Friday, January 26, 2007

Steven

I've lost my energy to discuss Steven but I kind of have to at this point, right?

Here's where we are.

Steven's mother will not leave his side and I don't blame her.

He's been quite nauseas for the last three days, barely holding down any food.
However, during all of this his T-Cells have actually gone UP.

The physical therapist comes by each and every morning to take him out of bed while he is eating breakfast, the routine never varies, she promises to return and never does.
Meanwhile the bedsores fester.

The social workers no longer come to the room, only their boss comes, this is a good thing.

The nurses are like angels on earth, they flutter about dispensing potions and salves that cut the pain but don't deaden it. The nurses are my heroes.

The doctors meet with one another and with us, not his real family but a ragtag group of West Hollywood fags, hags and lesbians, some hyper-educated, some barely literate. It is not always the members of MENSA in this group that make the most sense. The Doctors are sure in their positions that they will not be sued, we will not tell their secrets and they will tell all of Steven's. They remind us that Steven will be more comfortable with palliative care, in a hospice perhaps or even home hospice. We whip out the paper that Steven prepared in his already ailing and shaky script where he wants every treatment possible. He is no where near accepting of death, this will be a life cut short as Steven (as of this writing) is unprepared for his final chapter.

I would be too if I was 43.

One of the social workers told Steven's mother he had AIDS. It slipped, she didn't mean to and immediately recognized her grave error. She knew, she's sadder and slower and a little angry with all of us who have kept his secret and I don't blame her. I tiptoe around her because whatever she feels, however she behaves and whatever she wants is right. Steven's mother is suffering every ache with him. This is the child she brought into the world. It is wrong for her to see him out of it. I remind our group of this harsh reality, the parents understand, the rest of them shrug and look at us a little funny. They don't understand why we aren't annoyed with Steven's mother for her bad behavior. We don't understand how she is so strong.

They wanted to discharge Steven today. I faxed a letter to the social worker and CFO of the hospital outlining the dangers of sending home a man who lives with a partner who works full time in a tri-level townhouse with no access to food or medicine. I asked them if they'd made arrangements for home healthcare and if they hadn't would they please reconsider. I let them know that no one in the close or extended network would pick him up from the hospital so a medical transport company would need to do it and see to it that he was able to walk into his home.

They are now looking at other options.

A few moments before I sat down to write they were giving him Xanax and taking his blood pressure. It is currently 135/37.

I went for a brief visit and noticed Steven's Mom lovingly kissing her son's forehead. I can't kiss him anymore, the herpes is all over his face and oozes puss and blood. I love him so much but for me he's the boy in the bubble as the Purell in the pump on the wall will not save me from HIV.

There's always an ache but I've known for 18 of the 20 years we've been friends that I'd outlive Steven. I was surprised when he was around after 5 years and then 10 turned into 15 and here were are today. This is much like saying goodbye to an elderly relative. You know it's coming and you pray for dignity and a spot in heaven.

I pray that this blog, that this account of a young man's death will resonate with those who freely have unprotected sex, men, women, straight, gay, this is a gruesome death; it's slow and it's evil.

That's my preaching for the day.

2 comments:

GT said...

just...scary. And horrible.

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Oh Dean!
I'm so sorry.

Please send my hugs to you and your family and to Dean of course...