May 3, 2008

May 3, 2008
Welcome back friend. Well I hope you got to sleep in later than I did this Saturday morning. Now to the details of another day in my life. I had to be up by 6am this morning to get ready for an event with Divided We Fail and 100 Black Men of Jacksonville. Unfortunately, I am still experiencing problems with my neuropathy so I was only able to get about three hours sleep last night. I don't do well without sleep and tend to be a little on the short tempered side without rest and my patience was definitely tested today. Luckily Gary also had to be up this morning for work so he can get things caught up on his desk.

Lindsey showed up to pick me up at 8am and I was still not awake all the way. This early in the morning, I don't think either of us were fully awake. I couldn't even tell you how she drove to the event or what part of town it was being held. By looking at pictures from our event today, the name of the place we were painting was the A. L. Lewis Community Center which is located in the Northside part of Jacksonville. Lindsey and I brought several types of bagels, cream cheese, two kinds of coffee and orange juice for everyone to have for breakfast. Today besides Lindsey and myself we had Nancy, Priscilla and a couple of other out of town Divided We Fail members at the event. One volunteer had driven two hours to be at the event.

After everyone showed up around 9am, we were given our painting assignments. Those of us with Divided We Fail were given the children's learning center and two bathrooms which only took a couple of hours to tape off and get painted. I was also asked to take photographs for our AARP website since the hired photographer did not show up today. I also had to get a photo release form signed for each person in the photos. The First Coast High School men's chorus showed up around 10am and provided some fantastic entertainment for the event and did a great job with their singing. (I spoke with their director and hopefully they will be able to come sing for the kids during the Teddy Bear Touchdown this year. A couple of officials from the 100 Black Men of Jacksonville and Divided We Fail/AARP then spoke for about 20 minutes after the chorus's performance. Then it was time for everyone to eat the hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, cole slaw and all the fixins we had provided for lunchtime. After four hours of hard work, everyone was starved and every bit of food was consumed.

Then it was time for us to get people to sign pledge cards for Divided We Fail. Most of the people were very friendly and outgoing. I did end up in a very long debate over whether or not gays and lesbians "choose" to be gay or are born gay and lesbian. Now this woman was a local school teacher who is also a very devout Christian. I'm not knocking her religious belief but her insistence of all gays and lesbians being an abomination riled my blood. She also talked about disowning her brother after finding out he was gay and HIV+ even until his death a few years ago. I was proud of myself for keeping an even head and not losing my temper during our discussion. Then the same woman called me into the gym to speak with a pastor friend of hers. He and I went into a second discussion on the same topics for almost an hour before luckily it was our time to leave for the day. It was obvious I wasn't going to change either one of their minds and they definitely were not going to change my beliefs. I just hope they heard the message of how HIV and AIDS are killing women, youth and minorities at an alarming rate without their community addressing in full the issue. That's all I can do is show them the facts and hope they will act. I also invited the preacher and the 100 Black Men of Jacksonville to participate in our yearly Teddy Bear Touchdown. Maybe working with the HIV+ children will help them understand more or at least I can hope.

I was feeling so poorly by the time Lindsey dropped me back at the house I spent the rest of the day and evening trying to get some rest but my neuropathy is so bad right now I can't never seem to get away from the pain. It feels like vice grips with razor blades on my legs and arms to an almost unbearable level even with the morphine sulfate I have been taking. It is now after midnight and I'm still not able to get to sleep. I sure hope the pain starts subsiding soon since this is the second full day in a row and it's an exhausting kind of pain I'm unable to escape. Gary has been very understanding and leaving me alone. He knows when I'm in a ton of pain my temper can be very short.

I hope you're having a great weekend so far and enjoying the time if you don't have to work this weekend. Take some time this weekend and do something special for yourself. Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab