Good Evening Everyone,
Before I begin, I want everyone to know that I cleared the writing of this blog with Master John before I posted it. This story involves him and I would never post something concerning someones personal life without their consent. However, he and I discussed it at length and feel that sharing this story would benefit our community. And isn't that why we are here?
As you know, I went to Tulsa this a couple of weekends ago for the Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2010 contest. Master John, from Ft. Lauderdale, had also flown into town, along with Sir Jason and boy jason. Saturday night we arrived to the contest and were mingling with the crowd and I was taking photo's of everyone. I had just taken a photo of Master John and boy jason, when I asked John a question. He looked to his right and then back at me, and then to his right and then back at me. I could tell he was wanting to say something; however, he just could not say anything. It was almost like he had seen a ghost and was at a loss for words. I said, "John, talk to me. What's going on?" I honestly thought he was joking around and just could not find the words he was trying to say. Then I realized that was not the case. He grabbed my shirt and sash and started to go down. boy jason was standing behind him, and all I could get out was "jason, help me. jason, help me." John's eyes had rolled to the back of his head. He was passing out. boy jason literally carried him to the floor using his own weight as leverage. John was down. His body stiffened and he started to shake violently. I personally have never experienced this situation; however, there were suddenly five nurses in the house on top of the situation. Mark, an RN and Teddy, trauma nurse and three others (I think there was even a prenatal nurse amongst the group) were telling us what to do. Sir Jason was there and said he was diabetic. So we got some orange juice, thinking his insulin was off. But that did not seem to do the trick. Meanwhile, one of the patrons had called 911 and the paramedics were there in five minutes. They took him to the hospital and he has since been released and is home. The doctors could never say exactly what it was that happened to Master John that evening. Inconclusive.
Here is where Master John and I think our community can learn something. Sir Jason knew Master John well; however, he did not know everything about him as to his medical history. I know Master John very well; however, I know very little about his medical history. This was a wake up call for us because we are huge travelers and, although we travel with friends all of the time, very few people know of our medical history, including each of us knowing about the other.
Personally, I am out of town just about every weekend. Most people know that I am HIV positive, as I have been very open about the situation. However, no one knows if I take medications, or if I have any other medical issues.
And that is what happened with John. We all know him and love him; however, we did not "know" his medical history enough to share it with the doctors at a time when he could not share it himself. I know he is HIV positive and Sir Jason knows he is a diabetic (and yes, John has given me permission to share that information with everyone). However, we did not know if he had a heart condition other than to say, "Well, he never mentioned one".
So John and I have decided to share with you that it would be a great idea to take precautions; especially when you travel. That way if something does happen during your travels, someone else can speak for you when you may not be able to speak for yourself.
1 - Note Cards: Place a note card in your wallet of all medications you are on, the contact information of your primary care physician, other medical history and an emergency contact. At minimum, the names of a few contacts that know your history.
2 - ICE: In your cell phone, store a phone number with the name of ICE (which stands for "In Case of Emergency") of someone that knows your medical history and can speak for you. In fact, store two or three "ICE" entries in case the first person is not able to answer.
3 - Communicate: Communicate with the people around you. For instance, John and I have spent numerous hours speaking about all the handsome men that walk by us and all the "good" trouble we've gotten into in the past; however, we never took a moment to speak about our medical histories. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out conversation. Just share it with it with someone and keep them in the loop. One 60 second conversation could have saved alot of guessing on our part. I think John and I can spare 60 seconds to discuss our medical histories with one another.
If you have other steps you think would be valuable, please post comments to this blog and inform everyone.
I realize that not everyone wants to share their medical information across the world. I'm not asking that, so please do not interpret it as such. I realize that not everyone is going to stand on a stage at IML and tell the world they are HIV positive. I did it because I felt it was part of my journey to share it with others and hopefully someone will take that information and go get tested themselves. But today, I'm only asking that you share your medical information with at least one other person that is close to you and then provide a way to contact that person should a need arise.
At the end of the day, it truly could mean saving your life.
And a special thank you to the Tulsa Leather Community for taking care of Master John during and after the event. You showed all of us, once again, why your community is one of the best!!
Your Leather Brother,