April 12, 2012

April 12, 2012
True Words From a Friend

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me. So stay tuned for more pictures and slide shows soon from the events.

Today, I would like to share a story a friend told me about recently. It is the story of when a friend shared that he had just found out that his friend told him he had been diagnosed as HIV positive.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. My best friend came along with me as I went for an HIV test after a scary college weekend filled with way too much flirting and alcohol. He came with me only as a support system and decided to get tested himself while he waited for me. In the three weeks as I waited anxiously for my results, my friend was very calm and kept telling me donít worry youíre fine, I know you are. When the doctors sent my results in the mail, it indicated that I was HIV-negative. I was very relieved and called my best friend to thank him for being so supportive. When he picked up the phone he sounded different than usual, there was a sound of confusion in his voice. He informed me that he was at the clinic because he received a call back to return to the clinic after the HIV test he took with me. He informed me that he would call me back after he met with the doctor. Deep inside I was so nervous for him, but I was determined to be both supportive and calm for his nerves and mine. Remarkably, no matter what my friend went through, he was always calm by nature.

He called me back twenty-six minutes later while at the pizza parlor ordering a slice of his favorite sausage and onions pizza. Hello I said. There was so much anticipation in my words that I didnít even let him respond fully before I asked, what did the doctor say? While he was talking to me he was also having an entertaining conversation with the chef at the pizza parlor, laughing and joking about something random. As I waited for his next response, his laughter and chattiness with the chef eased my nerves, and I thought for sure he was HIV-negative. At that very moment, as he finished cracking a joke with the chef he said to me, in the same breath, Iím HIV-positive. If there was an official handbook on how to respond to someone telling you theyíre HIV-positive I still wouldnít have been prepared. For some reason, it seems like time went slower than usual, but believe it or not, this all happened within five minutes. Well itís okay, know that Iím here for you no matter what, and weíll get through this. Right after my response, I started thinking whether or not I said the right thing or if it sounded like something rehearsed, something I heard somewhere else. I started wishing I had a second chance to give my initial response all over again. If I did, I would say something more authentic, something that didnít sound so cookie-cutter. Itís o.k. Iím not stressing it, but hey let me devour this pizza and get ready for work, and Iíll call you later. As I hung up the phone with my best friend, I started thinking why was he so calm and relaxed upon finding this out. After twenty minutes of pondering this in my head, I realized that as long as a person is genuinely supportive in their response, you could never say the wrong thing.

So if you are ever faced with someone sharing they just tested HIV positive, remember the best thing you can do is listen to them and be a good friend. Each person handles the news of finding out they are HIV positive differently.

Hope you have a great Thursday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab