Quantcast

Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr Instagram
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 21, 2014, 01:58:12 PM

Login with username, password and session length


Members
Stats
  • Total Posts: 642914
  • Total Topics: 48913
  • Online Today: 252
  • Online Ever: 585
  • (January 07, 2014, 02:31:47 PM)
Users Online

Welcome


Welcome to the POZ/AIDSmeds Community Forums, a round-the-clock discussion area for people with HIV/AIDS, their friends/family/caregivers, and others concerned about HIV/AIDS.  Click on the links below to browse our various forums; scroll down for a glance at the most recent posts; or join in the conversation yourself by registering on the left side of this page.

Privacy Warning:  Please realize that these forums are open to all, and are fully searchable via Google and other search engines. If you are HIV positive and disclose this in our forums, then it is almost the same thing as telling the whole world (or at least the World Wide Web). If this concerns you, then do not use a username or avatar that are self-identifying in any way. We do not allow the deletion of anything you post in these forums, so think before you post.

  • The information shared in these forums, by moderators and members, is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between an individual and his/her own physician.

  • All members of these forums are, by default, not considered to be licensed medical providers. If otherwise, users must clearly define themselves as such.

  • Forums members must behave at all times with respect and honesty. Posting guidelines, including time-out and banning policies, have been established by the moderators of these forums. Click here for “Am I Infected?” posting guidelines. Click here for posting guidelines pertaining to all other POZ/AIDSmeds community forums.

  • We ask all forums members to provide references for health/medical/scientific information they provide, when it is not a personal experience being discussed. Please provide hyperlinks with full URLs or full citations of published works not available via the Internet. Additionally, all forums members must post information which are true and correct to their knowledge.

  • Product advertisement—including links; banners; editorial content; and clinical trial, study or survey participation—is strictly prohibited by forums members unless permission has been secured from POZ.

To change forums navigation language settings, click here (members only), Register now

Para cambiar sus preferencias de los foros en español, haz clic aquí (sólo miembros), Regístrate ahora

Finished Reading This? You can collapse this or any other box on this page by clicking the symbol in each box.

Author Topic: spinning wheels  (Read 80541 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JDPoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #300 on: May 01, 2008, 12:14:57 PM »
Mikie, I'm so sorry.
Strength and Peace to you, my friend.
JD

Offline Roie

  • Member
  • Posts: 263
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #301 on: May 01, 2008, 01:10:39 PM »
Oh No, Mike. Jim is at peace. but I am so sorry.
 Pleae please, now take care of yourself.
Please promise us all that you will take care of  YOU now.
May the next days be easy and as less stress as posible.

We all love you.
Cruise on down the High Way

"When people who are not ready jump in, things can go horribly wrong. For most of us, there is always time to take a deep breath, consider one's options and make a careful, sound decision based on clinical fact, not emotion."
MtD

Offline BT65

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9,974
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #302 on: May 01, 2008, 01:24:08 PM »
Mikie, this brought tears to my eyes.  I am so deeply sorry for your loss.  Jim is no longer suffering. 

Please take care of you and accept any help and support you can get from the people around you, as well as what we can offer hear (an ear, a hug).  I wish you strength, peace and love in the coming days.
  In sadness,
Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Miss Philicia

  • Member
  • Posts: 24,207
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #303 on: May 01, 2008, 04:29:23 PM »
I'm thinking of you Mikie and your loss.  I hope you will find a slight bit of comfort, even though he is gone now, knowing that your partner is not suffering.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline sharkdiver

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,350
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #304 on: May 01, 2008, 04:50:41 PM »
Thinking of you and wishing you some peace and comfort at this time.

Sharkie

Offline J.R.E.

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,213
  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #305 on: May 01, 2008, 05:03:15 PM »
Mikie,

Your a very brave, and caring, loving individual. I am saddeded at Jims passing. You were there for him to the end. Peace to you...


In Sadness------Ray
Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 40mg of simvastatin, 12.5mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Metoprolol tartrate 25mg



http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=40802.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=45159.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39722.msg495621;topicseen#msg495621

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=46806.0

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=39414.msg491701#msg491701


 In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started my first  HAART regimen  on October 24th,03.

 As of 8/2514,  t-cells are at 402, Viral load <40

 Current % is at 11%

  
 62 years young.

Offline BlueMoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 665
  • Calling from the Fun House
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #306 on: May 01, 2008, 06:10:39 PM »
Leatherman, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and partner.  Now that the bad times have passed, try to find comfort in your memories of the good times.   :-[
...................VL.....CD4.....%
-----------------------------------------
08/10-- ......<40.....290.....42
05/10-- ......<48.....290.....46
02/10-- ......<48.....481.....44
10/09-- ......<48.....277.....46
07/09-- ......<48.....300.....38
05/09-- ........51.....449.....39
03/09-- Added Isentress
02/09-- ........65.....299.....34
11/08-- ........62.....242.....40
08/08-- ........66.....212.....29
05/08-- ......202.....217.....27
03/08-- ....5210.....187.....21
02/08-- Began Truvada/Reyataz/Norvir
12/07-- 273,000.....157.....22
11/07-- 229,000.....209.....22
10/07-- Diagnosis

It's a complex world.

Offline MOONLIGHT1114

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,918
  • Cheech 2.2.94 - 4.23.10 We miss you so much!
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #307 on: May 01, 2008, 06:58:10 PM »
Mikie~

I am so sorry for everything that you and Jim have had to endure over these past few months.  I know this has been an extremely overwhelming time for you.  I was saddened to read of Jim's passing, but I understand the peace that you must feel now, knowing that he is no longer suffering.

You have been a brave, strong trooper through all of this, Mikie.

Jim couldn't have asked for anyone better than you to see him to the end.

God Bless You, my friend.   :'(

~ Cindy
« Last Edit: May 01, 2008, 09:40:45 PM by MOONLIGHT1114 »
HIV+ since '93, 1/12 - CD4 785 and undet.   WOO-HOO!!

Offline kentb

  • Member
  • Posts: 75
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #308 on: May 01, 2008, 07:37:11 PM »
Dear Mikie,
I am so sorry for your loss.  Jim was very lucky to have you as a partner.  Please make time to take care of yourself.
Wishing you comfort and strength.

Kent

Offline Longislander

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,486
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #309 on: May 01, 2008, 11:25:31 PM »
Mikie,

I'm so sorry that Jim has passed.  May he rest in peace.

During the next few days, and especially after that, please take good care of yourself.  Keep checking in with us and let us know you're ok.

Thank you for reminding us that true love exists.

Paul
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #310 on: May 02, 2008, 01:03:00 AM »
The day started in the worst kind of way and rather than level out, the roller coaster continued on.

After Jim left his home for the final time, I had one thing that HAD to been done. That hospital equipment had to go! By the time I returned from Randy's funeral arrangements, my house had been put right, and was my home again. I knew this time I would have to bear more of that task. Within a short amount of time, we had everything dismantled and in the garage, with the sofa back in the house (only in a slightly different arrangement to accommodate expected visitors throughout the day.)

After waiting for a while, I called the medical supply place to verify that the hospice on-call nurse, who had attended Jim, had called in the pickup. I was told they would call me after 1 pm to set up the pickup time. But wait! There'll be more about that later.

