Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Okay, I think I'm sick.  Y'all know I'm sick but that's not what I'm talking about.  I'm having a runny, sometimes, clogged nose.  I'm also having phlegmatic coughs every now and then.  It started last night.  My throat suddenly became very itchy and the next thing I know, I could hardly breathe through my nose.  I got really worried so I went to bed right away to get some rest.

I woke up this morning still with an itchy throat.  Every time I cough, it feels like my chest wants to burst open.  For a moment, I panicked -  I thought I'd die any moment soon.  Anxiety attack!  I checked my temperature and felt relieved that I don't have a fever.  

I took a deep breath and pulled myself together.  I went to the toilet to take a shower and 30 minutes later, I was on my way to the office.  I don't feel actually that ill.  I'm just having colds and an itchy throat.  When I got out of the trike, I went to 7-Eleven to buy Strepsils.  Whew, what a relief!  My throat immediately didn't feel that itchy anymore.  That took care of a few of my worries but nonetheless, I was still worried.

At the office, I feigned my-usual-alive-awake-alert-and-enthusiastic-self.  I don't want my officemates to notice I'm sick for the nth time.  But later in the afternoon, I sneaked into the clinic and went to see the doctor.  She examined my throat and she said it's really red.  She also listened to my chest with her stethoscope and I sighed when she said it's clear.  She told me she won't prescribe me with an antibiotic yet since the symptoms only started yesterday.  She prescribed me with anti-symptomatic medicines instead and asked me to come back on Thursday.

On my way home, I stopped by Mercury Drug to buy my medicines.  I also stopped by a carenderia to eat.  I was so hungry I ordered the first thing I saw, fried bangus with black beans.  While I was eating, an old woman sat near me and started chatting.  She said her secret to old age is Malunggay and told everyone there that it's reason she hasn't gone sick ever.  She claimed that Malunggay has like seven times more Vitamin C than a whole Orange.  What made me almost jump off my seat was when she announced loudly that if people with HIV will realize the power of malunggay, they'll significantly improve their "resistensya". WTF, really.  It came out of nowhere.

Look, I don't believe in the supernatural.  This is definitely supernatural.  An old woman, almost gypsy-ish, suddenly talking about the wisdom and power of malunggay and its effect on HIV?  What are the chances of me being there?  I suddenly felt something cold running down my spine and got some goosebumps.  I had the feeling that she was actually talking to me, just me.  I finished eating, paid my bill and got out right away.  I didn't even look back.  It felt so weird.

My mom also loves malunggay.  I remember she would force it down my throat when I was a kid.  I hated the bitter shit and I didn't care about the miraculous things she would tell me about the herb.  But now, when I come to think about it, my mom hasn't gotten sick save for that day she fainted when she found out I smoke.

Is this a sign?  Maybe, I should stop being such a hard-headed kid and should start listening to the elderly.  I am sick and desperate.  If someone would tell me that I should climb Mt. Apo and drink from a magic spring on its peak, I would.  Maybe, as simple as eating malunggay isn't that bad at all.  It's funny when you think about it but what is there to lose?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A New Lesson Learned

It's very long day today but I'm too tired to go through the details anymore. I'm even too tired to write another hundred words. Anyway here's a recap of what happened today.

1.  Went to the Hills for my consultation.  I was informed last week to come a little earlier than lunch time.
2.  Disappointed Ate A was not there.  The OPD was full so I had to tell Kuya R what my agenda were right away.
3.  Was told to wait at the lounge until 2pm for the doctor.
4.  The lounge was packed with people from various provinces.  All were told to wait until 2pm.
5.  Chit chat with everyone while watching Showtime and Wowowee.
6.  Found out that almost everyone is new in various stages of newness.  Wow, so many batchmates.  Some are really cute...too bad the cutest was already taken.
7.  Atty. A (met him last month through a poz friend) arrived at 2pm and brought some luscious moist chocolate cakes.  They were delicious, umandar pagka-PG ko...I had three slices LOL.
8.  We were asked to go to the OPD for our consultation only to find out that Dr. D wasn't around! WTF.
9.  We all went back to the lounge to complain to Ate E who at once went looking for an available doctor.  She did find one but she told me that I had to see Dr. D instead for ARV enrollment.  She asked me if I were ready.  I said yes.  I have to come back some other time...maybe a few weeks from now.
10.  I learned a new lesson today.  I should call the Hills first before going there again or else I would just be wasting my time and effort.  If it weren't for the new friends I met, it would have been a complete waste of time.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Lucky Number

I've just came back from a much-needed vacation.  For a few days, I made my life feel like the old days.  I wished I could just stay there in paradise and escape from reality.  But then I reminded myself that I have to face this challenge.  Life is not all about sitting by the sandy beach sipping glasses of banana shakes.  I know it's going to be a bumpy road up ahead but maybe, just maybe, I can still avoid the potholes if I am going to be careful.

