So we had speech class together and would chat and laugh and then all of a sudden he didn't show up to class for a few days. I mentioned it to a mutual friend and he told me that Gess was in the hospital. I was shocked. At Bible study later I mentioned it and the chaplain of our college said in a nonchalant way "Oh, he has cystic fibrosis." I had never even heard the term before.
The next day some of us decided that we should go to the hospital to visit. We met in the college student center and were getting ready to leave when Gess walked in the door. It was shocking. He didn't look sick. I had heard that he was bleeding from his lungs, which I thought was really serious...so to say that I was confused, is to put it mildly.
I did some research on the internet--but back in '97 the internet wasn't anything like it is now. I asked Gess about it and he told me the basics. He assured me that he was healthy and going to live longer than me. And for some reason I accepted that without question.
Now that I think back on it, I can't believe that I accepted CF so easily. Before long I thought that coughing up blood was "normal" for Gess. It scared me, but it didn't freak me out like it seems like it should have.
Now that I think about it I think that I just wanted to believe that it was "nothing." I loved him and that was it. I was 19 years old and terribly naive. But maybe that was a good thing. I enjoyed being young and in love and didn't feel bogged down by CF. Is that really a bad thing?