The 2 male HIV+ are both J., so I will call them J1 & J2.
I met them both through the personals ads, this time at pozmatch.
The first J. comes from a certain African country and came to the Netherlands for the same reasons as me. Of course, he does not have an EU passport. Like me, he was diagnosed while having a relationship with a local (although his was much longer). His relationship, like mine, completely collapsed, although from what he says, in a much nicer way than mine (but then he was also longer in the relationship than I was).
J. fears that he cannot go back to his native country for lack of proper treatment, because like me he needed to be treated right away (although his initial counts were about similar to mine now, after 9 months of treatment). He is trying to get a position like mine to enable him to stay, and has extended his visa. J. Is a fighter. A good man. I don't want to expose his identitee anymore than this, but he was a good man back in his country, highly involved in the community, helping people. He is just a couple years older than me. He recently managed to get back to his country for a visit and disclose to his family, who embraced him. But like me he prefrers to be here. Obviously, the treatment options are much better for me than for him (when I switched drugs the new ones were yet unavailable in IL, but now they are, yet in 2 years I lose my "rights" there, if I continue living abroad, but I am not willing to have HIV make this desicion for me).
The second J. is quite older than me & J1. He has never written me in the personals context, but I have my email up there and one day I was on Messenger for some reason and he just started talking to me. The second J. is Dutch. He was living in the same country as J1 and married to a local woman, he discovered he was HIV+ when he got an infection that almost killed him and left him paralyzed for life. I don't remember whether his wife died or not. He had to urgently go back to the Netherlands, where he started treatment, and his life was saved. HIS COUNTS ON DIAGNOSIS WERE TWICE AS HIGH AS MINE WHEN I WAS DIAGNOSED. He lives alone, with some government-sponsored daily household help. His family has no contact with him.
Yesterday J2 sent me an email which he asked me to forward to friends who might need it & return to him, that email was a simple prayer, also to Jesus. Even though I am not religious nor a Xtian, I believe in the power of prayer and in God. So I forwarded it to a few HIV contacts, as well as J1. J1 immediately responded warmly. We don't meet often because we live quite far from each other and there is no (present) romantic interest but I care about him, his quiet strength inspires me.
These are the 2 Js. The lessons here are to deep to explain now, especially since I must run to the hospital in a few minutes.
At the Madonna concert, me and my friend C. tried to get as close to the stage as we could. we had the standing tickets. We got about halfway there, and the crowd was so thick (and the Dutch so tall) it was an effort to see even the video screens, and I barely glimpsed the stage a few times. It was alright though: we befriended the people around us (there is always an initial hostility when two new people squeeze into an already crowded place, but of course we weren't the only ones and there were others squeezing after us), and I really enjoyed the show. We had to leeave before it ended though to catch the train (you here that Madonna?! 100 Euro and you start so late - I did download your music to compensate myself for that...). When we walked back the concert was still on and we saw that further down, even though it was the same height as where we stood before, closer to the exits was much more spacious, people were dancing, freely, in a rave atmosphere, and the view of the stage was complete, it was much better.
This is a lesson. Things are not always what they seem. And pushing and pushing doesn't always yield the best results. Hanging back carries benefits.
The other lesson is from my plant. I have a plant (one out of several) which plays a kind of symbolic role in my life. P. took care of it the first time I was away, and then it has really blossomed. That was before he was sure we were a couple, but we already spent one night together, without sex but very intimate.
I have to run now so I will continue this later from the hospital.
(continued on 14.9, since for some reason I got responses to this post; also corrected some embarassing typos - I was typing frantically on my way to the hospital, practially on one foot)
So Mr. Plant, after it really blossomed, the flowers became huge and pink (ehrm) while I was away and P. was (ehrm ehrm) taking care of my plant (haha, OK, enough cheesy innuendos), but then a while later, for some reason, the flower became completely acid-green and started to rot. I hadn't changed anything about the way I treated the plant. I looked online, and asked my mum. I reached the conclusion that because I bought the plant at Ikea, its flowers were initially too big (and that's why I bought it), and actually, they were sucking the life out of the poor plant, who is in a not very large pot, and the only way to save the plant was hack off the flowers and most of the leaves. But I didn't want to do that. I had bought a beautiful pink flowering thing and even though it was now green-going-towards brown, I didn't want to remain with a stump. So I just let it go, and for a while, the other, smaller plants, overshadowed "the fallen queen". And then, when I went to IL in the middle of August, I asked my supermodel-like workbuddy/friend/neighbour N. to water my plants. But because she was going to Italy, and because P. was away at the same time I was and returned after me, there was about a week's period when the plants were not watered. I came back expecting to see the whole veranda dead. But it was not so. I have not seen my plants this beautiful ever, and especially that plant's flowers turned from the green into a deep rose red (Indian summer like). The rest of the plants looked awsome too and grew much more than ever, despite not having been watered for a whole week.
I don't know yet if my plant will be alive and kicking for long and what the future holds for me and my little messy balcony-garden, but there is a lesson here too, not dissimilar to the Madonna concert lesson: when you leave things be, and trust God (thank you J1 & J2), they just might work out, differently than you thought, and we might never go back to being pink and young again (which is an issue I have been obssessing over in the last couple days as my recent posts demostrate), but beauty is still to be found, and hope is still there....
(dedicated to Richard & Ron)