Once, when Dean Lombard was in the hospital, he “roomed for a while with a man who was in the advanced stages of AIDS. “I was glad to get out of that room,” Dean said. “As long as I was there, I needed to confront the possibility that what happened to him would happen to me. But confronting that possibility seemed necessary, to deal with this disease as positively as I am.”
Confronting the possibilities means, for Dean and others like him, understanding and admitting that the fact of HIV infection cannot be annulled. Steven said, “I have to deal with this whether I want to or not.” It is now a part of life. So are the possibilities of fatigue, disability, dependency, illness, clinic appointments, and hospitalizations. And so are the emotional reactions to all this. “HIV makes me face things I didn’t think I’d have to face,” Helen said. Confronting the facts and possibilities and reactions is often the only way through them.
Confronting everything all at once, however, is overwhelming and unnecessary. Face what you are ready to face, and only when you are ready. When you are tired of thinking or feeling, stop and rest. Do not push yourself because you or someone else thinks you ought to be facing things. Face a little at a time.
In fact, confronting the facts means facing not only sickness but also health. If, within some amount of time, fatigue, death, or dependency are possibilities, so are strength, life, and confidence. People remind themselves that no one knows with certainty how the disease progresses in every individual.
*244\191\2*

HIV: ON LIVING-TAKING CONTROL: CONFRONT THE POSSIBILITIES A LITTLE AT A TIMEOnce, when Dean Lombard was in the hospital, he “roomed for a while with a man who was in the advanced stages of AIDS. “I was glad to get out of that room,” Dean said. “As long as I was there, I needed to confront the possibility that what happened to him would happen to me. But confronting that possibility seemed necessary, to deal with this disease as positively as I am.”     Confronting the possibilities means, for Dean and others like him, understanding and admitting that the fact of HIV infection cannot be annulled. Steven said, “I have to deal with this whether I want to or not.” It is now a part of life. So are the possibilities of fatigue, disability, dependency, illness, clinic appointments, and hospitalizations. And so are the emotional reactions to all this. “HIV makes me face things I didn’t think I’d have to face,” Helen said. Confronting the facts and possibilities and reactions is often the only way through them.     Confronting everything all at once, however, is overwhelming and unnecessary. Face what you are ready to face, and only when you are ready. When you are tired of thinking or feeling, stop and rest. Do not push yourself because you or someone else thinks you ought to be facing things. Face a little at a time.     In fact, confronting the facts means facing not only sickness but also health. If, within some amount of time, fatigue, death, or dependency are possibilities, so are strength, life, and confidence. People remind themselves that no one knows with certainty how the disease progresses in every individual.*244\191\2*

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