Fournier, Arthur M., M.D., Herlihy, Daniel. "Physician, Heal Thyself." The Zombie Curse: A Doctor's 25-year Journey Into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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The Zombie Curse: A Doctor’s 25-Year Journey into the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic in Haiti
the course where the students learn how to talk to patients. I wouldn’t place any credence in that rumor until you hear it from Tim himself.”
Two weeks later Tim and I met again to follow up on the Key West project. At the end of the meeting he matter of factly stated, “You know that I’ve got AIDS.”
“I heard a rumor that you announced that to the freshman class, but frankly I gave no credence to it.”
“It’s true. I see no reason to hide it. Having a disease is nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t you think our students should know that? I just want you to know because I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue to work.”
“Have you been feeling sick?”
“Yes. For some time now I haven’t felt right. At first I thought it was just tuberculosis, something I had picked up on the Jackson Hospital wards. But when the cultures came back atypical tuberculosis, I got tested. They have me on five medicines, which is a pain, but I feel better now. The thing I worry about the most is the dementia. I think I may be getting that. I forget things all the time. I forget where I’m going, or what I’m supposed to be doing, or when my rent is due. I have to write myself notes.”
“Sometimes if you worry about something too much, it comes true just from the worrying,” I said, attempting reassurance. I silently shuddered when I heard “atypical tuberculosis.” Despite Tim’s claims to be feeling better on five medicines, I knew atypical tuberculosis was a late complication of AIDS and incurable. He looked too well to be that far advanced. I promised him that I’d help keep him working for as long as he could, by supporting his salary through one of my grants. Tim liked that idea because the grant work would conform to the vagaries of his illness. It required a lot of written material. He could pick up his pen when he felt well and put it down when he felt ill. He had stopped seeing patients when he found out he had AIDS, but there was more than enough teaching and writing to keep him busy. He hoped to devote half of his time to the Key