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A four part story

Her new boyfriend was a medical technologist. She thought she hit the jackpot, he was smart and had a job.

Two weeks after they had began sleeping together she announced that she had missed her period. He took his new girlfriend out to the lab he worked and drew some blood without his bosses permission or a physicians script, and technically that would be considered practicing medicine with out a license. However, the tests had already been set up and his boss wasn't aware of the violation until after the tests were completed. He ran the pregnancy test and it was positive. He was going to be a father again.

Since he had some extra sample left from the pregnancy test, he decide to just perform as many of the tests that the doctor would have ordered when she makes her first appointment. Among those tests would have been her blood type, and chemistries and some immunological testing.

Not all the tests were completed but all the blood work so far was coming back within normal limits. He's happy his girlfriend is pregnant and she is healthy.
A few hours later the last test to be completed had finally finished. When he walked over to his work bench an eerie feeling fell on him. He saw that the color indicator for that series of tests found a positive one, he quickly looked at the reaction plates and saw the blue well. He confirmed the controls were within range and the standards had not changed. He looked in all the ares of quality control. He needed to be able to explain that blue color. He couldn't.
As he was holding back tears,he quickly removed his lab coat, washed his hands and headed straight for the bar down the street. His co workers obviously saw something was wrong.

Another Technologist looked at the plate that he had seen, he knew what the result was, he just didn't know who it belonged to. Was it his lab result?
In a matter of moments this single dads life had changed forever. He sat at the bar for about an hour, regained his composure and went back to the lab. By now it was figured out who the blood belonged to and what the result was.

His boss called him into her office when he returned back from his wet lunch, she berated him for performing lab tests without a doctors order. After he acknowledge his transgressions, the boss asked how he was doing and offered him the rest off the day off, he quickly accepted and went home.
He called his girlfriend and told her he needed to speak with her right away, she assumed the test was positive and thought that he wanted to tell her some special way. Shes eager to get to his house.
He tells her, "I love you", I had to go have a few beers though so could gather up the courage to tell you and to figure out if this is what I can handle. Yes, you are pregnant he says to her, but he cautions that is not an ordinary pregnancy.
Not only was your pregnancy test positive, but you are also HIV positive. She informed him, that should he want to go, she would understand. He chose to stay, be a father to her baby and a partner in her fight for her life.

He gave her 10 years at the expense of his own health, the children that so loved her and a life with companionship and love.
That Saturday morning began like all the others. He had gotten home from work around 6 that morning and climbed into bed with her. She didn't stir much which was unusual. She at least rolls over to his side a gives him a kiss and cuddles. He figured she was real tired because of the pregnancy and had a rough night. Shes almost to full term and her petite body was really caring a load. So, he didn't do anything to disturb her. But her labor had started earlier in the night, she was just enjoying a brief respite from the pain when he came home from work and climbed into bed. A few hours later she had to wake him, her water had broke.

Their first daughter was born on a bright spring day. It had rained all week but today, the weather was perfect. Is she positive also? He wonders now, what he got himself into. A positive girlfriend and possibly a positive baby. The initial tests wont be completed for at least a week, they have at least that long to wait to find out. They had her tested over an eighteen month period, all tests were negative for the virus; she was safe.

The pregnancy had taken a toll her on body. Her kidneys had born the brunt of being pregnant and HIV positive, and as a result she began to suffer from symptoms of nephrotic syndrome. Soon her kidneys had started to shut down. After about a year it appeared her kidney disease would take her from her toddler. She had swelled up like a balloon from the fluid retention. A kidney transplant was not an option because of her HIV disease. Hospice had been called in. He worries he has to be a single father again. Can he do it? Depends! It depends on him.

Her medical bills begin to pile up and soon he finds it necessary to get a second job. He took a daytime position in the lab of a respected oncologist in the area. Between the two jobs he was hardly ever home and when he was it was either to get ready to go to the other job, or to tend to her illness. But soon faith was about to prove itself.

Her kidney disease had started to show signs of easing, she began to lose the balloon look. Soon she had gone back to the beautiful girl he remembered. Her kidney disease and HIV began to live together in her. Because of her new found energy she had started to become more active. As her energy level increased, his had began to decrease. He was working 80 hours a week and taking care of the house when she wasn't able.

A vacation to Florida is whats needed. He needs to relax and she needs to play. The kids need to play with their mother, she hadn't felt well enough to give them some quality time. A resort on the beach is just what the doctor ordered. With arrangements made with his jobs, they loaded up the car and headed to he sunshine state. But the stresses of the past couple of years are about to conspire to remind him of what he had gotten himself into.

Part 3, He converts
He was tired. The past couple of years had him feeling as though he had been ran hard and put away wet. Now its time to relax and recharge. Shes out in the water playing with kids, and hes just laying on the beach soaking up the warm sunshine. Soon, he began to concern himself with 'what-ifs'; What if she became pregnant again? What if her better health is temporary?

