It is my hope that no one ever need use Maitri’s services. But should you need them, know in your core that the care you will receive here is second to none.
My friend Sean Garnett (aka DJ Sean G.) passed from this world four years ago, on December 26th,. He suffered from an AIDS-related complication called PML (? I think) which, very quickly, robs you of all your bodily capacities and then kills you. Within two months of its inception, Sean was dead, and we were left reeling. If it hadn’t been for Maitri, the caring, loving staff and the dedication to their mission, I don’t know how we could have survived it.
It started with Sean, who at the time lived on Collingwood renting a room in some crazy tweaker’s apartment, becoming more and more dizzy and unable to complete thoughts. My housemate Jeffrey (who was Sean’s ex) and I became concerned when he fell out of his loft bed trying to climb down and use the restroom. After discovering his ailment, we moved him into our house and a home-care nurse began coming over every day to tend to his needs while Jeffrey and I were at work. Within two weeks of moving in, Sean could not walk. Within a week after that, he couldn’t talk or eat either. Sean’s mother Patrice and the rest of his family came out from Indianapolis and sat with him at our place, while Jeffrey and I felt helpless and useless. What could we do but just go to work, and try to make everyone feel welcome? Our two bedroom, two bathroom apartment on Crestmont became home to eight or nine people at any given time.
After about five weeks of watching Sean deteriorate, he could only communicate by pointing to an alphabet that Jeffrey had fashioned on a piece of paper, and spell out words. It contained all the letters of the alphabet, along with the words, “yes”, “no”, “laugh”, and “frown”. Although Sean lost just about all his abilities, he was able to point at that paper until the very end. His mind stayed somewhat with him.
The home care nurse told us about Maitri when Sean’s needs could no longer be met at our house. We investigated and discovered they were a perfect match. It was a very emotional decision, but a necessary one. Unbelievably, they charged something like 225.00 for the care given during the three remaining weeks of Sean’s life, and provided an unlimited amount of love and skill. Jeffrey sat by his side until the end, as I had flown to Arizona to be with my family that Christmas. When I got home, he had died. All kinds of people were at my house when I arrived, and Jeffrey quietly walked me into my room and hugged me. “Sean died this morning.”
Where is Maitri? It’s across the street from the N-Judah stop behind the Market Street Safeway, just after the Metro comes out of the subway, at Church and Duboce. Next time you’re down there, take a look up at those upstairs windows. There’s a lot of love happening inside.
Sean used to DJ Monday nights at the Stud. He also DJ’ed the Soul of Pride stage during SF Gay Pride in 2002 and 2003. He smiled a lot, and was a friend who was always ready to listen.
RIP Sean G! We miss you!!
San Francisco, CA