Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ever had one of those weeks?, ...years?, ...lives?!?

This past week has been an interesting one with many ups and downs. 
On Wednesday we returned home after a WONDERFUL visit with our good friends at their cabin near Ely only to discover that our water heater (new in 1991) was leaking badly.  Since we do not have a drain in the floor of our cellar, we had to turn the heater off and we have been living without hot water since Thursday morning.  Try washing dishes by heating water in a tea kettle and pouring it in the sink.  Back to the "good old days"!  Add to that, no showers.  Guess we know a bit about what things were like when the house was built in 1904.  Today we are finally getting a new heater installed. Yea!!!
Then on Friday, I returned home from my acupuncture appointment all relaxed and feeling good only to find a bill in the mail from the hospital where I get my acupuncture done saying I owed almost $1000.00.  And, they did not include the sessions done in June or July.  Jim got on the phone and was able, after a few phone calls, to figure out it was their mistake and I should not have to pay that amount!  Again, Yea!!!
It is times like this that I tend to look back on the year I was diagnosed with AIDS.  I remember all too well the weeks spent in the hospital with a fever of 105 wondering if I would live to see the sunrise the next day.  I remember being afraid and feeling alone, even with Jim steadfastly at my side.  I was scared because the only people I had known with AIDS had died.  I remember my recovery at home, at first too weak to go outside and see the flowers blooming.  I remember going back to work and being afraid of how my coworkers would react when I told them of my diagnosis.  And I remember the look on my mother's face when I told her knowing that she was afraid she might loose her youngest son.
Although all of this has been extremely stressful, I am able to think about how I do really consider myself to be lucky and I really can't complain (too much).  I am alive and for the most part, healthy.  I have a fabulous husband by my side who is willing to offer love, support and assistance when I am in need.  I have terrific friends and family who's love and care often surprises me.  I have a nice home and there is money in the bank.  I am still able to travel and see the world.  Plus, right now the tomatoes are ripening, the cucumbers are growing and rest of the vegetables are doing well in spite of the strange summer we have had.  And, our city is not being bombed, we have freedom and I am legally married to the person I love.  All in all, life really is not too shabby.
Now, on to fix the rest of the world!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back in Minneapolis (the Real World)

Jim and I got back home this afternoon from a wonderful trip to our friend's place near Ely, MN.  They own a sweet cabin on a big lake north of town.  We went up Saturday to celebrate our 28th / 8th anniversary and our friend's birthday.  What a fabulous trip to visit our close friends, S & N!
This trip got me thinking.  What if I was not able to do any traveling?  What if I had to stay home because of the damage AIDS has done to my body? 
Often travel for me can be a huge challenge because of the many medical issues I face day to day.  I have to either medicate or be close to restrooms at all times because of bowel troubles.  Pain can cause me to have to take more medications or lay low.  I need to rest often because of chronic fatigue.  There are so many issues I have to worry about and so many things I have to make sure I remember to pack.  Is travel worth all I have to put up with?
My answer in one word, YES!  I love seeing the country and the world with Jim.  I so enjoy visiting friends and family in their favorite places.  I can not go through life without experiencing other cultures and traditions.  And, I absolutely LOVE to try new foods, see new things, meet new friends and experience the world first hand.  Without travel, what an awful life I think I would have.
Still, I realize that there may come a day when I will have to stay put.  I just hope that Jim will be at my side and that I will live in a place that my friends and family will want to come and visit me. 
On this trip to Ely I made friends with a chipmunk.  By the end of the visit I was feeding him from my hand and he was climbing on my lap and checking me out.  I also fed chickadees and nut hatches from my hand. 
These are just some examples of the experiences that make travel worth the trouble for me.  Plus, I get to share these experiences with people I love!  Thank you Jim and our friends in Ely, S & N!!  Love you all!!! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Love of My Life or "It was a dark & stormy night"

I am often asked how I manage to keep going and keep a positive attitude with all that I go through on a daily basis.  Well, the main answer, the easiest answer, is that I have the most wonderful support from the man in my life, Jim Lawser!
Jim and I met in Rochester, MN, shortly after I was infected with HIV.  Jim always tells people that, "It was a dark and stormy night" that we met.  It was an evening at Silver Lake Park in Rochester where I had gone to watch the sunset on July 19th, 1986.  We had seen each other around town but until that evening we had never met.  Once we did meet, for me, it was love at first sight.  Jim was interested in me as a person, not just in having a good time or a one night stand.  That first night we talked for hours and really got to know each other.  It really didn't hurt that he was (in my opinion) extremely handsome and sweet plus he was older than me by 17 years and I always found older men to be more attractive.  As the weeks went by we exchanged notes, saw each other as often as we could and I really got to know the man who would become the love of my life.  Then, in the fall of that year, we moved to Minneapolis and began the adventure that would become our lives together.
Many years later, I got very sick and was hospitalized.  
Jim was by my side as I received my AIDS diagnosis.  He was by my side as I struggled against the pneumocystis pneumonia and other opportunistic infections that threatened my life.  He took off from work as I fought the 105 degree fever that raged through my body and he was the one who held my hand and promised to support me in my decision to fight to live.  Then when I was able to come home and begin the long journey to recovery, it was Jim who took care of my medical appointments, my many medications, my physical, mental and emotional needs.  When I decided, against my better judgment and my doctor's opinion, to return to work, it was Jim who fully supported me.  He gave me time to take care of myself and was there when I needed him most.  Even though I have always had the love and support of many friends and family members, it has always been Jim whose love and support has never waivered, especially in the worst of times.
Through our 28 years together, Jim has shown me the meaning of love and support.  He has shown me what a true spouse is.  He is the reason I keep going, I keep my positive attitude.  Jim is my reason to live and I plan to do so for a very long time.

Happy 28th Anniversary Jim!! 

Happy 8th Anniversary Husband of Mine!!!

Happy Legal At Last!!!

The politics of the day.

     As most of you may know, my political affiliation leans strongly to the left, more liberal side.  Although I do not believe in everythi...