I could hardly believe it
When I heard the news today
I had to come and get it straight from you
They said you were leavin'
i haven't really alluded to it much, but i am very saddened by the passing of martin delaney. he touched so many lives (no, really) and my little story is much the same as so many.
but indeed, he did bring a voice of calm and a sense of hope to my life when i was drowning. i think it was 1996. i wss living in denver and i had just gotten my 3rd dui conviction. i spent 6 days in jail and was back on the travel job, doing the mandated treatment and working full time as well as working off my community service hours by restacking books at the public library. i was forcing myself to do too much as i always do, and i was being emotionally supported by my very best friend at the time. but i was falling apart inside. i was not sleeping enough. i had not been drinking at all for several months, but my bipolar mania was in full swing and i didn't recognize it.
i had a little cottage-like apartment in uptown that i called der joode (pronounced der hudi) and it was as magical and fable like as its name. but that wasn't enough to keep me from feeling the effects of 10 years of living with hiv. i was thin, my manic episodes were becoming full time and i remember distinctly being dropped off at der joode by joe and having him yell at me in the car that if i didn't go to a doctor this week, he wasn't going to be able to talk with me again.
it scared me really. i had never seen him yell. so i made an appointment with his doctor- neil sullivan and went in for a checkup. i was tested and it was decided that i had a prostate infection. the colleague looking after me asked me a few more questions and it was decided to test me for hiv. ( i knew this but had not been out about it because i feared the worst and i also wanted to get insurance-which i now had).
anyway my test came back positive(big shock) and the state of my immunion was not good. t-cells were at 179 and the viral family and taken up residence and were busy building subdivisions. medication ( the then-termed cocktail) was discussed and i was completely paranoid. i had seen so many friends start on azt and disappear within days or weeks. i had realized that doctors at that time knew as much or less than i did, so had become safe in not trusting and not interacting with medical professionals. i was on shaky ground here.
and then into my life comes project inform. the buzz was calling their information line would offer me information, unbiased and well researched, not from a medical professional but from another compatriot with the virus. i remember that call being a ritual for me. i sat down at my desk, i wrote out my questions, and i waited what seemed like an eternity for a call back.
but i got one, and it was martin. he talked me through all my fears. he answered my questions thoughtfully. he understood my fears and prejudices and validated them. he also encouraged me to look beyond fear. damn! he had logic on his side along with brains. i was hooked. hooked on hope, hooked on a change, and hooked on becoming a guinea pig. and it has turned out that that little conversation and the decision following it most definitely saved my life. or at least opened the door for it to happen.
thank you martin delaney for all you have done for the probably thousands of comrades like me. safe journey.
today's sound choice is a bit corny, but i can deal with that. it's michael bolton with "how am i supposed to without you"