Eez Positive I Positive! I No Kill Person!

Eez Positive I Positive! I No Kill Person!

April 2017

It was hard returning home, especially after the craziness that had characterized the last few weeks. It was a hard decision, yet a necessary one. And I knew it wouldn’t do for me to return to her house, to seek sanctuary under her roof, without telling her the truth. She made it easy. One call from her, from Mother, and I found myself spilling my guts, telling her I was positive.

Yeah, stupid, I know.

But you have to take into consideration my state of mind at the time. I mean, I’d only just found out I was HIV positive and was still reeling from that information, while doing a good job of hiding it under bravado and a cryptic smile that suggested all was well with the world. Only for me to get kitoed in the worst possible way; a kito that spread from me, the point of contact, to several other friends. I was feeling down, and I needed someone to cry on. (Never mind that Delle and I are best friends, I couldn’t cry on his shoulders. I mean, hello? Have you seen how frail the individual looks?)

So, I told her. And then it dawned on me that I’d just been immensely stupid. You see, Mother and I do not exactly get along. She’s ultra-religious and I’m as irreligious as they come. Add that to her intense hatred for homosexuality and an absolute refusal to accept that I am gay, and you’d see why I said I’d been immensely stupid.

But she surprised me. She told me to come home, that she didn’t mind, that I was still her son.

You know that thing people say about feeling a weight being lifted off the shoulders? It’s real! I felt it! In that moment, I didn’t care about our differences, about how we never got along. All I cared about was that she wanted me home. So, home I went.

Her reception was exactly what I expected, what I wasn’t sure I was going to get. Madam hugged me at the door, prayed for me and immediately dished a steaming plate of ukwa and dried fish for me to eat. Next thing, we were discussing my diet and what the doctor said I needed to eat and avoid in order to stay healthy. For the first time in a very long while, we talked. Like, really talked. She listened, I listened, neither of us judging or attacking the other. It felt surreal, like I’d been transported back in time to when I was a child and it was us, me and her, against the world. I was glad everything was normal. So glad that I didn’t notice the signs.

Like the fact that she had opened a new box of dishes and brought out only one set of everything: teacup, saucer, soup plate, flat plate – all, for her use only. Or the fact that she bought a new set of cutlery and brought out only one spoon, one fork and one knife – again, all for her use – and keeping the rest. What gradually brought the changes to my notice was when I decided to cook, two days after I returned home. Got into the kitchen and started preparing the things I’d cook with. Next thing I knew, she’d rushed into the kitchen from her room, asking what I wanted to do. I thought she had a different plan for food that afternoon, so I asked what she wanted to eat.

Her reply? “Don’t worry, nna! I will come out and cook in a few minutes.”

I was like: Wait! Hollup! What? I mean, this is a woman who never lets me rest once I’m at home. The moment I enter that house, all affairs pertaining to the kitchen are dumped on my head. (Not like I was complaining though. I mean, I love to cook.) So, this was a bit surprising. Then, I told myself she was maybe just bothered about the stress I’d undergo while cooking. (I was still in my first month of taking my ARVs, so I was usually fatigued, nauseous and generally useless.) So, I let it slide.

However, things finally became obvious. On that day, Mother had to go for her check-up at the Federal University Teaching Hospital. Me, I had my ass draped on my bed as I was still having my ARV reactions. When she came back hours later, I was feeling a little better, so I joined her in the sitting room and asked how her day went. She said it was fine. Then she put a few things down on the table, asked me to help her take them to her room, and went to the kitchen. I quickly surmised that they were her drugs so I didn’t bother looking through them.

But the Fates had decided to open my eyes that day. As I was packing them up, a piece of paper fell out from among them and fluttered open. I was about to pick it up when I saw the words on them. I felt my heart stop in that moment.

This woman had gone to do a HIV test!

I was shook beyond words. Like, how!?!?!??? How do you just jump from zero to a hundred inna minute? I searched my head for any clues as to why she felt the need to do this. That was when I began piecing together every strange thing that she’d been doing, with all of these peculiar actions culminating in the row we had a three days earlier over my warming of the food she’d prepared for our dinner in her absence. She’d been so upset that I quickly apologised and left the kitchen.

So, I thought: This Iya believes I can give her the virus by cooking her food and sharing plates and cutlery. It was so deeply troubling that I kept her stuff in her room and went straight to mine, locked the door and lay on my bed. I didn’t eat that night. All I could do was think. And one thought kept recurring in my head:

Eez positive I positive. I nor kill person!

