Disease Awareness

It all started when my mother was frying potato pancakes this evening. It is the second night of Chanukah and our tradition is to eat greasy things during the eight day holiday, then go on a collective diet.

So I was in the kitchen looking morose, and my mother suggested that I needed to get out and do things with people (she is an extrovert). I said, “what people?” And she said, oh, you know, just people,”. And I said, “I don’t like just hanging around with random people. It gives me the creeps.” And she says, “what are you, antisocial or something?” And I say, “What, you’re only now figuring this out? I’ve been avoiding people all of my life and only now it’s dawning on you that I really do not enjoy people?” So she mumbles something about yes, she had noticed something like that, and asks me if I think the latkes need more salt.

Just to heighten my level of disease awareness, this very week I received the news that I am the unwilling hostess of yet another opportunistic disease. You see, my immune system went south about four years ago. To date no one knows why. I have had five negative HIV tests, so it’s not that, thank God, although there are times when I wonder whether my quality of life might not be better, given the excellent antiretroviral therapies we have now. When my Medicare kicks in, in a month or so, I hope, I will go see an immunologist and try to get this sorted out. For now I just feel like a walking bag of viral and fungal infections. I feel like I should walk down the street as in times of old crying, “Unclean! Unclean!” Luckily there are no streets, where I live.

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