Do You Want To See Others?
Most of us have dealt with the flu, chickenpox, mumps, measles and other common viruses but only a few of us have had to deal with HIV/AIDS.
I knew of it (from movies, books and tv shows) but I soon found out that I didn’t really know anything about it. I never thought I would ever have this kind of association with it and I never ever thought it would readily break my heart.
Kuya Bot’s doctor suggested someone from the family stay with him for a couple of months. She said HIV/AIDS patients usually plunge into depression. When depression is paired with HIV, the two diseases can feed off of one another. However, with proper care, most of them can go back to work after a year. Our goal was to get him to as healthy as can be so I volunteered to be my Kuya’s primary care giver.
My support system back home in Canada is very strong. My husband Jahan, my son Alexander, my in laws, people at work and my ladies in LA. They may not be with me but they never let me feel alone. In addition to them, I had people supporting me in Manila while I cared for my Kuya: Daddy, my sisters, Adrian and Ayin, Manang Cita, Kuya’s friend Reyan, Kuya Erwin, my forever friend and her husband Tet and Neil. They were always ready to cover my shift when I needed sleep, they held me tight when I was ready to fall apart; they always know when a piece of cake is badly needed to distract me from an agonizing obligation.
During one of Kuya Bot’s visits to his doctor, we requested for a support group.
We figured that only good could come from speaking with anyone going through what he was going through. We were blessed with a visit from, not one, but six people the very next day. One of them went to the same doctor as Kuya Bot. All of them are members of the Christian church group, CCF. DZ and Em lead the group and the rest are PLHIV (People Living with HIV). Before Kuya Bot, I’d never met anyone with HIV/AIDS and I would never have known they were HIV positive. Except for Ram; who just got out of the hospital, they looked perfectly healthy. It was very reassuring.
They all openly shared their personal stories.
Watching Alan with his vibrant smile and attitude; listening to Chris with his sincerity and faith; listening to Ranni’s story of being close to dying, they gave me hope that Kuya could still recover. They inspired him too because the following day, Kuya Bot forced himself to eat and get up. They all gave both of us a jolt of the hope we desperately needed. He may not have been able to get rid of the illness completely, but we could work at getting him well enough to have a normal routine again. Feed and bathe himself, walk without support, meet with friends, go back to work. All the things we take for granted, I desperately wished for him. The CCF group visited him again. They brought even more people. They, once again, spoke, sang and prayed so openly with him. This group of people was a Godsend, not only for Kuya Bot, but for me too. They taught me how to care for my Kuya. They knew that what he needed most from me and the rest of the family was patience and understanding. We could only see the surface of the illness. We couldn’t see the emotional and mental effect it had on him. During each visit, they shamelessly held his hand and confidently told him “I understand”. Only they could offer him those two words of comfort. The support group was one of the last gifts Kuya Bot received. “Thank you” will never be enough nor should it be.
Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world. – A. A. Malee