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STORYCLIENTBruce

Bruce has lost dozens of friends to AIDS. As a registered nurse and friend, he has seen the suffering that HIV/AIDS stigma can cause. But he says care has always been different at Casey House.

I don’t know what I’d do without the nurses and social workers, and my home care worker. I would be lost.

Bruce, Retired RN & Casey House Community Nursing Client

In the course of nearly 25 years of witnessing care at Casey House, Bruce says that the fundamental respect for the lives we touch has not diminished, whether in the house at 9 Huntley or in our clients’ own homes.

“As a nurse myself, I can tell you that all nurses are caring in some way, but at Casey House it’s different. It’s a holistic caring. They’re not just looking at one illness or one problem. They’re treating all the needs you have as a whole person.”

Today, Bruce is himself a client of Casey House. HIV-positive for 20 years, he’s grateful for the treatment advances that have kept him alive. However, they come at a cost, with long and short-term side effects. “Sometimes I praise the medications, and sometimes I curse them,” he reflects. “I’m 58 years old, but my doctor tells me I have the body of someone in their seventies.”

Like many long-time HIV survivors, Bruce endures a great deal of pain due to fibromyalgia and bone loss. His memory is not what it used to be. He’s battling prostate cancer, with treatment complicated by his other illnesses.

“I don’t know what I’d do without the nurses and social workers, and my home care worker,” says Bruce. “I would be lost. Not only is it medical issues that they deal with, but we also sit and talk, like friends. Liz, my social worker, listens to all of my problems and feelings and gives me good feedback.

“I don’t want to imagine what it would be like if that service was taken away, not just for me but for the others I know who need them. We would be lost in a sea of unending sickness, and problems, and worries. I’m just so very grateful for them all.”