“Yes, but I’ve known him for over two years. He’s just a gentle, intelligent man. I’ve seen the pictures of him performing dental extractions. It was the tainted blood of one of those extractions that infected him. She is a human being just like us and just as likely to be wrong.”
“I can’t bring myself to go and visit him.”
“Because he might be gay or because he might have lied?”
“No. If he were gay I could understand why he might have to lie.”
“Look, let’s suppose she’s right, and he led us down the garden path for all these months. He is still sick, suffering, and destitute. Does it really make any difference? Why do we keep trying to make AIDS someone’s fault?”
Although Régis received seven days of a new intravenous antiviral, his vision did not improve. My resident was on my case. He told me that my “blood brother” was trying to use the hospital as a hotel and that I had to help get him discharged. I talked with Régis privately and told him that there was little else I could do for him. I asked him to investigate all of his resources and see if he couldn’t find someone he could go home with. He told me he had no one. Reluctantly I told him that perhaps it was time to think about returning to his family in Haiti. At least they could give him food and shelter. He looked at me in despair and said, “I came here to succeed. If I go back, I go back in disgrace. I surely will die.” The next day on rounds Régis told me he had found somebody to go home with. I was surprised by this and didn’t quite believe it. I told him I wanted to see him in my office in a week. The housestaff had already written his discharge order.