Today, I went to the Hills again.  I've only realized now that going there is kind of stressful.  I work during the day, Mondays to Fridays, which means that I have to find another excuse to file another leave of absence every time I go there.  I really hate not going to work but I also hate getting sick often so I have to make a few sacrifices.  Either I don't show up at work sometimes or I don't show up at work often.

I was thankful Ate A was there.  She's one of the friendliest people I know.  It was a busy day at the Hills today.    No less than five pozzies were there and she attended to us all.  Two were there to get their supplies of Darna pills; one was having rashes just like me more than a week ago; one was feverish due to the Darna pills he took; another was a very old lady complaining about her Darna pills getting lost in transit by FedEx; and another one was just there selling some handbags to another lady pozzie.

Almost everyone was accompanied by their real moms while the lola was accompanied by her apo.  I almost cried at the thought that I went there by myself.  But no, I have to stop being such a whiny kid.  The reason my mom was not with me was because of my decision not to disclose it to her.  The rashes-kid's mom looked at me and smiled.  She looked really worried and started talking about how her son ate a can of Spam last night.  I told her that I had the same rashes a week ago and they're all gone now thanks to the anti-histamine the derma prescribed me.  I then assured her not to worry much because the rashes look like they're just allergies and I told her son not to scratch them no matter what.

Meanwhile, the lola was on the phone talking to a FedEx guy.  She was mad because according to her, she hasn't taken her meds for three days because of the delay in delivering them to her place.  She then gave the FedEx guy some directions and put down the phone.  I'm amazed at how healthy looking she was.  Yes, she is really old, probably more than 65 years old and living with HIV!  She has been so for almost two decades now; wow, what an inspiration!

Finally, it was my turn with Ate A and she told me about my results.  My lucky number is 338 (a friend already texted it to me yesterday though so I wasn't surprised anymore).  That's a bit short so that means that I am now a candidate for ARVs.  The X-ray says I've got a normal chest, whew; I've got no syphilis, yey; my overall CBC's looking good, amen; no TB exposure (I already know about that); but then, I knew there was going to be a catch.  I am also positive for another STI, HBV - transmission and the works are all the same as HIV's but it eats my liver instead which means no more alcohol for me from now on.  Ate A sent me to the laboratory right away so I could have my hepa profiling.  It's pretty much the package I've got and I think it's not that bad at all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Panic

Last weekend, I went out of town.  I needed to see at least a change of scenery so when a friend from the office invited me and some other officemates to her provincial home, I took that as an invitation for myself to relax and breathe some fresh air.

Yes, the scenery was of course green.  The air was fresh except in the sugar fields where the soil was mixed with cow dung.  The food was unlimited and free.  It was the perfect weekend.  But of course, things don't always go according to plans.

I forgot that the countryside is also full of insects.  Outside my friend's house, insects were all over the place!  I got stung and bitten everywhere.  While were all having fun, I was kinda praying that no mosquito with dengue or malaria would bite me.  The other thing is the knee-high grass.  My God, a few seconds in the field and I felt already itchy everywhere.  I'm not being maarte but I still have to go the beach the next weekend.  Who'd want to wear long-sleeved shirts and jeans on the beach to cover the bite-and-grass-itch-ridden-skin?  So I wasn't really having fun at all.

I asked one of my friends to accompany me back to the house because I badly needed a shower.  I checked myself in the mirror and God, it wasn't looking good.  I hoped that the itch would go away so I wouldn't accidentally scratch the bite marks and do more damage.  The shower helped somehow and I felt relieved.

My friend's mom already served dinner and I ate right away after I showered and changed clothes.  The food was really good especially the Paksiw na Galonggung.  After I finished one fish, I felt itchy again.  But I was enjoying the food so I somehow didn't mind the itch at all.

The next morning, when I checked myself in the mirror, I was already full of rashes and scratch marks. They look really nasty.  My skin are full of tiny red rashes with red scratch marks on top of them.  

I panicked!  I became really worried.  What if these weren't actually bite marks?  What if these are symptoms of another opportunistic disease?  I wanted to go back to Manila right away but of course, I couldn't because we'd only go back later in the afternoon.  The day went by with me pretending I was enjoying everything we were doing but in fact, not.

