Robb made everyone laugh, and he thought the world of nurse Sandee Millage.
By the end of February 1996, Robb had lost six pounds in a little over a week, so he went to Dr. Katz’ office. Dr. Katz wasn’t in, but his nurse Sandee Millage was there to see him.
Robb’s fatigue was worse and he was visibly going downhill. His mother, Hattie drove him to the doctor’s office at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, across the river from his house in Rock Island, Illinois.
Despite feeling badly, the opening shot in this story still makes me smile. I was carrying the heavy camera gear and walking backward down the hall, so Robb began clowning around, motioning people behind me to look out. I remember squinting with one eye through the viewfinder and trying not to laugh.
The twinkle in Robb’s eyes was replaced with concern.
Robb was able to smile and joke a little bit during his checkup, but there is one moment in particular, when he looks up at Sandee when she takes a blood sample, that the illness is mirrored in his eyes. The haunting “sick” look is so different than the twinkle he had in his eyes 10 months earlier, when the series began.
Nurse Sandee Millage talks with Robb about possible side effects associated with a more intense drug treatment.
Things were getting a little more serious for Robb Dussliere during the first week of February, 20 years ago (1996). He had been throwing up blood, so his drug treatment intensified.
I went with Robb to see AIDS nurse Sandee Millage, who gave him such kind, compassionate care. He would make her laugh with his sense of humor, despite how badly he was feeling. Throughout this series, we met the finest people — Beth Wehrman, Dr. Louis Katz, Sandee, and others — all dedicated to helping people who found themselves struggling with HIV and AIDS.
At this point, Robb was beginning to realize he was heading downhill. I think I was still in denial, expecting him to bounce back again.
You can donate to help people who are still struggling with this disease in the Quad Cities. Please go to www.delacerdahouseinc.org and click on the “Donate” button on the right side of the screen.