Then legal aid called (while I was on the phone about the pickup). The message left said my will would NOT stand up in court. They were making a new one and a "transfer at death" order and wanted to come over tomorrow at 11 to have the papers signed! Oh no! Jim won't be signing anything, and the will isn't good enough now?!? Oh, and the lawyer would be out this afternoon but would contact in the morning. My return voicemail explained that Jim had already passed away and what the heck was I supposed to do now?

My mom and her husband took me to lunch (mmm. Old Carolina BBQ - and in Yankee land! It's a fav spot for Jim and I), and we discussed options. One unsavory option is that the state takes over Jim's estate, sells the house and pays the bills. Mom mentioned that in that case the state would also be responsible for the disposal of the body; but I have a big problem with that.

(I explain more about this in just a moment; but leave it that we talked about all sorts of scenarios. Now here's more the supply pickup story I promised.)

On returning home, I found a "we were here, you were out" note from the supply company. Nope they hadn't called to tell me that they would be there. They also didn't feel right taking it from the garage without permission. So now they won't be here until tomorrow morning - 24 hrs later. Argh!

Now it's very late afternoon, and the rep from Heritage Cremation Society has not contacted me like the men had told me this morning before taking Jim. Unfortunately after this recent hospital experience, I've very leery of what is happening to Jim while I'm not there. I understand that they are required to wait 24 hours; but without a call, can I really be sure that things are still going as planned? Remember the food/pain med crack Jim slipped through.

And that thought alone makes me take issue with mom's one scenario. I must pay for Jim, and must get his ashes back! If the state takes over, I'll bill the estate to reclaim those costs. However, if - I - don't insure that he is properly treated (once again), I'm afraid his remains might end up shoved away to the side somewhere, like how he was treated in the ER.  :'(  :'(  :'(

There's no rest for the weary. I'm so tired but so unable to stop yet. However in the morning I must call and speak with medical supply, legal aid, and the crematorium. Perhaps enough of these issues can be resolved before the weekend (at least the equipment should be gone, and a little more security for me about what is happening to Jim now). Then I'll finally get a day to rest after all this time.

still looking for some peace,
mikie  :'(  :'(
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline AndyArrow

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,196
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #311 on: May 02, 2008, 04:46:17 AM »
I know how inadequate it sounds but I am so sorry for you loss.  It's terrible that you have to be put through so much when you are grieving  You are very inspirational in the way you have handled everything that has been thrown at you making sure Jim was treated right and with love and dignity.

love,
AA
It is not the arrival that matters.  It is the journey along the way. -- Michel Montaigne

Offline heartforyou

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,105
  • I must be a survivor in many ways...
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #312 on: May 02, 2008, 05:16:39 AM »
Mikie,

I can feel how shattered you are, but relieved, at the same time, that Jim is no longer in pain.

Loosing two lovers is atrocious....what a brave man you are.

But in the end it remains utterly sad that Jim has passed away...

Sending you my condolences and lots of bright white energy to accompany you and Jim in these final hours on this planet.

Love
Hermie :'( :'( :'(
Diagnosed in 1987 and still kicking
Viread, Kivexa (Epzicom),Viramune once daily

Happiness is the freedom of breathing fresh air every day.

Offline MOONLIGHT1114

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,918
  • Cheech 2.2.94 - 4.23.10 We miss you so much!
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #313 on: May 02, 2008, 06:00:03 AM »
Hang in there, Mikie.  Please remember to eat and drink and take care of yourself as best as you can right now.  I think you're doing an amazing job, keeping up with all of these details.

~ Cindy
HIV+ since '93, 1/12 - CD4 785 and undet.   WOO-HOO!!

Offline BT65

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9,974
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #314 on: May 02, 2008, 06:38:35 AM »
Mikie, good luck handling these final, troublesome issues.  Please take care of yourself.  And accept again my sincerest condolences.
  Luv,
Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline anniebc

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,942
  • AM member since 2003
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #315 on: May 02, 2008, 06:58:25 AM »
Dear Mikie

You have been so strong all through this and I hope you can find the extra strength you need to see you through all the other issues you are having to deal with.

Jim is at peace, the pain has gone.

Hugs from NZ
Jan :'(
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Dragonette

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,190
  • Spring symptoms
    • NotPerfectAtAll
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #316 on: May 02, 2008, 07:02:14 AM »
Dear Mikie,

I am so sorry, words cannot express it. Please accept my deepest condolences.

I so much admire your spirit, strength and resilience at this undescribebly difficult time. I hope all the legal matters will be resolved asap and that the peace you so desperatly need will arrive very soon so you can get some rest.  
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,646
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #317 on: May 02, 2008, 11:06:03 AM »

~~  mIkIE  ~~

We feel your grief and send our love during this sorrowful time. 

The worth of your character...and Jim's....comes through loud clear in your postings.  Thank you for sharing.

robert
..........

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,639
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #318 on: May 02, 2008, 11:50:45 AM »
My deepest sympathy on your loss, honey.

I pray that you find peace and comfort in the wonderful memories you have.

with love and sorrow,

Alan   :'(

Dear Father/Mother God,

Receive our brother Jim into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.

and so it is.....
.
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline VM-Bass

  • Member
  • Posts: 38
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #319 on: May 02, 2008, 05:28:38 PM »
There is nothing we can say to make it better right now.  Know that we are here for you in spirit, and that we are sending love and strength your way. 

I have been praying for you and Jim since this all started.  I will continue to pray for your strength and well-being, always.

Your writing moves me to laughter, tears, and everything in between.  Thank you for sharing with us...


Tom   :'(
1/11/08                  4/14/08         6/12/08

CD4: 927                    838               883
CD4%: 42                    40                 47
Viral Load: 2170           926               173

The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel...
---Shakespeare

Offline Assurbanipal

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,173
  • Taking a forums break, still see PM's
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #320 on: May 03, 2008, 07:29:05 AM »
Mikie

I am so very sorry for your loss. You have been very strong and loving in bringing Jim back home, where he wanted to be. 

Sincerely
A
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline cjc

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,011
  • Sweet Girl
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #321 on: May 03, 2008, 08:07:43 AM »
Sorry for your loss, awed by your courage and perseverance in the face of all this. Your friend is in a better place.  You gave him his last wish, To die at home with his loved ones.   Hope time helps your pain.   Cristy

Offline rondrond

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,712
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #322 on: May 03, 2008, 09:15:50 AM »
I'm so sorry. Words fail me, but I share your sorrow at his passing.

ronnie
"I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I sure as Hell am not where I was"
Wynnona Judd

Diagnosed/HIV
1993
AZT
Norvir
1994-2001
Crixivan/Epivir/Zerit
No Meds for 7 Years

04jul07/DVT-right leg/Bi Lateral PE's     
16oct08/DVT-left leg
Sept '09  6 blood clots in left arm
Coumadin 5mgs
                                     
Atenolol/50mg/2x
Hydrochlorth 25mg/1x
Gemfibrozil/300mgs/2X
Symbicort
Proventil Inhaler
Potassium
Rhinocort


*APR 08~Viramune/Truvada
March08  CD4 330 23% VL 452.000 
*Jan09 Med change~Epzicom/Viramune

Aug09   CD4 523 23%  VL<48
Diagnosed: COPD
Dec 2013: CD4 645 45% VL 49
Med Change: Viramune/Epivir/Ziagen/Isentress

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #323 on: May 03, 2008, 09:54:24 AM »
I think enough things are okay right now, that I really will finally get that "day off" tomorrow - and even Sunday too!

