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Letters: On Treating AIDS/HIV

Linda Fish 72N recounts her own work in the early days of AIDS/HIV treatment.

By Linda Fish 72N

"Until My Heart Stops" by Jameson Currier
EmoryWire received the following letter from Linda Fish 72N in response to the article “Until My Heart Stops” about alumnus Jameson Currier 77C.

To the Editor:

I loved the article about Jameson Currier. I graduated from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory in 1972. I worked in numerous patient care areas but the one that I think meant the most to me was working on an AIDS/HIV unit in the 1980s and 1990s.

Interestingly enough, most of our patients were heterosexual who contracted the disease via sex or drug use. Not that any of that mattered. We took care of everyone regardless of the source of the disease and were emotionally attached to ALL of (our patients). We had those abandoned by families and friends and they became ours, literally. This was before drugs that helped and was mind boggling.

I still remember holding hands, crying with them, talking endlessly, and trying so hard to help them. I remember when they died and hated when one of them died and I was not there for them. We had one MD who specialized in the care these patients needed. To say we were overworked is a terrible understatement.

I so identified with Jameson's statement of the fears associated with the disease. I will be reading his books for sure. I considered it an honor to care for these patients who faced uncertain lives and certain death at some point. I am so happy he is chronicling the age of early treatment.

I am also grateful that I had a nursing education that gave me the strength and intelligence to treat everyone who has crossed my path regardless of disease, economic station, race, ethnicity, or social station with high standards, compassion and to the best of my ability.

Sincerely,

Linda Fish 72N

Editor’s Note: She adds, “I retired in October 2014 after 43 years as a nurse. Miss it terribly, miss my patients, the whole thing. I was called to be an RN and that call has never left. NHWSN prepared me well. It was never easy but well worth it.” Learn more about exciting developments and academics at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

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