The Professional and the Personal

Hughes

Well, maybe this is the time to say a bit more about the dual role that all of you seem to be playing, and how that enhances, or perhaps creates, tensions in your lives. I'm meaning, you are gay men, and you are physicians. Those two roles don't necessarily always go in sync.


Campbell

No.


Hughes

Do you want to say something about that?


Campbell

It was a very stressful time for me. I was never a hypochondriac, but as soon as that epidemic came on, I became terribly hypochondriacal. I would see somebody who had a particular illness in the office, then do tests which may suggest an AIDS-related illness, not come up with any conclusion, and would go on to this and this and this, and start having similar symptoms myself. In 1983 and 1984, I don't think a day went by that I wasn't somehow preoccupied with my own health. There was always something didn't seem to be right.



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Hughes

Did your state of mind have an effect on your practice of medicine?


Campbell

I think it did inasmuch as I became much more focused on it. Because when I did see people like this, I really took them very seriously. But then a lot of times I was very frustrated because of the uncertainty of what was happening.


Hughes

Off tape you mentioned the emotional aspects of dealing with patients who had a disease that you very well could get yourself.


Campbell

Oh, yes.


Hughes

How did that affect the distance that a physician supposedly tries to maintain between himself and his patients?


Campbell

I think a lot of us were prejudiced by that, like just ordering an antibody test on somebody when you were too scared to take the antibody test yourself. I mean, it's [laughs] something that you don't like to do. And in the first two or three years of antibody testing, the majority would not take that test, or we would stall on it.