First, that damned medical equipment is finally gone!

I spent most of the day talking legalese. Legal Aid's problem with the will was that the witness signatures weren't dated. So I picked up the papers, ran by my OhioMom's house and added the date.

Yesterday, my Mom and I had spent the afternoon gathering up all Jim's paperwork and sorting into appropriate folders. My Mom had come armed with a file box, folders, markers, etc. She was OfficeMax-armed and ready to do battle! Today, Mom further subdivided the paperwork and made lists of outstanding debts. It's actually quite difficult because we know so few answers about certain bills, car leases, etc.

Since legal aid doesn't do probate, my mom in her infinite wisdom, had already arranged an appt. with a local lawyer. My sister-in-law helped out too, calling me this morning and discussing the advantages of filing a claim to be "administrator of an estate". The lawyer was more afraid of an outstanding creditor (like the bills that already total up to $90k+ from the hospital) claiming administrator privileges and selling the house to recoup the debt. His advice was to continue paying the house and utilities and let things ride for the time being, rather than stirring up the creditors looking for a piece by pushing for "ownership". Plus the mortgage equity loan for this house is actually $60 less than what I paid a month in my old dinky house. Theoretically, I could end up paying off the mortgage and THEN claim the deed on good faith and the will - and after many of the debtors will have written off Jim's accounts.

However, I'm thinking that a move will probably be in my future - but that's a decision for another day. I made sure that the lawyer felt confident that I could at least live by the pool for one last summer before the you-know-what might start hitting the fan.

My Mom and her husband headed out from here as evening came. Instead of heading back to SC, they're heading a little further north and west first. Mom's husband has a daughter (she lost her husband (46) to cancer just a little over a yr ago) who lives about an hr and a half from my place

By early evening (ah, it's so much lighter later into the day now. It's good to not be in this damned dreary Ohio winter anymore), still no call from the Cremation Society, so I called. Now I feel better about that too. The rep had actually been quite busy on the case. The doctors sig on the death certificate had just come back late today. Things were lined up already to notify Social Security, etc. He was just waiting for it all to come together before coming out to see me on Monday.

Having spoken a long time with the rep the other, I had found him to be a very compassionate man. He and his wife run the local office; but had previously been living in San Fran. Having lived though the early 90s there, he totally understand my situation and had dealt with it many times. I explained to him today about how afraid I was of Jim "falling through the cracks" and he seemed genuinely sorry to have caused me the extra worry.

So with things going so-so, there's nothing I have to do this weekend; but have dinner with the OhioMom on Sunday and play some cards. I really need to mow; but thankfully, it's been raining too much and I can't mow. Those dandelions will just get to keep on growing for a while longer I guess. LOL

Well, there's something else I'll be doing this weekend and that's being sad. Luckily, trying to handle all the paperwork of Jim's life has keep me busy. I haven't been able to dwell long on how I'm raiding all of his personal belongings - many of which are mementos of his parents who died at 45 and 56 leaving him alone around 18. I haven't been able to think about how there are closets of clothes I'll have to sort through. I've haven't been able to ponder the "guilt" feeling thinking about he could be watching my every bad habit now.

But most of all, I've been busy enough to not dwell too long on how everything is different. No longer do I need to feel like I have the car out too long, or that I should be getting home to Jim. I walk through the house thinking everything is now "mine" - not "his", not "ours". Checking his email, as I was doing for him while he was in the hospital, I realized I wouldn't be updating him ever again on his email or snail mail letters.

However, what I can't keep out of head with keeping busy, is that I no longer have my best friend to help me through all of this. I can't talk to him to get his opinion of what "we" should do. So many times during the day, I really needed Jim's advice and support on what to do - but my "other half" is gone, and I've become just "half" a person again.

Right now, I'm hanging in there "okay". Thankfully our friend Sean is staying at the house with me through the weekend; but Sunday night, after dinner and cards my OhioMom has planned, he'll be heading back to his place and back to his own life.

Then it'll just be me and the boyz (the spaniels) in our big ol' lonely house. God, how I miss Jim so much already. Next week is going to be rough.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #324 on: May 03, 2008, 09:56:15 AM »
Thank you all so much for your support during the last few months. Knowing so many people were out there worried and caring about us kept me going on through some of the hardest days. Unless something else comes up, I probably won't post much more in this thread as Jim's story is nearly over. There's not much left except finalizing his arrangements, retrieving his ashes, and holding a memorial later in the month.

hugs to you all!
mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline edfu

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,084
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #325 on: May 03, 2008, 12:01:22 PM »
Jim's story may be nearly over, but his story is yours as well, so it lives on both through you and the words you've posted here.  You've told it magnificently, and it is one of the greatest examples of devotion, caring, and passion between two men whose love is denigrated by so many.  Both your stories will also live on in this remarkable, awe-inspiring, frightening yet uplifting thread on AIDSMeds.com, a thread that has received nearly 10,000 viewings to date.  Those of us who have followed your diary-journal have felt we were with the both of you on this sad journey and will never forget it.  I hope the support expressed by so many here truly helped you through this ordeal, but I also, in some strange way, feel your effort to share it with us reminded us of some extremely valuable lessons, courage being only one.  Spinning your wheels, you have created here a significant memorial to Jim.     
"No one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."--Albert Camus, "The Plague"

"Mankind can never be free until the last brick in the last church falls on the head of the last priest."--Voltaire

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #326 on: May 11, 2008, 11:58:45 AM »
It's been a week since Jim passed away and I thought I should catch up you on a few of the loose ends.

I guess I'm hanging in there okay. After my friends kept me occupied through the weekend, I started my "new" life alone, after returning home Sunday night from dinner with my OhioMom. I'm not crying as much anymore; but I never know when the tears might start back up (getting a sympathy card from the Hospice nurses, aide, and social worker started them again this morning). After a week though, quite frankly, I'm getting annoyed by being alone so much. It's kinda like I keep waiting for Jim to call or come in the door from a long day at work.

To fill up my days, I've been working, slowly, on that Spring cleaning that I missed while at the hospital with Jim over the last two months. Since I'm holding an open-house on May 25th for friends, family, co-workers and neighbors, I'm trying to clean up as much as possible to make Jim's house presentable for his guests. Thanks to my Mom's help, all of the paperwork in the house has been sorted and filed away. The friend that stayed through the weekend, helped me clean out the storage areas upstairs. Taking breaks from the dusting, wall washing, and sorting through Jim's belongings, I've made a lot of progress on sorting through his family pictures. For the open-house, I am planning several displays of his childhood pictures, his parents photos, vacation photos, pictures of his passion - cars (pix of his viper and other cars, and even a few racing cars he has driven), and various awards he won being a car salesmen for most of his life.

The only items I haven't had the heart to sort through yet are Jim's clothes. Having lost two partners now, I must say that dealing with the clothes is the hardest part. Just looking at a shirt brings to mind seeing Jim wearing it not that long ago. For now, I'm just piling all of the clothing scattered throughout the house into one closet. Maybe in a week or so, I'll be able to handle tackling that chore.