TO BE CONTINUED

Written by Mitch

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21 Comments

  1. Frankenstein
    August 22, 08:07 Reply

    Being positive is hard,I remember my mom always separating cups and spoon used by a particular uncle of mine every time he came visiting and pick up a quarrel with my dad for eating in same plate with this particular uncle, funny thing was the man wasn’t positive but he’s wife got infected from unscreened blood during surgery so in my mum’s head he probably would have gotten it at some point.
    Seeing that makes me scared of coming out to her concerning my status.

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:03 Reply

      Truth be told, a lot of our family members have an entire world of unlearning and relearning to do. Especially when it comes to issues of health and the accompanying idiotic stigmatism.

      Las las, self-preservation is best!
      Don’t tell them anything till you’re sure you can take the heat of the worst possible action they can put you through.

  2. Dubem
    August 22, 08:34 Reply

    I can absolutely relate to this. I was staying at my aunty’s place when I found out I was poz. But here’s the kicker, the hospital where I got to know this… one of the doctors who attended to me was my distant uncle. And you’d think he’d observe doctor patient confidentiality, but apparently this doesn’t mean anything to Nigerian doctors, because this man took what was supposed to be my prerogative to tell anyone about my status away from me.

    He told my aunt!

    The woman and her husband – AND THIS UNCLE – ambushed me with an intervention. It was the most distraught thing I’d ever been through. I was still dealing with my status, and here were these people barging into my vulnerability with their judgment and “advice”. My aunt followed up this intervention by separating my plates, cutleries and drinking cup from that of the rest of the house. And these are people who were supposed to be highly educated. She studied abroad for chrissakes.
    *sigh*

    HIV stigma is a real thing, and we do what we must to get through it. I’m yet to forgive that doctor uncle for what he did.

    But I thank god for the years that have passed and for the fact that I am in a better place now.

    Looking forward to the continuation of your story, Mitch. I’m glad someone is tackling this “sensitive” subject in what I hope is a series. I still remember ‘The +++ Journals” https://kitodiaries.com/?s=the+%2B%2B%2B+journal and how revolutionary it was when it first debuted here on KD in 2015. Damn. Kito Diaries has done a lot of storytelling for us though.

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:07 Reply

      Oh dear God!!!
      Don’t get me started on how stupid a lot of medical practitioners are! How you would be in the field of medicine and not understand patient privacy and confidentiality is beyond me.

      Honestly, we should start getting these idiots fired whenever they breach our privacy. Maybe that would teach them to have sense.

  3. Delle
    August 22, 09:13 Reply

    Mitch, how do you expect I take your seriously when you won’t spare a moment to come at me! Eh, even in a story like this, you’ll still throw shade at my very firm build THAT IS ANYTHING BUT FRAIL!

    Idiot ?

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:08 Reply

      ???
      Firm build n’ebee?
      Mai fren, welle you shiftuorum n’uzo lemme see road.

      Nonsense and mkpuru aziza claiming tree trunk!
      ???

  4. Levii
    August 22, 10:21 Reply

    My mom has only been supportive of me and I thank God for her..when I got my diagnosis in 2018 I was so broken and the reaction from the ARV made it worse..I needed to tell someone and I told my mom about it and she didn’t freak out and I was surprised? Instead she told me that it was okay that i shouldn’t feel bad that I will have a normal good life..i was suprised as i was expecting her to start praying for me over the phone,I felt safe and stupid for Telling her. when I got home from school for the holiday all she made for me everyday was sauced vegetable leaf with enough liver telling me “this would be your food from now on” and she always be my alarm to take my meds.i would love to meet + persons as well cause sometimes I feel alone.

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:11 Reply

      Dear Levii, count yourself blessed!
      Your mother sounds like an amazing woman.

      And, hey, if you ever need to talk, just ask Pink Panther for my contact details and hit me up.

  5. Foxy
    August 22, 12:55 Reply

    Been postive for 9years now..its has not been easy…lost so many friends along the line who refuse to accese medication( self stimga).

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:13 Reply

      This is the part I’d never understand: this refusal to get on ARVs despite knowing that you’re positive. How does that make any sense?

      People are shaa weirdly stupid in this life!

