World Aids Day 2010 will be held on December 1, 2010, this is the day to remember those who are living with the disease as well as those people who have touched our lives and passed away from this disease. With as many cases as there have been since AIDS first emerged, we all know someone who has been affected by this disease.
The CDC says that there is an estimated 1.1 million people in the US living with HIV currently. It’s also stated that out of every five people who have the disease one of them is not diagnosed and has no clue that they have the disease. With no diagnosis, the person is not getting treatments and may be continuing to spread the disease to unsuspecting people.
I have been a CNA (certified Nurse’s aide) since 2002 caregiver and for five years of those years, I helped to care for a patient who had AIDS. Sadly, he passed away in early 2008, but he left a mark on me and made me change the way I look at those people with Aids.
Laws were on the books since I began working as a licensed nurse’s aide in 2002 in upstate New York, because of current health care laws, which hide medical conditions from those caregivers the nurse’s aides were not allowed to know about the AIDS. However, Bobbie made sure each new nurse’s aid that walked into his room to provide direct care understood that infection control was mandatory.
As a CNA who provided direct care to Bobbie, I learned quickly that I had to take a bit more control in the well-being of both of us. If I had a cold that would not have really damaged other patients I wore a facemask around Bobbie to keep the germs to myself. Gloves were a necessity for every patient who had a Foley or had to wear incontinent products to keep the bodily fluids from transferring from one person to another.
With Bobbie, we had to take more precautions then usual especially when we had to help the nurse with his care. Although we were not allowed to replace bandages or clean wounds we nurse’s aides had to assist the nurse by handing her bandages or holding legs open as she inserted a Catheter. We would put on the gowns to protect our clothing and facemasks with shields to protect our eyes.
When I first learned that Bobbie had AIDS, I thought as many people did. He has a full-blown case of this, and his time on earth was quickly ending. I was afraid to take care of him, because of the real fear that I would come down with this as well. However, once I got to know this man things changed. I would go into his room to provide care and I would take my time to talk with him. We talked as I emptied his foley or changed his position in the bed. He was very intelligent, funny and not at all, what I thought he would be. Bobbie became one of my favorite patients because he knew just how to make a person smile.
When I had first become a single parent after fifteen years of marriage, Bobbie got me feeling better with just a few words. He quoted something by TS Elliott that showed me that life does go on, and I could do what I needed to do when I needed too. I will never forget his loving spirit and his upbeat attitude in the face of Aids, which took his life at a relatively young age.