Here is the dream: my mum has this childhood friend, let's call her Y, and out of all “the adults” I know, including the extended family, Y is the only one who knows I am positive. Y is a social worker, but not the emphatic type. At least, not in the way I have perceived her my entire life. Rather, I always perceived her as a snob, bragging about her kids, her new granddaughter. Anyway, in the dream, Y had a daughter, which she does in real life (incidentally, she also has a brother who is positive and has been for many years, living in the States, which is the reason my mum told her), but that was not the daughter I have met a couple of times at all. My mum kind of dragged me, badgered me to come for a visit at Y’s house, because I got into one of these sulky depressing that grabs me as soon as the euphoria of coming for a homevisit dissipates. That daughter, she was doing a PhD in a prestigious American university, and Y was mighty proud of that, in a way that she always is: confident, boasting. The daughter was also married, and her and her husband were also on a homevisit at Y’s beautiful house in one of the upmarket suburbs North of Tel Aviv. I didn’t want to meet the kids, but as I said, my mum pestered me to go, and because I was so down, I was kind of lacking the will to resist, or the security or whatever. We got to Y’s place, and she was beaming with pride as usual, and I was so embarrassed, because I left my parents’ home wearing the ugliest cloths possible, the uniform of the clinically depressed, I was dressed like an old unemployed immigrant in a dark blue polyester trackpants and an itchy, ugly “grandpa” sweater in tints of brown, and my head was the bird’s nest it becomes when I don’t comb it for a few days and emerge out of bed. Then the daughter was there. I had imagined this glamorous, ambitious and suave young woman, but she looked scruffy, and fat, she looked worse than me. Her husband was there, and he was hot, I mean totally yummy, he looked like an Israeli actor I had seen in a film shortly before I left with my friend M (whom incidentally I must call): scruffy too, but I love that on an (especially young) guy, soft brown skin, huge brown eyes, kind of like a strung-out, mixed race, grungy Johnny Depp. The kind of guy who is not for me for many, many years, but that I can’t take my eyes off (it is embarrassing sometimes how I just stare at attractive people, whether at the gym or my Dutch class, some of them female, not because I have the hots for them or anything, just because certain kind of beauty are magnetizing). At first, I was grumpy and embarrassed and reluctant to speak. I put on my usual rebel act to hide my pain, but then I started talking to the girl somehow, and she revealed that wasn’t happy at all in her position – it was lonely, there were only three of them in a whole building, which stood way off on the campus, so that she had to walk alone in the dark and cold during winter, and, she said, she had gained all this weight just recently, she even told me how much, from the stress (I had assumed she was so happy in her life, and the weight was a pregnancy). The husband, he was kissing her while giving me “the look” (as men sometimes do), but I had no delusions about their attachment, and anyway, once I know someone is partnered, even if I don’t know who with, I would never ever try to get in the middle, I am just not cut out for that, and I think I never was (I have a whole theory about that, and it has to do with the parents, with some girls successfully getting daddy’s attention over mummy, and other like me being pushed away or whisked somewhere totally different so mum & dad’s relationship can make it through the hardships, and therefore always perceiving couples – no matter what the statistics and experience says – as this impenetrable unit to bounce off of; it is not morals I am talking about here, although they exist as well, but something deeper). Anyway, I was slowly warming to these people, realizing they had their problems, realizing actually I was better off at my non-prestigious job than that girl in hers, because it allows me a lot of freedom, is not that demanding, and enables me, literally, to travel the world. That was the dream, and I woke up with a feeling of completeness, but also of loss. I woke up more energized and enthused for my own life, which recently (workwise) gets more and more exciting, although that doesn’t necessarily affect the time I spend working per se, but also kind of grieving the loss of the illusion of perfection, the loss of envy at the price of gaining a perspective on people’s weaknesses, human-ness. I think it also has to do with my reading Anthony Keidis’ autobiography, and realizing just how entirely, unashamedly, humanely fucked up a person, one of the most gorgeous men on the planet (esp. when he was younger) is/was. And telling it as though it was a trip to the supermarket. But of course, in his field it’s a bit of a badge of fame.
The sickening feeling I am talking about – big scandal in Israel over the use of old people for painful, unnecessary, unethical and illegal medical experiments, and I am talking en masse here. And on the margins, what was revealed by – I am not sure what the name in English is but he is the person in charge of criticizing the internal affairs of the state – is that hospitals have been recycling unrecyclable equipment, as an economic strategy, not as a one off incident. And then in the talkback comments of the online papers, hospital personnel coming up with stories of patients dying from infections (something which "the critic" had also mentioned), of doctors pocketing used equipment from the public sector to take into the private, without sufficient sterilization, so that people died.
And I can’t help thinking, the only two guys I had unsafe sex with, 8 years ago, they both have girlfriends now, I know it, and I had an abortion that year, in a private hospital, which sounds posh, but it was not like that – the public hospitals went on a sudden strike and all the women scheduled for abortions were redirected there, it was some hole in the wall clinic in an industrial area, and all of us women were wheeled in on what was basically a conveyor belt, and then cooped up in a tiny locker room to dress when they sent us home, with some women puking their guts. I remember getting home, still dazed from the anesthesia, and realizing there was a hygienic pad just stuck halfway up my body. In short, they treated us like animals, like cows sterilized on a ranch or whatever. And I can’t help thinking, my social worker T. said that the chance that I infected B through oral sex is so low, that she wouldn’t be surprised if he got it through, say, a dentist, and I defended the Thai hygienic practices, but I know that he went to that small town dental place to have many teeth removed that year. And I can’t help thinking, my own country turns out to be no better than T’s true or misconstrued perception of a third world country, and who knows, maybe that’s how I got infected. I cried after realizing this, it was like one a.m. and the realization sunk in. I cried for these old and sick people who’d had terrible things done to them so that medical doctors can have one more notch on their belt of publications, without their consent or with their consent when they were cognitively impared and had no idea what was going to happen (and a big scandal is breaking out in the army too, with soldiers being forced to take drugs for medical experimentation). And I am so afraid for my parents, they are getting old in that fucking shithole, please pardon my French but I am experiencing some disquiet, some discomfort. Yesterday at Dutch class everyone had to say something about their country, and people were on about the landscape and so on. I didn’t plan what I was going to say, and I always end up slightly nervous when having to speak to a group, even informally to a group of peers, so I ended up mentioning the war and violence, and saying that nevertheless Israel was a very interesting place. And afterwards I beat myself over saying that, a little bit, but I realized, it wasn’t only the type of violence people see on CNN that I was talking about, but the violence I experienced, the violence that allows doctors to kill a holocaust survivor who survived Mengele’s “twin experiments” in Auschwitz, only to die after something awful was done to her, in the name of pseudo-science, behind closed doors.
I fear so much for my aging parents, and for myself too, because I have an interesting disease with a myriad of interesting complications, was just reading the brochure of one of my drugs and read that 48 weeks after usage begun bone density was diminished (no, bone “toxicity” appeared) “in patients”. And they don’t even say how many patients. And I feel like a guinea pig, which I don’t want to be. Still healthy, still on top of things, still young and pretty and un-telling, but I am less than a year with these drugs. And I am so scared, and now much less trusting. And sickened.