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Not for Sale

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Work sustained him. He was hospitalized occasionally to diagnose and treat new infections. Sometimes he would call me from the hospital if he was concerned he would miss a deadline. At other times he would just disappear for two or three weeks and then return, as if those two or three weeks had never existed. These absences were always terminated with spontaneous, unscheduled visits to my office, during which Tim would try to “sell” me on a new educational idea. The times in the hospital took chunks out of his body and soul. Between hospitalizations, his decline was subtle and slow. With each stay in the hospital, however, he looked more and more like a victim of a concentration camp.

He gave up his apartment and moved to Genesis House, a home for homeless AIDS patients. Why did he do this? I asked myself. It was probably more from loneliness and a desire for company than an inability to care for himself. He was still writing, teaching, and going to work each day. Or was this the judgment problem, again?

Genesis House didn’t work out. The home was not close to public transportation, and the companionship he had hoped to discover among fellow AIDS patients just did not materialize. He found it depressing—all these people with nothing to do, waiting to die. He then became truly homeless. He spent some time with his sister in Stuart. If he needed to lecture, he would rent a hotel room within walking distance of the location of his lecture and stay there the night before and the night after, to conserve his strength. He finally found another apartment and moved in alone.

There was a small group of students who were devoted to Tim. They admired his honesty and openness about his illness. They worked with him in preparation for the health fair in Key West. Tim had directed the fair for eight years. It was his favorite project. For the year prior to each fair, the students learned how to do screening procedures such as Pap smears and breast examinations. On the day of the fair, people in the lower Keys came for health checkups performed by over 100 medical students. No one on the faculty but

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