A kind of spooky story

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 01, 2009 8:08 PM GMT
    I made passing reference to this story recently in another thread, dealing with the loss of my partner. So here it is on its own, a bit long in the telling.

    It was 2 weeks after my partner had died, and I was driving an ex-BF to the airport as a favor. We had broken up a few years earlier, immediately before I met my late husband.

    During the hour drive to the airport I was expressing my guilt to him, over not having recognized sooner the AIDS symptoms that had just killed my partner. Maybe he would have lived longer, if I had acted sooner. I'd been advised his PML condition was inevitably fatal from the moment it was diagnosed 6 weeks before his death, but some victims can live for a few years if its treated quickly.

    I understood he only had HIV when we first met, not AIDS, and maybe if I hadn't jumped to the wrong conclusion that the symptoms I did see months earlier were due to excessive drinking, I would have brought this to the attention of his doctor in time. I was literally in tears as I told my ex this, feeling in part negligent for his relatively quick death.

    Suddenly my crying was interrupted by a call on his cell phone. It was a friend coordinating picking him up at his flight destination, and my ex needed something to write the info on. He rummaged through the glove box of my late partner's car, and handed me an open envelope to ask if he could write on it.

    I instantly recognized my partner's name and the former address he had before we got our own place together, and the return address of his HIV doctor there. I told my ex no, try to find something else to write on, while I tucked the envelope down along the center console.

    After walking my ex into the airport terminal, I returned to the car, and something told me to look inside that open envelope he had found. I was curious, if only because I had never seen it before inside the glove box, despite having driven that car for several years, and having straightened out the glove box more than once, and gone into it to retrieve other items any number of times. Where had that envelope been for so long, and why did my partner keep it there, of all places?

    The letter inside was addressed to him, dated the year before we had met. His doctor mentioned his AIDS condition, with symptoms that matched those of the PML that had just killed him, although a definitive diagnosis of PML was not mentioned (PML = progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, an opportunistic viral brain infection).

    I was shocked, and very hurt at first. My late partner had told me he had HIV, but promised me he hadn't developed AIDS. Here was the proof that he had been told he had AIDS before we met. Had he been lying to me all this time?

    But then I thought, this PML affects the mental processes, including judgment, even producing dementia, as it did to him at the end. And maybe he had gone into emotional denial, believing he had gotten over it, in reality an impossibility for PML. I'd seen my late father deny his own cancer & heart problems that killed him, claiming he had "beaten" his cancer when his doctors were telling him he hadn't, so it was something I could understand.

    And then it hit me: maybe I wasn't responsible for his quick death after all. He had been fighting this losing battle for several years, and had in fact lived about as long as could have been expected with it.

    Within a week I went to see the last doctor who had treated him, and presented this information. He said this would explain the puzzling rapid advance of the PML, since it really wasn't rapid at all, but actually present for years.

    PML can be difficult to diagnose, and my partner hadn't presented symptoms to this new doctor consistent with PML until his last 6 weeks. The disease can have flare-ups and remissions, but it is always progressive, always fatal. My partner had simply run out the clock, and there was nothing I or anyone could have done for him.

    And so then I was thankful I had read the information contained in that envelope. But I wondered about how I had come to read it.

    Handed to me inadvertently by my ex, interrupting me at the very moment I was berating myself for having let my partner down. A mystery how it had been there all that time, somehow unknown to me until the very moment I raised the same subject it contained.

    I would be happy to believe that my late partner made it happen, to spare me further self-recrimination over his death. Coincidence is always possible, but I also understand probabilities, which argue against such chance. What do you think?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 02, 2009 12:58 AM GMT
    The only thing I can think about is premonitions. Like it happens when I start thinking about a creditor, and soon afterwards a bill arrives in the post. Or I start dwelling on a subject, person or a topic. And a little later there it is on television, or in the newspaper, or that person calls me on the phone. I think both humans and animals have this sense. Cows lay on the ground if rain is forecast. I have heard that house pets go beserk if a storm or an earthquake is about to happen. As such, I believe that these things are more likely to do with self-preservation rather than spooky stuff.