It was already 7PM when I arrived home.  Too late to go looking for a dermatologist.  I became really paranoid but the trip going home made me very tired that I was able to sleep right away.  I woke up very early the next morning (today), packed a few things and I headed to the Hills.

When I arrived at the Hills, I immediately went looking for Ate A but unfortunately, today's her day-off.  Kuya R was there and he checked my PPD Skin Test and declared it negative.  Indeed, the patch of skin where the PPD skin test was injected has no sign of being positive.  Dr D also checked it and said it was negative.  I am thankful I have no tuberculosis and I am glad.  But I was still worried about my rashes.

Ate E told me that HIV-positive patients have to wait until 2PM for derma.  I texted my office that I couldn't make it to work because I've got some allergies (which they've actually noticed the day before).  So I waited at the lounge.  Two guys who are living with HIV for the past 12 years were there and they interviewed me.  They managed to make me cry when they told me that I should tell my parents.  I really want to tell my parents but I can't (that's another story though). 

At 2PM, Ate R accompanied me to the Dermatology building.  The doctors were having a party so I waited until like 4PM.  The doctor asked me to strip down and she checked on the rashes carefully which became redder with embarrassment.  She interviewed me about what I did, what I ate, what soap I use, etc.  She then told me that the rashes were caused by an allergy.

I am relieved to find out that this is just an allergy and not some contagious disease.  Well, I really hope so.  And I hope that the medicine and the hypo-allergenic lotion she prescribed me are going to be effective.  I really don't care anymore if I won't be showing off some skin on the beach this weekend.  I'm just happy I'm not sick again. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Hills

I woke up very early today.  As a pozzie,  I think this is one of my biggest days - go to the Hills.  The Hills is a place where pozzies go to have their vital statistics checked.  I was kinda stressed out thinking about all other illnesses I might have, so a few minutes before meeting my Mother who would accompany me to the Hills, I lit a cig.  Oops.  (Mother isn't really my mom; for pozzies, the one who's gonna bring them to the Hills supposedly becomes their Mother.)

It is a beautiful place, a far cry from the  third-worldly setting of SHC (sorry I can't help comparing the two).  I immediately know why the picky beckies choose to go there.  When we arrived there, the place was buzzing with many people.  It was almost 10am but Ate A accommodated my request to be checked but she said I would have to be the last one for that day and for that, I was very thankful.

More than the beautiful setting, the Hills is beautiful because of the beautiful people who made me feel I'm gonna be okay.  I'm forever grateful for the people who were there - my Mother and G.  I was also happy to meet new fellow pozzies who exude so much positive attitude in life.

I can't wait to go back there, see my results and go on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Box

For the few weeks that I've been waiting for my confirmatory result, I have been somehow a bit hopeful.  After all, the rapid test is only 95% accurate so for us optimistic mortals, that remaining five percent is enough to push us to dream that once Pandora's Box is opened again, it would somehow say, please God, non-reactive.

But of course, I have also remained positive that the rapid test was correct.  Looking back at my life, especially the sluttier parts of it,  I couldn't blame the damn result for crying it out loud at my face that I am reactive.  To anyone who actually knows me, it would be more surprising if it says otherwise.  When Ricky Martin confessed today that he's a proud homosexual man, did anyone get surprised?

I had slept with countless men since I was a teenager.  I get dizzy just by trying to remember them all.  I had sex everywhere, anywhere and anytime.  To say that I am a whore is an understatement.  I was even proud of it because I didn't care and because I was such a sad, insecure bitch every time a boyfriend leaves me.  I was very aware of the consequences but every time I'm in the arms of a beautiful man, I forget myself.

Today, I went to open Pandora's Box again.  Honestly, even after a few days of already accepting the fact, I still felt fear, albeit tiny.  But I was more peaceful.  I have already faced and forgave myself and promised not to screw it again this time.  No matter what the final results are, there's always hope and it has always been in the box for anyone brave enough to open it.  

So I opened it, laughed and said, "I know, right?"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Goin' Bananas!

Saw this posted somewhere and this is good news!  A study found out that lectins, naturally-occurring substances found in plants especially in bananas, are just as potent as two current anti-HIV drugs. A friend wittily commented that bananas could indeed prevent HIV even if you don't eat it.  And guess what, I think you can even have unprotected sex with bananas, if you're really into it.  

The next time you go to the supermarket, don't forget to add bananas in your cart.  This is one thing we all have to include in our diet from now on.

Click here for the full article:  Bananas May Prevent HIV