He thought a vasectomy is the best way to make sure she wont get pregnant. He couldn't afford another kid, and he didn't want to have to go through the whole issue of worrying about a new baby and the possibility that being lucky once doesn't guarantee it again. Nope, no more kids. He decides he has reached his limit. He will get a vasectomy.

After a short nap on the beach, it was lunch time, with the family in tow they head back to the hotel for lunch. When he had gotten back to his room to change he noticed a few spots on his body, they had began to itch and he scratched them open. How odd, he thought they may have been sand flea bites and quickly put it out of his mind. Many years in the laboratory had given him the ability to understand the pathology for many diseases. He knew he was vulnerable to becoming positive. Any sniffle and ache turned on his radar.

By the time the evening had turned into night and the kids had fallen asleep, he began to feel a fever coming on. His battery wasn't recharging as quickly as he had hoped so he went to bed. This is the first time he hasn't felt well in a long time. He begins to wonder.

The next morning he was broken out all over, from head to toe he has a rash. A good nights rest wasn't accomplished, his fever has began to turn into chills. He wasn't up to eating and just wanted to go back to bed so he sends the wife and kids downstairs for their breakfast. He notices that his eyes are beginning to burn so he goes into the bathroom and inspects his face in the mirror. He sees that he has similar rash marks under his eye lids. He starting to become sensitive to light. Hes not feeling better, his medical radar is beginning to get cranked up.

His family returns from breakfast and he announces that he isn't feeling well and is going to stay in the room for awhile, they should go out and have fun he tells them. By the time lunch had come around he knew something was wrong. He was feeling worse and the sores on his body had spread like measles or chicken pox on his chest. He decides he has to get back home to see a doctor. He starts calling the airlines for flight information because his eyesight seems to be affected by whatever and he doesn't want to drive his family 1000 miles if he cant see.

He flies home that evening, feeling terrible. He's not sure whats wrong but he has his suspicions. He knew staying with her, that there would be a day like this. He wasn't mad at her. He wasn't fearful, just concerned. Can he support his wife and kids?
Because he didn't want to create the same legal issues as he had done in the past regarding ordering lab tests, he chose to go to the doctor first instead of just performing a bunch of tests on himself. He told the doctor his history and his suspicions. He wanted the doctor to test for them. He told the doctor he was exposed to HIV numerous times. His doctor felt that he had some other condition and wasn't going to order those tests. That was the wrong medical decision. The doctor was fired after that visit.

He went to his lab on a Sunday afternoon when few people were in the lab. He sat in the chair, prepped his arm and stuck himself. He withdrew three vials of blood from himself and headed off to the machines and microscopes. Soon, he was working three departments in the lab by himself.

The blue color was unmistakable, the serology tests showed he had antibodies to the virus and his immune system was going into high gear, hence the fever and herpes simplex out break. Flow cytometry confirmed the initial tests, and gave a picture of his immune system. The chemistry and hematology tests provided information on his overall health to this point. He was sick, HIV was going crazy in his body, his immune systems war machine was cranked up but was losing. He needed a doctor now, but more importantly, he needed to know too, if his wife will be as supporting to him as he was to her. A fear creeps into his consciousness, two adults sicker than dogs trying to raise a family. Shes not strong enough. Can he do this?

Part four...The Affair
He had flown home alone, early to deal with the acute phase of the conversion process, the initial response to becoming infected. The family had stayed behind in Florida for the rest of their vacation, by the time his acute phase had passed and he was felling somewhat better, the wife and kids would be home.

He went back to work a few nights after they had returned. He has to tell his supervisor he has a chronic illness now, and there may be times that short notice absences will occur. He decides that as soon as he says anything everyone will look at him weird. How can a lab technician become infected. He should know better.
The anticipated stigma that he feels would be placed on him would cause him to want to quit. He knows quitting a job because hes embarrassed would not serve him and his family well. He decides to tell his boss that he has Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, cancer is respectable. All he has to do is make sure no other technician performs any tests on blood with his or his wifes name. He will process and perform his own tests quietly.
Eventually he goes back to work full time, his wife is also feeling well, she has found a new strength and decides for herself that she needs to go back to school and try to take some burden off of him. She hopes by being able to get her GED she can at least get a job where he can be home more often. However, he feels that being home is just a den full of problems, the best to way to work on those problems is to earn money to get rid of them. Being home more often, while would be great, but he doesn't get paid to be home. His earning potential is a lot greater then hers, he needs her home to take care of the house and the kids, being there keeping the home fires burning is what he needs to be a good husband and dad. Her loneliness had started to show now.
She enrolled in an adult education class and began to make new friends. She began to confide in the instructor of the class. In no time, a friendship between the two of them had started to take hold. She would call him to make quick repairs on the house if her husband was unable. He invited her and the kids to rides on his boat. He began to make inroads into this family since dad was so busy. But she wouldn't cheat on him. How could she? Knowing what they've been going through he's sure that fidelity shouldn't be an issue. Nevertheless he has concerns.

