Sam was 63 years old when he discovered he was HIV+. Prior to being diagnosed, he developed pneumonia and became very ill very quickly. Sam took himself to hospital and was only a day or two away from dying when he arrived. Sam stayed in hospital for three months before he was well enough to leave. He was released to Casey House’s inpatient program, where he stayed for another month.
Sam arrived at Casey House having lost a lot of weight and strength. He had memory loss, no balance and was using a walker to get around. At Casey House, he was able to build up his strength, thanks to great food, physiotherapy and constant attention, “the mothering without the mother”, Sam calls it. He wanted to stay longer. After living abroad for almost 25 years Sam has no family or close friends in the city and had nowhere to recover. Casey House connected Sam with Sherbourne Health Centre, where he stayed for another month before he found housing with the help of LOFT Community Services.
Unlike many of Casey House’s clients Sam is brand new to HIV; he was without resources, and had no experience with this type of health issue. Since being at Casey House his health is under control and Sam says he has a network if he feels sick. He’s working again and continues to make use of Casey House’s recreational programs.
HIV is only part of the story.
*Sam is a pseudonym