AIDS Activist David Patient's Final Message: Don't Squander Time

 
 
 
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South African Aids activist David Ross Patient died last week at the age of 56. A final update from Patient was published on his behalf on his Facebook page a day later.

Well I guess if you are reading this update, I’m history. Yup, I died….finally…shit it took long enough! (if I were you I’d ask for proof!)

As Woody Allen said, "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." …well that didn’t work out too well in my case. Lazarus 1 : David 3…the fourth attempt didn’t work out so well.

I never went public about this last operation but reality is that it was my ‘Hail Mary”. Two surgeons advised against the procedure assuring me it would kill me, but I was backed up against a wall. The superbug infections became untreatable and won. Ain’t that a pisser.

I spend [sic] 34 years giving HIV a really good run for its money and I get killed by some bug I picked up in a hospital. How f*cked up is that? I had two choices. To run the risk of death while under the knife or wait until the next infection killed me (or the next; or the next) as I only had one drug left that could be used to fight the superbug.

If I had the op and survived, I would need that last dug to deal with the infections following the op. If I didn’t have the op, the superbug would gain ground and the last resort drug would be used until it became resistant to the treatment and then I would die a long and slow death from septicaemia.

Option one was go to sleep and never wake up or option two wait till the bug killed me. Obviously, I chose the operation. I have always been a gambler and it’s a roll of the dice. Guess that didn’t work out too well for me huh?

Do not be sad or morn [sic] me. Rejoice in my life as it was a full and deeply meaningful one. I am an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life all due to circumstances that crossed my path. I live in hope and always trusted my instincts as often they were my only guide.

I have had amazing lifelong friendships of 30 and 40 years; I have had two incredible relationships with partners whom I loved, adored, respected and admired. I never thought that when my first partner Bill died back in ’89 from AIDS that I would ever love like that again. I was wrong and gratefully so.

Neil entered my world by chance and we had a relationship that was unparalleled to any other relationship I have seen or witnessed. We work, lived, play and loved each other 24/7 for 24 plus years. We had two arguments. Lots of disagreements and debates however love and respect allow for this and my weakness were his strengths and my strengths were his weakness. We were a force to be reckoned with. I was fortunate enough to have loved twice in one lifetime.

My final wishes?

Be kind. Kindness costs nothing. It need not be a grand gesture. A simple smile while looking someone in the eyes as you pass in the hall. Saying please and thank you. Acknowledging that the person in front of you exists. If they have a name tag, call them by their name. Be present with that person. The Zulu greeting is Sawubona and directly translated that means ‘I SEE YOU!’

Don’t squander time… you’re only a breath away from being a corpse yourself. It’s only when time is running out that you really get its value. Don’t wait to tell those you love that you love them. Stop assuming ‘oh well, they know’…tell them and do so often.

Cry until it’s funny and laugh yourself to tears… take off the mask and be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness.

And don’t wait too long to find the funny side of any situation, no matter how dark.