  6. OnyeMmiri
    August 22, 13:22 Reply

    Mine was in May 2010, my dad picked my result on his way home from the market and I was only 19yrs, as usual he reacted in a typical Onitsha main market man style. He threatened to withdraw my school support cos I just got into 200l, my mum pleaded for months and one of my elder sis was summoned she came, suggested we visit one FMC closer to us for confirmation, Test result there was still +, I enrolled for treatment there and then and my sis told me to shred those test result and when my dad asked about FMC outcome, sis lied to him that there’s was nothing like HIV ever….that the previous result was a huge mistake from the lab. That was how my journey to that FMC started, I was able to finish school l, working and living life. My dad still give me that hawk-eyes look when ever I’m around in as much as I don’t always come around. I was able to process it all through my sis/ mum assistance.

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:20 Reply

      Your sister is the real OG! ??
      Girl saved your ass from your father’s ignorance.

      I think we all have something to be thankful for in our journeys as poz people. We have our bad experiences, mostly with family, but we also have great experiences. We find chances to discover how much we are loved by those around us, by those we call our own; we find that our worlds get reset and we suddenly develop a keener sight and firmness of resolve. We even have the opportunity of redefining ourselves, making a completely new life for ourselves from the one we were living.

      Being poz is a journey, a journey with its own twists and turns, highs and lows, good and bad moments etc. All we can do is make the best of the journey. And enjoy the shit of every moment of it.

  7. Eddie
    August 22, 16:28 Reply

    Don’t even get me started on the stigma from community members…
    Some people never learn.

    • Ace
      August 22, 17:12 Reply

      And most times, we even look more healthy than most of them stigmatizing positive gay men.

      Though, i’ve not experienced such…

    • Mitch
      August 23, 00:22 Reply

      Ah!!!!
      We shall not open this can of worms today. If we do, this website will hang.

      Because tori too plenty!

      So, plis dear, not today!
      Another day, we shall touch upon the matter.

  8. Levii
    August 22, 22:27 Reply

    Id like to meet +positive persons, ive always wanted not to feel so alone

  9. Blue
    August 22, 23:58 Reply

    Got to know about mine in 2015 when I went to do my medicals in school. The man had to separate us from the negative ones and started calling us in one by one.
    When it was my turn, he started talking all those emotional and supportive talks. I was like ” sir sorry you must have gotten my results mix up with another person. I can not be positive” believe me that day was hell for me..it took the grace of God for me not to commit suicide that day. The big question on my mind was HOW DID I GOT IT? (Up till now I still don’t know how I got it)
    I cried my eyes out, called my sister told her she cried with me also and told me everything is going to be fine.
    I later told my mom and other sibling and everyone was supportive. Right now apart form the daily medicine stuff
    And some emotional trauma which comes once in a while I think am very much okay

  10. Zagaram!
    August 23, 15:08 Reply

    I’ve been positive since 2009 and it was the most traumatic result I ever had because I just went to my school’s health center for malaria treatment and the counselor just advised I took the test. Gbam! It came out positive. I was in final year just about you begin exams the following week. It was too much to bear and I told my parents. Still the worse mistake of my life till date. I had horrible reactions to the meds too when I first started. Did I mention that I only started treatment after 6yrs? Yeah, the journey of being poz is a lot but I’m grateful that I’m still here today.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  11. Chocolad??
    August 23, 21:09 Reply

    The saddest part about HIV awareness is that, most of our so called ‘literates’ are the ones stigmatizing.
    I was at my bro’s workshop sometime earlier this year and there were these guys talking about deadly diseases. What surprised was when they got to HIV and one among them mentioned that it can be managed and he basically lectured the rest of them.
    This guy didn’t even make it to the uni!
    But my bro, his friends and a few others (who are gradutes and supposedly ‘sophisticated’) still talk about it like it’s a death sentence.

    Just that one guy gave me hope. Hope for a more accepting, understanding and compassionate new generation.

    To the writer;
    I’m just gonna tell you to let ur mom deal with it the way she pleases. And if you have the means, move out.
    Adhere to your medications and stay healthy. Sane too.
    Cos stigmatization isn’t going anywhere!

  12. Peace
    August 24, 13:29 Reply

    Reading this just made me teary, the story and the comments. You guys are the real MVP’s and I love you all. I’m not positive and I won’t say I understand how it feels cause I don’t but regardless. I love you all, I really do. You all are strong, brave and amazing individuals. Hey if you guys decide to create a support group or something, I’d love to be part …

  13. Quinn
    September 04, 16:39 Reply

    I don’t support persons that don’t go for testing or even when they find out don’t go to collect the drugs, I’ve gone with a friend to two different clinic to pick up drugs and the whole thing was crazy, the way everyone knows your are there to pick up your avr drugs, I was not supposed to be there and they let me stay, they should correct that too, these things are very sensitive in Nigeria

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