A Reflective Friday.

First off, my apologies for not having posted more recently. Things have been a bit nuts here, plus I’ve been feeling kinda lousy for various reasons. But I have plenty more posts to come, most of them quite funny and light, so hang in there, and thanks for your patience.

Part of the lunacy has revolved around our being adopted by a cat. The cat just appeared last week Wednesday, literally out of nowhere, and nearly tripped me as I walked out my front door. He was a skeleton, skin and bones, and desperately affectionate. Being the sucker for animal hard-luck cases that I am, we’ve taken him in. He’s starting to put some weight on, and after a vet checkup two days ago, we found we had inherited a neutered, 10-year old with an upper respiratory infection (starting to go away) and a version of kitty AIDS.

I was sitting with Stryper last night, and having seen some Emails, it got me thinking. While I have not personally lost anyone to AIDS, I know a lot of people who have. A news report this morning also stated that HIV is rising fairly quickly in Greece – whether due to people no longer having health care due to the economic crisis, or people seeking relief from their agonies through drugs, the story didn’t say. But here we are, on the eve of World’s AIDS Awareness Day, decades after this disease first appeared, and it has all but fallen off our cultural radar. Yes, there are drugs that can help – but back in the 90s, the company I worked for ran a credit card for AIDS patients to charge doses of a drug called Betaseron – at $1500 for ONE dose of a monthly medication! Sure, progress has been made, but how many of us, on a daily basis, even give a moment’s thought to all those out there trying to live with this disease? How many people, watching the play or movie “Rent”, caught the little scene between Roger and Mimi in the restaurant about “AZT time”? You don’t take these drugs and get better, you take these drugs and pray that you wake up on the right side of the grass each morning.

So I’ll ask something of all of you. Take a minute out of your Saturday. Pause during your work, or your Christmas shopping, or your battle with tangled strings of lights, and think about all those out there still struggling with this disease – burdened as it is with bigotry and hatred. Better yet, go to http://www.joinred.com/getinvolved/spread/ , and learn what you can do to help. Even if it’s just reminding one person about this, please, make the effort.

And once again, thanks for your support. Happier stuff is in the offing, so stay tuned! 🙂

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24 Responses to A Reflective Friday.

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    You’re a good soul for taking in a stray kid to add to your collection. One question – Can the new one transmit it to the others?

    Wonderful reflection about AIDS. Many of us recall when it first became a concern, yet the so many held incorrect misconceptions. Although I haven’t known anyone with AIDS, thanks for the reminder to take some time tomorrow … thus something to ponder while on the mower with my final leaf gathering event of the season.

    • My wife’s been looking up a bunch of information, and as long as the new guy isn’t bleeding or sneezing (hence the isolation while we get his “kitty cold” taken care of), they should all be safe. But we’re already looking at making him the “basement cat”, since we can keep him isolated down there and still give him plenty of stuff to do.
      I have been fortunate in not knowing anyone who died from AIDS personally, but since there’s a strong LGBT community in sci-fi fandom, I know a lot of people who have. Matter of fact, the guy who hit on me, then headed me towards Tamy for our first meeting, had his partner die. Sitting there with Stryper, musing on his condition, got me to thinking – then I heard the Greek story this morning, and it just got me wound up enough to write something.
      Thanks for the compliments, and as always, for your support. (I’ll get to the links, I promise! 😉 )

  2. Elyse says:

    As Franks says, you are a good-hearted soul, John.

    Years ago I worked on TB issues, which is closely related to AIDs — especially in less developed countries, AIDs patients often die of TB. AIDs is responsible for the resurgence of TB in the world. It is a disease we once hoped to eradicate.

    But there is a huge difference between AIDs in 1992 and AIDs 2012. Back then it was a death sentence. Now it is treatable, but of course at great cost. It joined the ranks of shitty diseases that you can live with for decades. Folks in the places where it is more rampant aren’t as lucky. There was a sad piece in the NY Times recently about sub-Saharan African grandmothers rearing their grandchildren because their children had died from AIDS.

    AIDs also transformed drug development. Activists fought to get faster access to experimental treatment and revolutionized the way drugs are developed and tested. AIDs treatments were prioritized, publicized and approved more quickly than those for other diseases. I don’t think a large group of folks, suffering from a disease, will ever be quiet again.

    • Thanks for all that info, Elyse. I knew that AIDS had become less of an immediate death sentence, but even if you can survive it, it’s a rotten thing to have. And what little attention there is for the disease, seems to have obsessed on Africa (granted, a significant proportion of the cases) almost to the point of forgetting there are hundreds of thousands of cases here in the States as well as throughout the nations of Europe.
      I’ve also noted the drug advances, but can’t help being a bit skeptical about how fast treatments would have been developed had the disease not hit “big money” Hollywood. And now that it IS survivable, the urgency to CURE it seems to have waned – at least from the point of coverage in the world press.
      Let’s just hope that the drug companies will really pay attention in the future, without regard to the “bottom line” of the victims.
      Again, thanks for all that, Elyse. I may have to tap into that wealth of knowledge you have, one of these days. 😉

      • Elyse says:

        You touched a bit of a nerve here, John.

        Cures are very different from treatments. Cures are much harder. Should we have a cure for diabetes? for heart disease? for cancer? Of course we should. And scientists are actively working on those, not to mention a cure for AIDs and a whole host of other diseases. But that work is best done in the NIH, the CDC and in some of the wonderful organizations that are working towards cures for the things that plague humankind. Those are organizations that have no agenda, no reason for being other than to find these cures. They are noble and good.

