New Journal of the Plague by Namaya


 New Journal Of The Plague on Amazon. Published by Unlimited Publishing.

 This book is a penetrating first person memoir by a male nurse and Vietnam era veteran who worked with AIDS patients at a Veterans hospital in NYC in the early ‘nineties. Though set in the first years of the epidemic, one reader has said, “This book will stand among the classic tales of illness and healing.”

 Many of the veterans depicted suffered not only from AIDS, but also mental illness, PTSD, alcoholism and drug addiction. The story is set on the ward that was called “Paradise Alley” by the men, because it lay “somewhere between heaven and hell… but mostly hell.” The provocative story is grounded in the timeless essence of nursing: caring. But it also reveals the nurse’s frustration in dealing with bureaucracy and indifference, as problematic in the 21st century as it was decades ago… perhaps moreso during today’s ongoing national debate about healthcare.

 Ultimately it is a beautiful story of one man’s struggle to stay sane and compassionate while working in an end-stage AIDS ward. It can also help today’s caregivers — not just of AIDS patients, but also the elderly, the mentally ill, the criminally insane and others whose conditions require long-term confinement — a better context for understanding their roles in the increasingly conflicted world of medicine today.

“Namaya’s “Journal of the Plague” is a raw, honest depiction of one
nurse’s experience of the war against AIDS. Namaya is unafraid to tell
the truth, his candor and compassion shining through in writing that is
accessible, personal, and imbued with emotional veracity. For those of
us who are veterans of caring for people with HIV, AIDS and addiction,
“Journal of the Plague” is an apt reminder of the vicissitudes of that
struggle. For those who never personally experienced this aspect of
American healthcare, it is an eye-opening read of great depth and power.”
—Keith Carlson, RN, BSN,


At the end of a long stretch of lawn on the Capitol Mall lies a green depression, deceptively serene and muted. As you approach, it appears like a buried black wall, a bunker without an entrance.  People move quietly along it.  One woman is about sixty. Her hand slowly follows the thousands of engraved names on the wall until she stops at one. It is name of their son killed in Vietnam.  She turns to her husband and they both begin to cry.  The names of the other fifty-nine thousand soldiers who died in Vietnam are also engraved on
that wall.

Some more names need to be added, those who died after l973. They are the soldiers who came home and were devoured by the memories of war, alcohol, drug addiction, hopelessness, and AIDS.  The last battle of the war is still being fought in the crack houses of Harlem, the shelters and streets where the homeless live, and on this AIDS hospital ward, called Paradise Alley, where I work.

In this journal of the plague, I have tried to embrace not just the memory of these soldiers, but their fight and struggle for dignity. It is a battle with few victories. The only victories that can be claimed are those of the moment: A day without pain, a few pounds gained, or another step taken. That is the victory.

We are only in the beginning of this plague called AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  Despite the flood of information, it remains more enigmatic and elusive than ever before:  What does AIDS mean to us as a society and as individuals? How do we respond when it strikes a friend, sister, lover, or brother?  If we are caregivers, how do we survive this work?

Plague and pestilence have defined more eras than the virtues of love or courage. Each plague says something unique about the time that it occupies. In the Middle Ages, the Black Plague devoured more than a third of Europe.  AIDS stalks the land and what does it say to us as we begin to close this second millennium?  How does it speak to us about love, isolation, and community?  What lessons does it teach us about healing and being human?

This is a journal of the Plague, a journal of living and working with AIDS.


” About the Author”:

 T. Namaya is a Vietnam era Navy veteran, who worked in a Veterans hospital in the 1990s as a nurse. Namaya is also a Family Nurse Practitioner and homeopathic physician.  He is a poet who has published three books of poetry most recently “VERMONT MY HOME on Blue Heron Pond.”  More art and stories can be viewed at

Leave a Reply