“You want to go to Paris now, in the winter, after having PCP?” he asked. “It’s going to be cold and wet. Couldn’t you go somewhere south, somewhere it’s dry and warm?”
It was mid-November 1993, and I had just beaten a bout of the often deadly AIDS-related pneumonia. After ve days in the hospital, I was discharged to ten days of IV treatment at home.
A few days later I was proposing to my doctor a long flight to Europe where my lungs would be subjected to the cold, fog, and rain. I explained that my partner at the time had his heart set on celebrating his 40th birthday in his favorite city. My doctor relented with warnings to stay warm and dry and avoid long exposure outdoors. (I’ve always thought he agreed partly thinking I should do what made me happy given my overall prognosis. Unexpectedly, I became a long-term HIV survivor).
So off we went on the day after Thanksgiving for nine days in Paris. It WAS cold and wet and I stayed indoors more than usual. The city was amazing in winter. We were grateful to be staying in a large, warm and cozy apartment in a 400-year-old building on the Ile St. Louis.
Back to last month and Arizona. My husband, Dale Danley, and I had planned this trip long before my diagnosis of disk degeneration. The surgery went well, but a fair degree of nerve pain had yet to resolve. We knew travel would be uncomfortable for me and that our long hikes would be curtailed. I was good for about a mile with a cane. But it was Arizona, sunshine and warm days. Or so we thought.
Our first night it snowed. The next morning the temp was 26 degrees. Our windshield was covered with ice. I scraped some of it off with the end of my cane. We were so not ready. We had debated at home how many T shirts and shorts we’d need.
But we had a wonderful trip visiting longtime friends in Sedona and in the tiny town of Clarkdale before settling in Tucson at a sprawling luxe hotel where a Leadership Conference for LGBTQ choruses was convened. Dale attended sessions while I walked around the compound, spent time in the fitness room, and slept a lot. I loved being in the desert again.