(One of my more interesting chores has been sorting through the p0rn. LOL Boy, I thought I had a lot; but with my stash AND Jim's, I probably have enough to open my own adult bookstore. LOL At least I know sorting through all the mags and videos will keep me busy for a while.  ;) )

In sorting through Jim's stuff, I have come to realize just how lonely and alone he must have felt most of his life. His father died at 45 of a heart attack and his mother passed away at 56 from cancer - leaving Jim alone at 18 years old. His grandmother passed away a year or two later, leaving the only relative, a cousin, that he hadn't seen in the last 15 yrs. All of the photos and memorabilia from his parents and his childhood were all stored in the back of the attic and an unused closet downstairs. Obviously, he locked away all of his childhood and feelings. I getter understand the man I first met 20 yrs. ago - aloof, definitely in the closet, reserved but domineering. Looking back, I can see how I influenced him and how becoming part of my OhioFamily got him out of his shell, and brought joy, family, and companionship back to his life.

Another thing I should mention about Jim actually helps me find some peace with the events of last week. During his last three days, his fever had returned. Though I have no "medical proof", I'm sure that meant that the tumors had NOT shrunk from the chemo, and were still actively sickening him. (the death certificate lists "pneumonia", "lymphoma" and "HIV+" as an "influencing factor") I'm certain that our decision to bring Jim home saved him from more suffering, pain, and mental anguish as he languished in the hospital another month before passing away anyway.

Oh, and one last thing concerning Jim. I got a call from the hospital social worker the other day. It seems the hospital can apply retro-actively for a welfare medical card. That means the hospital bill and even most of the doctor bills can be covered (up to 90 days past) and not be out-standing debts against the house. That's good news towards helping me get the house sometime in the future.

I had a visitor late Tues afternoon - the rep from the Cremation Society. When he had called earlier, I didn't actually get the chance (nor did I try to hard) to tell him that I did not have the full payment. However, he did kindly take the $400 I have collected so far. (I just finished up a job so I can get about $400 more to make another payment. Any more donations would still be greatly appreciated to finish paying this bill. Then I have to figure out how to pay this month's mortgage and all the month past-due utility bills. Yikes! The idea of getting the house in my name may just be a pipe dream if I can't keep up the payments.) The rep, who had brought along the death certificates because he thought he would be receiving full payment, very graciously (and without comment) left the certificates AND Jim's ashes with me and didn't hold them until full payment was made. Before the rep had even pulled out of the driveway, I broke down crying. He just didn't realize how much those ashes meant to me. I have finally seen Jim through it all and he's safe back home.

Well, since I finally got the grass mowed (the neighbors have already mowed twice during the last few weeks, so I had to fight some really deep grass), it's back to worrying about the bills, puttering about the house, sorting through stacks of things, scanning pictures, sorting through the digital pictures, cleaning, and being lonely.

Thank you once again (I keep saying that, but I really do mean it!) for your support, concern, cards, and donations.

mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #327 on: May 17, 2008, 02:17:06 AM »
At the two week mark, I should be my usual self and be honest - I've been having a very hard time lately. I handled dealing with a lot of things pretty well. Cleaning out the clothes in the closets - which some people suggested I get around to doing sooner than later - wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; but taking Jim's digital pictures off "his" computer and realizing that they are now "my" pictures was pretty difficult.

During the last few days, it's been sinking it more and more that Jim is really gone, and any ol' thing might just set off a crying jag. I had nearly forgotten, after the last fourteen years, how much I hate the way depression can take a hold of you. Of course my family and friends are keeping tabs on me and trying to do what they can; but no one can solve this, and I'm just going to have to ride it through. (oh god! I nearly quoted brokeback again. heaven help me, but Ennis del Mar was right! LOL)

I've still been working hard sorting through things in the house. (It was NOT a mess beforehand. Really! I told you how I had cleaned up for Jim's return. Cleaning and Yard Work is what I live for. LOL It's just that Jim and I had only "partially" merged our belongings, so I'm having to sort through and clean up "his" stuff, "our" stuff, and now "my" stuff.) My OhioMom and Sean have been over three times now to assist with the chore. Not only is the house getting super-cleaned (for the open-house); but we've been cataloging all the stuff. OhioMom keeps the list; I handle display, lighting, and taking the pix (of course - I'm the queer and the only one of us three with an artistic flare. ROFL); and Sean packs things away. Next week I have to start researching the items, perhaps checking with coin and stamp dealers, and/or ebaying stuff off. I've got to do something or when the month past-due house payment and the two month old utility bills and car payments get a little more past due, it will make the question whether or not I can keep the house a moot point.

One of the biggest problems to being poor is that you always need the "upcoming" monies right now. After I get something sold off, wait for a few more promised donations to come in, get the obit printed and get some more donations, and get a roomie (Sean) at the end of the month, things will hopefully get better. Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of stuff I can deal with on that "day-by-day" basis. If I do that, then me and the doggies just might end up homeless. This is the time of life when, to make things change for the better, it requires effort and patience - and right now I just can't wait and I'm still tired from all my expended efforts of the last three months. (being a "caregiver" is a very exhausting job when you're dealing with a very sick patient)

It's been three weeks since I saw my doctor and yesterday was the return visit for the genotype test results. I don't know if it came from my recent "non-compliance" with my meds since the last time this test was done was 5 yrs ago or so, but my little hiv buggies have mutated again. (it's the k103 mutation this time) Once again I'm losing a med - and not one that makes me sick or is large. Argh! Last time I had to drop a med it was the smallest one I've ever taken! This time I'm losing two pills a day (viramune) which never caused me any problems. Dang it! It's quite possible the rest of the meds I'm on will work fine without this one. I'll be going back to the doc in a month (omigod! I've seen my doctor just waaaay too much this year! that also means blood work again in two weeks) and we'll see how these meds are doing. At least, there are some options out there for me if I need to change meds.

It was very reassuring, in a way, to see that my doctor is quite worried about me. Since no obit has been printed yet, he didn't know that Jim had passed away. Since I had just seen the doc a few weeks ago when Jim was back home, I only had to update him on Jim's passing and the fallout in my life. (like how even taking acyclovir, the recent stress broke out the herpes infection in my hand - think of it as a 15-yr "re-occuring shingles outbreak localized in the middle digit and palm of the left hand" - and it is very painful this time.) The look on his face as I explained to him about my tenuous grasp on life (the house, car, money, cremation expenses, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc) told me what he was thinking. He's afraid he's about to see me slide down like I did after losing Randy (he even mentioned that earlier in the appt), or as potentially one of those who go off meds because their shelter and/or home-life has gone to hell in a hand basket. (Trust me doc. I worry about the same things.) It's probably the reason he scheduled my next visit so soon. I have a feeling he'll be watching me like a hawk throughout the summer. None of that is a complaint though. Hopefully with my friends AND doctor looking out for me, I'll avoid further "deja vu" in my life and the aftermath will be better this time (no skyrocketing viral load and plummeting tcells like last time; ending up hospitalized twice in three yrs).

Today the rep from the Cremation Society stopped by again and I gave him another 1/3 payment ($400 - leaving one more payment of $417). He told me that he had understood about my feelings about having Jim taken care of, and was glad to have already brought Jim's ashes over; he also said they normally didn't print the obit unless the bill was paid in full. However, he's going to go ahead and print the obit for me (now on wed instead of Sunday to make the announcement closer to the day of the memorial and open house) since I've paid up so much already and he understands the position I'm in. That way, hopefully, some more donations will come through so that I don't sacrifice another house payment to pay off the cremation.

