“At my age rolling out of bed in the morning is the easy part. Getting off the floor is a whole other story”.
By Sun Gazing off Facebook
Clearly when I look at my life situation in comparison to a very solid majority of the planet’s population I am one lucky old queen. That I have reached the age of 70 after living the past 34-39 years with HIV certainly qualifies as pretty damn lucky. Oh there are issues I’d rather not be dealing with health-wise at this time with diabetes and atrial fibrillation certainly being at the top of the list. Oddly enough the HIV presents few immediate issues other than a butt-load of pills everyday. Those HIV meds certainly have side effects but the ones I have had to deal with are rather insidious and slow moving. The A-fib and diabetes however require daily attention and adjusting to stay on top of and seem at times much more daunting than the HIV. With the HIV you just pop the pill or pills hopefully with minimal side effects everyday and it all works out rather smoothly. Monitoring blood sugar levels and Coumadin management are a much bigger pain in the ass at least for me.
I don’t intend for this to be the understatement of all time but I do think AIDS has been very unlucky for the gay male community broadly speaking and that this state of affairs has certainly trickled down to me and my personal set of circumstances. Having HIV has certainly affected many of my life choices, some big and some small, for the past several decades. I know that one of the main purposes of this Story Telling group is to relate our own life experiences and therefore I do need to acknowledge here that I at times sound like a privileged whiny little bitch. So bear with me here and let me continue with that self-indulgent theme.
Perhaps the main unlucky component of my life currently is the fact that I live alone and this has been the case for the past ten years dating back to the break-up with my second long term partner. I can say that 60 years of my life have involved a variety of living situations but none until the past decade were living alone. As long as things in my life are humming along and there is no impacting health issue I do in some ways like living alone. And it seems to be true that the longer you live alone the less likely it is that you will find yourself living with a partner or having roommates.
Lots of things in life seemed to get cemented with longevity. As my cardiologist recently told me if I were to elect to have cardio-version for my A-fib sooner is better since the longer you are in that arrhythmia the harder it is to break out of it with a little electrical shock. Actually it is quite a bit of electric shock, enough to stop your heart completely with the hope that it will re-start correctly on its own, which thankfully it usually does.
I do think that much of the reason for my current aloneness can be directly attributed to the devastation and depopulation of my gay male peer group from the AIDS epidemic. So many men central to my vibrant social network in the 1970’s and early 1980’s are dead and gone. At the same time I do know that there are many seniors, queer and straight, living alone these days and that is why Community Centers and Story Telling Groups are so vital to our wellbeing.
I’ll end with a quote from a Facebook page titled The Gay Atheist. I am not meaning to imply with this quote that we should all be hedonists and throw healthy habits to the wind but it does contain a rather large kernel of truth:
“If you eat well, get good sleep, exercise and drink plenty of water you’ll die anyway”