably one of two things. It’s either a cancer or it’s HIV. When was the last time Mr. White was tested for HIV?”

“Oh no, it’s not HIV, doctor. He has been tested as recently as August and he was negative. It must be cancer”

“Why was he tested in August?” the doctor replied.

“For a bronchoscopy he had due to a mass on his lung”

“Is there anyway you can get me the bronchoscopy paperwork. I’d like to see what it says”

“I guess, but the mass was benign so I am not sure what the paperwork would tell you. And besides, it’s Christmas Eve. I doubt the doctor who performed the procedure is even there”

“Well try and call and see if you can get the results faxed to me. Also see if they can send the results from his blood test.”

I called the doctor who ordered and performed the bronchoscopy and, unbelievably, someone was there and agreed to fax over the results.

Ten minutes later the doctor came back to talk to me privately.

“The results show Mr. White is positive. Is there a reason he would have withheld this information from you?”

At that moment my knees buckled. In less than an hour I learned that Ric had, in fact, driven the car and been in an accident, but also that he was HIV positive, something he did not tell me for nearly six months. The enormity of it all was almost too much.

But the enormity of what was about to happen would put me at the gates of hell. The battle had just begun and my life as I knew it had just ended. For good.

Part VI of Angels I Don't See can be found here

1 comment:

alan said...

I wish there were words that could help...make any of this better...easier...bearable...

I am thinking of you! That's all I've got...

You have my e-mail if you want/need it!


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