Using my insomnia to the fullest, many of my chores are completed now. I've been able to start arranging photo albums, awards, etc around the house, and start planning on the refreshments for the open house coming up next weekend. I even developed a couple of slideshows (his cats, the pictures he has taken, and my pictures of Jim from the last 10 yrs.) to run on the three computers throughout the house. I also have some videos to play that are pretty amusing (Jim racing his car at Nelson Ledges Raceway, Jim and I on the RipCord at Cedar Point, and a very old VHS tape of Jim AND Randy (both of my guys!!) indoor bungee jumping in the Cleveland IX Center).

Part of me is dreading next Sunday; and part of me will be glad to have this phase over. I had started a eulogy for Jim on the night he came home from the hospital and finished it up over the last few nights. The memorial at Randy's gravesite is going to be quite sad as I leave behind another partner; but the open-house (with the displays and slideshows running) will be a "happier" occasion giving everyone (and me!) a chance to remember Jim as he was before he entered the hospital and to learn more about him and his life.

Then, when it's all over, it'll just be me and the doggies again. :(
mikie

[attachment deleted by admin]
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
the obituary
« Reply #328 on: May 21, 2008, 01:12:36 AM »
I had been told that the obituary for Jim would be printed on Wed. (May 21st); however it was actually printed in this last Sunday's paper (May 18th).

I have planned a private memorial for Sunday May 25th for family, to be followed by an Open House at our home from 5 - 8 pm. All of Jim's friends, neighbors and co-workers are invited to stop by, share memories, and view photos. Refreshments will be served.

As many of you may know, Jim passed away with no health insurance, no life insurance and no money in the bank. In lieu of flowers, donations towards Jim's final arrangements are greatly appreciated. Thank you very much to those who have already contributed.

--------------------------------------
After having delivered the announcement of Jim's obit and upcoming memorials, I hate to gripe; but I need to vent about another of the many small "bad" things that happened during this crisis (the snow storm, my eye all puffed up, the TV and stereo both on the fritz while Jim was home), and that just seem to keep on happening lately.
 
First, I am a little miffed that the obituary was printed on Sunday rather than Wednesday as I had been told. Since it had been several weeks since Jim passed, I have been trying to keep everyone informed as to when to look for the obit to be published. I had to make a special trip to the Canton Repository Newspaper so get a copy of Sunday's paper so I could even see if for myself.

My second issue is that a very important part of the obituary was NOT included, so that the lines for Heritage Cremation and the newspaper could be added. My lines, that were cut, read "In lieu of flowers, gifts can be sent to help with final arrangement expenses to the Pollnow  residence (1608 48th St. NW Canton, OH 44709). For more information contact Michael Bivens at 330-284-8111". I hate to sound like I'm greedy; but that's the part that I really needed to have printed.

Because of these issues, I've made a decision. As of the present, I have only collected $50 more in contributions. My plan had been to pay off the remaining debt myself out of my monthly SS check, if I didn't receive any more money, instead of making a payment towards the house. ($370 out of my $500 check wouldn't leave much to pay the house or any of the utilities that are 2-months behind) I had been hoping that the obituary notice would bring in enough donations; but now I cannot be assured that anyone else will donate.

So, I have Jim's ashes, his death certificate, and the memorials will be held this Sunday. I will have done my service to Jim and it will be time to start truly thinking about myself and how I am going to get along. Instead of paying off the cremation bill (any donations will, of course, still be directed toward paying off that bill though), I need to keep the roof over my head (especially since the car is sure to be repossessed soon), and my money is going to the house payment.

I have an appointment on Thurs. with welfare to get a retro-active (90 days) medical card for Jim. The hospital social worker helped set this up, so it should cover the hospital bill, and take that off the debt against the house. Hopefully, I'll be able to use the card to also pay off most (but probably not all) of the other medical debts Jim incurred (radiology and gastro tests and doctor bills, the cancer and kidney doctors, home health care, hospice, the 4 ambulance rides, etc). Afterwards, there will still probably be $40K out against the house; but if I do have to probate the house and sell it, I won't lose everything from the sale.

The rest of this week is fairly busy for me. Along with the welfare appointment, I have the strange chore of planning a party for Sunday evening. I've always attended funerals and calling hours at a funeral home; but have never been to a wake. However, I find it appealing and believe Jim would have approved of having friends, family, neighbors and co-workers over to look through the pictures of his life, remember the good times we all had together, and grill out hotdogs on the patio by his  pool.

However, I still feel apprehension about the memorial which we'll hold at Randy's grave early Sunday afternoon. As with Randy's funeral, I dread the finality of the events on the 25th. I've spent months taking care of Jim through so much, and years of gladly catering to my partner's wants and needs. It's not because I'm afraid to move on in my "new" life; but because I'm sad that I must finally leave Jim behind.

In no disrespect to Jim's memory though, I somehow survived this before and lived to tell about it. I'm hoping and planning on surviving once again, and continuing to tell my story - thanks to a little help from my friends.

I know I've said it before, but I appreciate all the support I've received in this thread. There were days when your advice and words of encouragement where all that kept me from sinking under the weight of it all. Even though we were both scared at the start, we had held high hopes that treatment would work. When I lost Randy there weren't any options and no hope, so we were resigned to the inevitable. This was so hard to live through, as each day our hopes sunk lower and lower, until Jim and I had both lost all hope. I also appreciate how many of you have followed along this tale, thinking back to your own dark experiences of losing a loved one. I never intended on bringing up that kind of sorrow that we've learned to keep at bay; but then again we never planned on Jim passing away like this either.

I'll only have one more update for this thread now - after the memorials on Sunday. After that, if you're ever interested, you can always check out what's going on in my life at my blog, http://reigningpages.com/leatherman. Oh I'll still be posting around here; but the next thread I start will be about just me. :(

mikie

[attachment deleted by admin]
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline bear60

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,104
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #329 on: May 21, 2008, 12:05:21 PM »
MIkie
I hope everything goes well for the memorial service/reception/gathering.

Joel
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline MOONLIGHT1114

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,918
  • Cheech 2.2.94 - 4.23.10 We miss you so much!
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #330 on: May 23, 2008, 08:33:27 PM »
We all love you, Mikie, and will be thinking of you, Jim and Randy this weekend.

 :)
HIV+ since '93, 1/12 - CD4 785 and undet.   WOO-HOO!!

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #331 on: May 27, 2008, 01:37:14 AM »
May 25th, not a date I'll ever easily forgot as I said goodbye to a second partner. On one hand, I feel so very lucky to have been in such love twice in my life; but on the other hand, I feel "cheated" that I had such a short time with each of the men that I dearly loved. I never dreamed when I first started this thread about spinning out in the car in the snow how much my life would spin out of my control over these last few months and that I would be closing out this thread (I'm sorry it's a long post; but you know how much I can ramble on) with the story of Jim's memorials rather than of his recovery.

After weeks of cleaning and preparing, weeping and planning, I held a memorial service for Jim and then opened his house to friends and friends so that we could all share memories and stories of Jim in a celebration of his life. Though nothing ever goes off quite as planned, both events went well, with only minor hitches.

Over a dozen friends and members of my OhioFamily arrived in several cars and a van for the service. Though the children had been too young, all the adults had been with me at this site 14 years ago, as we laid Randy to rest. None of them had been back to the site since that sad day, and several minutes were spent as they reminisced upon seeing Randy's headstone, with the carved cocker spaniel silhouette, for the first time.