One Saturday morning he was able to sleep in. She had taken the kids to the park so it would be quiet and he could sleep. Waking before they had returned from their outing, he began to clean up his bedroom a little when he found a small micro cassette. He wonders what this could be, maybe she is recording her GED lessons, curiosity began to get the better of him. He found a cassette player, popped in the tape and began to listen. Within a few seconds he begins to shake, his blood pressure begins to rise, if his hair had been wet, steam would have risen from his ears. The tape was recorded by her instructor as a love note to his wife. It went on about how to get rid of her husband, and how the instructor would take care of her. While it was still a bit early, a beer is what he needed. He will deal with this after a few beers and some thought.
Denial isn't just a river. When he brought up the tape he found, she was incredulous, how could he not trust her. For hours the talked, yelled, and argued. He finally decides that he has to trust her, his family is over if he doesn't. She realizes that she better start doing things to remind him of her love. But its still in the back of his mind, another man has been talking about his wife. It didn't sit well, a thin veil of trust was in place just to keep peace in the family.

The health crises that stressed him out had all but abated. Finally everyone in the house was relatively healthy. Bills are getting paid, and it appears the risk to their marriage had passed, finally normalcy has arrived. Or, so he thought.
She announced that her parents are going to arrive the next day for a few weeks. As much as he didn't want her parents there, he held his tongue to keep the peace. He will just pull a couple of more shifts at the laboratory and stay out of their way. He knew the reason for coming was most likely they had been fired or evicted from their place, it was a pattern with them, to go from each of their kids to the other. They rotate themselves among their five kids. The only problem was, he didn't feel he should be helping her parents as often that he has. Regardless of his feelings, they will be staying a few weeks.

When he got home that evening, the house was empty. The wife and kids along with her parents are gone. Through his detective work, a rumor was divulged. She was pregnant. A few years after his vasectomy she became pregnant, how interesting. Now he needs to hear it from her.

Suddenly, a sickening feeling fell over him. How could she do this? Whoever her child's father is; does he know she is HIV positive. It couldn't be his child. He had a vasectomy shortly after his last daughter was born. He knew that he couldn't plan on another child nor take the chance for an accident to occur. Nevertheless, he loved her and wanted to stay a family. He was feeling not just betrayed by infidelity, but because he chose to stay with her despite her illness, she infected him, he cant find someone else once he's dumped. Despite this situation he accepted her new daughter as his own. Eventually she was to be told of her suspected paternity.

She filed for divorce, custody and child support without advanced knowledge to him. As a result he lost a lot of money and energy, because he wasn't able to defend his position.

She began to enjoy the single life. She found that 2 young kids wont prevent her from having a good time. She began to bounce around from boyfriend to boyfriend. She had 15 addresses in 3 years. The school system began to ask questions of the girls attendance. Every time someone had inquired about her circumstance she would attribute it to her HIV disease or her medication. Yet, she was in relatively fair health at this point, she wasn't home taking care of herself or her kids. Her continued wild lifestyle was not only harming her to a point of no return but also the girls. Eventually, she was able to alienate his girls against him. She told him to forget the promise he had made to her on their wedding day.

All her wild times for the previous 5 years had finally caught up to her. It was fall of that year when she was told that she needed to make arrangements for her kids. She had been telling people for the past number of years that their father had died of AIDS and left her with no insurance. Two weeks later she was able to covertly place their daughters with an adoption agency. She didn't want their father to have them, so she perjured her petitions and affidavits that his whereabouts was unknown and that he had abandoned them. Yet, he lived less than two miles away. The system of checks and balances had failed. His kids had just been signed away by their mother.

She died of AIDS on Christmas Eve of that year. He wasn't aware of it for three days afterwards until the grapevine caught up with him. He immediately began to search for his girls. Where are they? What happened to his girls?

He traced down her parents, her father was more than happy to tell him that the girls had been adopted out and hes no longer their father. That didn't settle with him. Finally he has mission. He's going to get his kids back. He has developed a sense of security in his ability to handle a crises. He knows that something is wrong and he will fix it.

Knowing that if he handles this wrong he may be validating her statements. He needs to make an intelligent and reasoned response to this situation. Without delay, he filed a notice with the clerk of his address and other contact information. Five weeks after her death, he was served with papers to terminate his parental rights to his daughters. The following month his first major immune system challenge had began. He had tuberculosis.

Should he continue the fight knowing he has major health challenges? Of course it was a no brainer, he wants his his kids. His kids would give him a reason to live. He needs to be their dad. The courts agreed. He worked on his health and was reunited with his girls a year and a half later. He now has to prepare them for their new future without a mom and a HIV positive dad.

 

Sent via Email June 24, 2009 from USA.

 
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