        But folks often mistake the roll that drug companies play. Drug companies make <i.treatments. Treatments are mechanisms by which we manage disease, make the impact on our lives less onerous. Treatments are different from cures. There is, frankly, no money in cures. There is money in treatments that are taken repeatedly that make the maker money. Drug companies are businesses. They are there to make money and they do so by selling drugs that treat our illnesses.

        Personally, I take a bunch of drugs to treat a condition (Crohn’s Disease) that I wish had been cured. But I’ll take what I can get.

      • I’m sorry, Elyse, if I gave the impression I think cures are far more important than treatments. Trust me, with my headaches, there AREN’T any cures, at least none that exist today. (Well, none short of lopping off bits of my brain, and I need all the grey cells I can get! 🙂 ) I know you’d love to be rid of your problems, too, but I completely agree that treatments should come first. And treatments can be improved – I remember the “drug cocktails” of the 90s for AIDS treatment that have shrunk down to AZT and one or two others. Heck, when my health first crashed, I had a dozen prescriptions for various drugs I was taking to “help” with my headaches – I’m now down three, and one of those is a sleep aid because Vicodin wires me, unlike everybody else that it makes sleepy.
        So yes, by all means, we need to push the treatments. For EVERYTHING – you’d be amazed at what my beloved Fermilab and their particle accelerators can do for cancer, and do it with far less harm to the patient than traditional chemotherapy. Hideously expensive, sure, but far less damaging. I guess the point I was (poorly) trying to make was, we need to remember that not everybody in the world can afford the cutting edge medicines, and that we need to work on, I guess what you would call a 3-prong approach – make the existing treatments cheaper, make better treatments, and yes, find cures. I just think that we, who are blessed with abundant medical technology here in America and Europe, can sometimes forget that a $50/month prescription is an inconvenience for us, but an unobtainable goal for someone in Asia or Africa.
        Sorry for any clumsy wording – I keep getting interrupted by a bunch of frenetic fur balls chasing each other around the house – frequently OVER me! Now explain to me again WHY I took another one in? 😉 😀

  3. tori nelson says:

    Don’t apologize, dude. You gotta get the funk out sometimes. I’ll second and third and AMEN the previous comments. You are a kind-hearted soul!

  4. unfetteredbs says:

    reflective and KIND…

    • Aw, gee, thanks! Like I said, I’m a sucker for animal hard-luck cases. I’ve had a Border Collie terrified of sheep, a pair of rescued rats that were supposed to be lunch for a snake, and now Stryper. I guess I’m inspired by my wife – she takes in hard-luck cases too. (Well, she married ME! 😀 )
      Thanks again, and welcome aboard!

      • unfetteredbs says:

        we have a cat and a dog for the same reasons. 🙂

      • Just be careful you set limits. I’m currently working on my wife for a donkey, personally. (Yeah, yeah, I know, ain’t it illegal to have TWO jackasses in one house? NO. This is Ohio, after all……) 😉

  5. fasab says:

    Nice post and a good idea for tomorrow.
    But remember if your wife lets you get one it’s against the law to keep it in the bath tub.

    • No worries, he wouldn’t fit through the bathroom door. And if he did, he’d have to fight off the one cat who thinks he owns the tub. The big, FAT cat – with a MEAN disposition! 😀

  6. Teeny Bikini says:

    Oh, poor sweet kitty. He is so lucky to have found you. Wow. I hope he gets back to fighting weight soon. Thank you for this kind blog. I will keep it in mind this weekend. Cheers.

    • Thanks! He’s looking a lot better, his “battle scars” are healing, and he’s sneezing less – though I wish he’d quit sneezing so I could bring him up and let him spend some time with the horde. I think I might let him wander outside tomorrow if the temps really do hit over 60, since he’s obviously familiar with both being outside and finding us! 😀
      Have a great weekend, and thanks again for stopping by!

  7. AIDS is still a very important topic. My only close encounter with a loss to AIDS is the brother of a really good friend. And that was a few years ago. I volunteered for a while at the local AIDS Center and at that time was more overtly aware of the crisis at hand, but it’s true that over time that urgency has lightened. We’re spending the weekend in Laguna and I noticed today that there are big banners across some of the streets highlighting an event for AIDS Awareness. So there are some signs of advocacy, but I take to heart your concerns and I’m glad you broached the subject. It’s not necessary that all posts be lighthearted! Be well!

    • Thanks much.. I noticed that the White House had a large red “ribbon” displayed last night for today. And I know there’s a lot of push out of MTV and its’ various affiliates, so with any luck, the current crop of teens and twenty-somethings will keep this in the forefront.
      Enjoy your weekend!

  8. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Nice post, John. You are a very kind-hearted person. I wish the best for Stryper.

  9. benzeknees says:

    Thanks for the reminder John – you’re right most of us have forgotten about those living with AIDS. We need another “Philadelphia” to remind us.

    • Let’s hope that the “social media hip” generation will follow up with the whole “RED” campaign.
      And not to take anything away from the solemnity this day should bring, but this day is ending on a note of hope for the future – albeit not directly related to the anti-AIDS campaign. But we find our upliftings wherever we can – even among the stars, and at sea….

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