After greeting them all and thanking them for attending, I explained how we came to be at this grave site again. I told them how both Jim and I had thought about the future those first nights in the hospital, and how Jim wanted to have his ashes left with Randy. I described speaking with Randy's mom (my mom-in-law) and how we both believed that Randy would approve of my two partners sharing a final resting place. Then I gave a eulogy honoring both men and saying goodbye to my Jim.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
the eulogy

Fourteen years ago, many of you, my dearest friends and family, stood with me on this spot as we said a final goodbye to my beloved Randy. Leaving this grave and leaving Randy behind, after I had taken care of him through so much, was the hardest thing I ever had to do. On that day, my heart broke. Where once I had been a whole person being Randy's "other half", I departed here only half a person.

For many years afterwards, I remained that "half a person" - depressed and sick. Throughout those years, you, my loved ones, stood by me and gave me the strength, courage, and hope to continue living. One person especially included me in all his activities, to give me back a semblance of being a whole person - that was Jim. No matter who he was dating, nor how much they were bothered by our friendship, Jim made sure I got out of my house, out of my depression, and helped me get back to life. Jim was my best friend for 20 yrs. He stood by me through losing Randy, having pneumonia twice, losing 7 of my cocker spaniels, and all the bad times I had with the meds.

I know for many years, many of you already thought of Jim and I as a couple, as he practically lived at my house on 14th St, often leaving his cats lonely, while he stayed with me and the dogz. After losing Randy, I never imagined I'd be in love again, so it took a while for me to realize that that was what had happened.

When I did realize I was in love again, it took me a little longer to make a commitment to that love. Not because I didn't care deeply for Jim; but because I was afraid that one day, he would be standing my grave, as heart-broken as I was standing here that day 14 years ago at Randy's graveside. But once again, you my dearest friends, gave me courage and hope. Many of you told me that regardless of whether Jim and I were "just friends" or "partners", he (as well as all of you) would be just as devastated by my passing. You told me that I shouldn't miss this opportunity to love and be loved by such a wonderful man. It took me four years; but on the trip that Jim and I took to NC to spend Christmas with my family (the year we made all those gingerbread houses), I finally told Jim how much I loved him and I wanted to only be with him - no matter what the end would be like. Officially, Dec 18, 2004, became our anniversary, and though we've really been together for 7 yrs, this past Christmas we celebrated our "third" anniversary.

As you know, making that commitment, really turned my life around. Trying to forestall my visions of Jim's sadness at losing me, I began to stay compliant to my meds. Within a short amount of time, for the first time in 10 years of being on and off meds, I finally reached an undetectable viral load. Ever since I made that commitment to Jim and my meds, my counts (though they may have blipped here and there) have been holding stable. Being with Jim, and finally being healthier, allowed me to finally think and plan for a future longer than three months. Jim and I spent our years together enjoying every minute we could. Going to the amusement parks every summer - even as we got older; hiking through Nelson Ledges State Park together or with friends; taking our "moms" on mystery trips; surprising my mom for Christmas after telling her the "Amish buggy accident" story; having "jim and mikie's excellent adventures" to museums, movies, parks and zoos.

However, never in the thoughts of my future with Jim, did I ever imagine the recent turn of events. Instead of Jim mourning the loss of me, as I feared would happen, I stand here today mourning my loss of Jim.

The last three months of his life were something no one should have to endure. Being nearly starved to death (by accident) in the hospital before coming home that weekend; being left alone, in a dark corner of the ER for 8 hrs; being moved from room to room till he was literally driven mad; being told over and over to wait "just a few more days" for a turn-around, which never came. No one should have to endure such atrocities. Some of you may have thought he "gave up" too soon at the end; but I dare you to experience what he did and not lose all hope yourself. I am sure that Jim and I made the right decision in bringing him home when we did. By the end, he had pneumonia and the fever had returned, more than likely meaning that the chemo hadn't worked and the tumors were still growing. I am certain that coming home when he did saved him another month of hell in the hospital before passing away anyway.

Now, fourteen years later, we gather here again to pay our respects to another honest, out-going, wonderful man whom I loved dearly. I tried my best to take care of Jim through so very much before he passed away; but there's nothing more I can do for him in this life after today's gatherings here and back at his house. After scattering his ashes here in a few minutes, I must leave him to Randy's care now.

I'm not certain what happens after someone dies; but I know what I'd like to think. I think when Jim left this life, that along with Randy, Rekky, Nami, and Showie (Jim's cats) were there to greet him. I take comfort in also believing that Jim has finally been re-united with his parents, who passed away so many years ago leaving him alone and who he called out for during his last days at home.

Today, my mended heart is broken again. Where once I had become a "whole" person again by being Jim's "other half", now I will leave this gravesite once again as only "half" a person.

Goodbye Jim. I love you and will always miss you.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Following my eulogy, several people spoke of Jim - stories of his character, memorable events, and what he meant to each of the people. Afterwards, I scattered Jim's ashes across Randy's grave, and tearful goodbyes were said as the site was covered in dozens of red and white carnations.

I must thank my Mom for the idea of the flowers and balloons. While it was sad tossing down our flowers, a sense of release was felt as we set the balloons, and Jim's spirit, free to drift on the winds.

As the balloons finally drifted out of sight, everyone began to head back to their vehicles for the drive back to Jim's house. I lingered behind and spent just a few more moments thinking about my two men, how much I loved them, and how much I miss them. I had practiced the eulogy several times and had been able to deliver it with only a few sniffles and "hitches" in my voice. However, as I turned and walked away leaving Jim behind, I couldn't contain the grief any longer, and the tears flowed hard and heavy.

Back at my house (no longer "our" house), we quickly began preparations for the Open House. I had already set up displays throughout the house the day before, but we needed to prep the eating area (patio and kitchen) and the food. Although the pool has been uncovered and we were finally having Spring-time temps, the weather was still no where near enough for a pool party (and the water is cold and still quite green since I haven't gotten any chemicals yet). However, outside on the patio, I hosted one of Jim's famous cookouts just like he'd throw for a party.  In honor to Jim, the food consisted of many of things we normally served at one of the pool parties - grilled hot dogs, chips, dips, Jezebel sauce and crackers (something Jim had had me make for the nurses along with a batch of my muffins), sweet-n-sour meatballs (one of Mary's specialties), our OhioMom's grilled cheesy potatoes (always a favorite!), cupcakes (decorated with fancy sprinkles that Jim had bought our OhioMom over the last years), and my OhioSis' mandarin orange cake.

The displays scattered throughout the house all became focal points for people to stop, look and talk about Jim. In the living room, after signing the Guest Registry, people were able to look through Jim's baby and childhood photos, along with several albums of pictures from the trips he took to Jamaica, Disney, Key West and Niagara Falls. Also displayed with items throughout his life including his bronzed baby shoes, and the afghan he was given in the hospital and brought home with him.

Showcased on the mantle were various items - several stuffed and ceramic cats that Jim had received as gifts, a letter about Jim one of his long-time friends sent (she lives in Kentucky and was unable to attend in person, and sent her remembrances so that she could attend in spirit), the luminere that we were given by a friend from aidsmeds.com (the one we lit every night while Jim was in the hospital and at home), and the box that had contained his ashes.

On the hearth, I set up a display about Jim's parents. Having had Jim later in life (his mother was 35 when he was born), his parents, Arthur and Dorothy, doted on their only child - as can be seen by the numerous slides and photos taken documenting nearly every month of Jim's childhood for many, many years. Jim's father passed away in 1971 at the age of 45 from a heart attack; followed just 11 years later by Jim's mother passing away at 56 from cancer. Jim's only remaining grandparent (his maternal grandmother) passed away just 6 months later, leaving Jim alone without a family in his early twenties.

In the memorabilia scattered throughout the house, were the effects of not only his parents (love letters, poems, photos, pay stubs) but also of his grandparents (a medal from the World War, presidential letters from Truman, Kennedy and Nixon thanking his father and grandfather for their service in the military, diplomas from high school and college for his parents and grandparents, even an old army helmet and the burial flag of his grandfather)

Jim was a avid Star Trek fan and I displayed a whole room filled with Trek items. These collectibles range from a "captain's uniform" (especially made for Jim when he attended the 30th anniversary Trek convention and ended up with several interview clips in the movie "Trekkies"), to Star Trek cups and saucers, to autographed pictures, to computer games, to Trek suit ties, to well over 300 Trek books, even to Star Trek Christmas ornaments.

In our Computer Room, I exhibited the awards Jim won throughout the years selling cars. There are over half a dozen plaques and awards extolling Jim as "Salesman of the Month" or year. Along with a display of work shirts from the various dealerships in which he worked, I included autographed racing pictures, and mementoes of Jim's love affair with cars and planes.

On the TV and the computer monitors scattered throughout the house, I set slideshows running. Jim's computer displayed the pictures that he has taken over the last few years; my computer showed my favorite pictures of Jim; the living room computer displayed pictures of Jim's cats; and the DVD player cycled through, on the TV, several hundred pictures that I had taken of Jim's life. (from photos taken from a video I have of both Jim and Randy bungee cord jumping in 1991 to Jim sitting at his work desk this past January 2008)

I was both sad and glad as I narrated through our "adventures" (which included many of the guests at our house) over the years. Mostly though I was glad to be able to share happy memories of Jim with the people who cared about him. Along with members of our OhioFamily, neighbors and old co-workers were also over to help celebrate Jim's life. I'm sure the 30 people that were in the house (and on the patio) at one time were the most people that had ever been in Jim's house at the same time! 

All-in-all I think I did Jim proud. Several of our guests complimented me on the beautiful gravesite service and have decided that they would prefer similar arrangements at their passing rather than a regular funeral home service. I just know that I did the best I could with good advice from family and friends, limited resources, and a broken heart.

Thank you all so much for the support you gave me through this crisis. Your prayers, thoughts, enouragement, advice, and donations helped more than I say. Over the next few days, I still have to send out Thank You cards to all of you who sent gifts, along with re-arranging my house as I pack away Jim's belongings and move in a roommate. After that I plan to spend a few days doing nothing but resting. I have been going non-stop since the middle of February, and this sick, 46 year old, two-time widower has used up all his strength (physical and emotional) and is exhausted.

best wishes and good health to you all!

a very sad leatherman,
mikie

ps more pictures of the events are online now at my regular blog, http://reigningpages.com/leatherman (Week Five of May)

[attachment deleted by admin]
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline BT65

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 9,974
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #332 on: May 27, 2008, 07:48:33 AM »
Mikie, what a beautiful eulogy.  The whole thing sounds wonderful (service, after at your home).  Peace to you.
  Luv,
Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,639
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #333 on: May 27, 2008, 09:58:51 AM »
A very lovely tribute indeed Mikie.   I know he would have been proud.

Love & hugs,

Alan

PS -- sometime in the future when your emotional 'wounds' are not so fresh, I hope you will consider posting something for both Randy and Jim in our "In Memoriam" Section of the forums.
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline JDPoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #334 on: May 27, 2008, 02:16:37 PM »
Mikie,
Thank you for sharing the details of this very special day.  It sounds like you did a beautiful job of remembering Jim.  I hope you can get some much needed rest now and take good care of yourself.
Peace,
JD

Offline Iggy

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,435
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #335 on: May 27, 2008, 03:26:09 PM »
Mikie,

I'm sorry I haven't posted my thoughts for you in the last few weeks but I have been off the board for a while.

It pains me to read of Jim's death and to know of your own suffering through this.

My late condolences to you.

with love,

Mark

Offline pozniceguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,181
  • Niceguy Dallas
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #336 on: May 27, 2008, 04:10:29 PM »
Mikie..that was a beautiful and loving way to say goodbye to a dear departed..I, like many of the people on this forum, have been to many funerals and for me this would have been the most touching and sweet way to say goodbye to a friend, lover, neighbor or just a good person......you have certainly  displayed the spirit of survival that this bug has brought to many of us...I would hope for half as much consideration when it is my time to go...

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline Peter Staley

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,337
  • Founder & Advisory Editor, AIDSmeds.com
    • AIDSmeds.com
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #337 on: May 28, 2008, 09:03:26 AM »
Mikie -- thanks for posting those heartfelt words.

xoxo

Peter

Offline allopathicholistic

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,258
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #338 on: May 28, 2008, 10:54:04 AM »
Dear Mikie. I'm sorry you didn't have more time with them. I can only imagine the unforgettable love and memories you guys created together. Many hugs to you.

Offline joemutt

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,042
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #339 on: May 29, 2008, 06:35:40 AM »
Dear Mikie, I have kept you in my thoughts, I feel honored that you have shared your
story and your feelings here, I wish I were as strong and as loving as you.

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #340 on: July 29, 2008, 11:26:23 AM »
Although it's been a while since I posted in this thread (at least 60 days according to the warning), I thought it was appropriate to make one more entry. (I'm cross-posting this into my newer thread "treadimg water" too)

Earlier this month, on July 9th, I was slightly upset with myself as I talked online with Randy's mom late that evening. It was 10:30pm and it wasn't until she IMed me that I remembered that that day would have been Randy's birthday. My Randy would have been 45 and we would have been together 23, if things would have been different.

I don't beat myself up too much for not remembering his bday though. It's been 14 yrs, and his birthday is less of a day for me to remember - I wasn't there at his delivery like his mom was  ;) - than dates like our anniversary (jan 15th) or the day he passed away (may 25th). For the first decade after his death, I always remembered this date; but during my relationship with Jim over the last four yrs, I found that I was "forgetting" Randy's bday and not upset on that date like I had been for so many years.

However, waking up this morning (july 29th), the first thought in my head was the same thought I went to bed with - today would have been Jim's 52nd birthday, if he hadn't passed away 89 days ago.  :'(

God, how I still miss him!

 :'( mikie
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline heartforyou

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,105
  • I must be a survivor in many ways...
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #341 on: July 29, 2008, 12:26:10 PM »
Oh Mikie,

I can feel your pain.
It is so unfair to loose two lovers in a life time....if only i could do something to ease your pain...

Lnow that Jim is in our heart.... forevere.

Sending you warm hugs and love

Hermie
Diagnosed in 1987 and still kicking
Viread, Kivexa (Epzicom),Viramune once daily

Happiness is the freedom of breathing fresh air every day.

Offline leatherman

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,272
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #342 on: April 22, 2009, 10:15:17 AM »
I'm sorry to bring up this thread after so long; but . . .

It's been a tough month or two for me recently. I had been reading my blog, from last year, one entry a day starting from when Jim went into the hospital. Unfortunately, as it came up on my birthday as when we received both of Jim's diagnoses, I just couldn't take it any more. I had to quit reading those old updates and took to a ton of house and yard work to distract myself.

But it's hard not to remember all those terrible times from last year. As I sit here writing this on the morning of the 23rd, I know that it was one year ago today that I took Jim back to his home for the final time. In just nine short days, a year will have passed since Jim took his final breaths and left.

April has only had a few nice days, so when the Spring showers moved back in the area, I had to move back inside the house and tackle the last few indoor projects. After moving into my new computer room, I still had a few boxes of miscellaneous stuff to sort through, and if that's not a chore for a rainy day, then I don't know what is. LOL Unfortunately, unsorted boxes usually contain emotional time bombs just waiting to explode in my face. 

As I sorted out notes of computer projects I have in mind, old receipts, old bills, I was disturbed to find a handful of cards. Somehow in the confusion of my life last year, a handful of "thank you" cards (to those who contributed to Jim's cremation fund) obviously got waylaid and never mailed.  I feel just awful that those cards didn't get out to those people who so generously helped me last year when I didn't even have the money for Jim's final arrangements.

Trying to do the honorable thing, I added a short note about the "delay" and mailed out those cards today - nearly a year late but the sentiment is still unchanged.  It was only through the help of those people that I was able to pay enough of the bill to get Jim's ashes back and not lose him to the whims of fate and time. Hopefully, everyone that sent a contribution received (or will receive soon) their thank you card from me.

on a different subject . . .

Some of you may remember that I had stopped smoking for 110 days after using Chantix, until everything went to hell in a hand basket.

Upon returning home from a road trip in a blizzard, Jim was still ill, was admitted to the hospital, diagnosed with AIDS and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and died 69 days later. Unfortunate to say, I took up smoking again on that dangerous trip home just before Jim went into the hospital and I was up to 3 packs a day by the time he died. Sadly, everything was quite a mess back then.

However, I got another script for Chantix as a Christmas present for myself with money from the sale of some of Jim's belongings (since neither medicare nor medicaid would pay for it). I took it for only 4 wks once again and timed it out so by my 47th bday on Mar 14th, I had quit smoking for 47 days. WooHoo!
 
At the end of this month I'll mark 90 days without a cigarette. The following day will be the one year anniversary of Jim's passing. Then at the next appt with my ID doc in the middle of May, I will have come full circle and will be back to celebrating 110 days without smoking.

There are days now (too many really. sigh) when, after losing Jim, my second long-term partner, that I'm quite adrift and lost; so it really means a great deal to me personally to be able to say that though everything in my life changed without any of my approval/input/consensus, I did have some small bit of control over one thing and have regained my status as an ex-smoker.

I still miss Jim every day. Everything I see, the arrangment of the furniture, the walls in this new house, the new front and back yards, only reminds me of what I've lost and how everything has changed.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline moratorium79

  • Member
  • Posts: 44
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #343 on: April 23, 2009, 03:06:58 AM »
Thank you for bringing this thread back up because it is a phenomenal and heart-wrenching read. 

Just want to extend to you my deepest sympathies for what you went and continue to go through, and also to thank you for your willingness to be as open and forthright as you have been throughout not only this thread, but your life as I have read it.

What you have been through is far too much for a human being of any caliber.  I commend you for your supreme strength and honesty.  You are a definite survivor.
*these are not times for the weak of heart*

Offline Dale Parker

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
Re: spinning wheels
« Reply #344 on: April 23, 2009, 04:51:04 AM »
Hi Mike:  I'm new here had haven't read all your stories but reading this one my heart really goes out to you.  I have had a few tough years but nothing like yours.  The last 7 months for me has been bad but 2003 was a total disaster.  My dad had been hospitalized for fluid on the lungs November 14th 2002.  That cleared up but he kept on sinking further.  January 13th 2003 while trying to remove a mucus plug in his lung he had to be resuscitated.  They moved him to I.C.U. When my mom and I arrived the nurse told us at the door we had 2 minutes as she was calling another code blue.  We went to him and told him to stick around and we would be back to see him in a few minutes.  After an hour and a half in the waiting room they finally said we could see him.  We just got into the hall way and they paged a code blue in I.C.U..  I told mom that it couldn't possibly be dad again.  Wrong.  We got to his room and there must have been 14 people working on the poor guy.  He survived and spent the next 42 days on a respirator. I always wanted him to be able to speak again.  I was dieing to ask him what St. Peter said to him when he showed up at the pearly gates for the third time within 4 hours. 
         While in I.C.U.I had to have two of the hardest talks with him that I have ever had to do in my life.  The first was after he was quite agitated.  He had something to say and couldn't because of the tubes in his throat.  Over the week or so I tried everything to see what he wanted. He was to weak to write on the pad what he wanted.  I made alphabit cards so he could it spell out.  Didn't work.  I spoke with a nurse who brought up a picture board of common complaints. They use it for kids and people who don't speak English.  It had pictures depicting hungry, cold, warm, etc.  All he had to do was point to the right picture.  The one he wanted was not there.  A week later they had tied him down as he was trying to rip out his I.V. and respirator tubes.  After sitting with him till 2am one night I finally figured out what he wanted.  I never thought that with 8 I.V. bags hanging over his head and tubes down his throat, the man wanted to go home.  I hugged him and cried like a baby.   I had to explain that he had to get lots better before we could even think of taking him home. 
   A week later I had to have another chat with him.  The doctors couldn't find any reason why he should not be getting better or any worse (i.e passing away).  I had to tell him that he shouldn't be hanging on just because of Mom and us kids.  We we doing good and if he was hanging on just because of us he shouldn't.  Man that was a tough conversation.  A few days later they moved him from I.C.U to a ward and he passed away the next morning. 
  At the same time my mothers health was not great. 2 years prior to hospitalizing dad she went in for an Angiogram and they would not let her off the stretcher.  Her arteries were clogged so bad they wanted to do a quad bypass immediately.  They could only do a triple as the fourth was to badly deteriorated.  A while later she went blind in one eye.  Three months after dads funeral mom had a cateract removed from her good eye. 
     In August my brother in-laws grandmother died. She was a good friend on mine.  In October mom was not well and we put her in hospital.  She died 3 days later.  December I lost another good friend.   Then to top it all off my mothers brother and my favorite uncle died a year to the day after my dad.   

  The one thing that kept me going that year was a cartoon from the paper.  One day I just happened to pick up a paper and it was at the commics page.  There was a Ziggy comic where Ziggy was having a conversation with god. 
  Basically he said:  Dear God:  It's me Ziggy,  This sure has been a rough year for me.  I know that you you only give us an many trials and tribulations as you know that we can handle but is quite OK if you don't have quite as much faith in me next year. 
My feeling exactly.  I laughed and cried at the same time.  I have that comic beside my parents urn as well as the Foot prints in the sand poem.  If you don't know that poem look it up on the internet as it's quite moving.
   If / when I ever get really sick I hope that I can face it with the courage, strength, attitude and will power that you have shown through your life. 
Hoping everything turns out OK.   Best of luck.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 04:58:51 AM by Dale Parker »
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

 


Terms of Membership for these forums
 

© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved.   terms of use and your privacy
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.