Friday, February 5

No Ordinary Thursday

It was life-changing to say the least.

Woke up at around 7:30 am, went through the morning routine, then replied to nurse friend's text message. Told the family I was on OB, will register a book at the National Library. Walked from the apartment to the set meeting place. Received another message from nurse friend. Went to their place in Manila. Greeted his mom. Nurse friend's mom was surprised to see me that early on a weekday. Told her we have to fix up some things. Left their house. Crossed the Pasig River via boat. It was my first time. Rode a bus. Got off at Manila City Hall. Met designer friend at SM City Manila.

Rode the LRT. Got off at Bambang Station. Walked until we reached Tayuman Station. Missed the place. Rode a trike to San Lazaro. Saw the place. Guards on duty asked what our business was. "The test," said nurse friend. "It's on the second floor," they replied. Took the stairs. Was received by some staff. We didn't make the cut-off. Told to return at 1:00 pm.

Stressed out. Anxious. Wanted to throw up.

Rode a trike to UST. Ate lunch at Almer's. Went inside UST. Looked for a place to stay. Found a bench near the HS building. Designer friend suggested we stay at the Chapel. Walked to the Chapel. Made a genuflect. Found a pew. Designer friend knelt. Took out his beads. He prayed.

Laughing. Freaking out. Resigned.

Rode a trike back to the place. "Call center?" asked the staff. We replied, "No." Filled out some forms. Fidgeted in the hall way. Saw a mirror with a sign above it: "Ito ang mukha ng..." Nervous laughter. Went inside the doctor's room. Short briefing. It's 99.5% accurate. First line drugs cost around P5K a month. Second line drugs cost P30K a month.

Room started spinning.

Last time you did it? Three years ago. August last year. Just this week. Window period. High risk activities. It's low risk except if you have sores or braces.

Froze. Wanted to die.

Doctor signed referral slips. Went down to the lab. Technician opened some kits. Blood was drawn. I don't know if my finger hurt. Perhaps my heart dying a slow painful death.

Anticipating.

Went up the stairs. Waited in the hallway. Had a chat with the staff. "They look ordinary, much like you." Wanted to die... or just smack him in the head. Around 20 last January out of around 90 who got tested. So far, 3 this February. Jaw dropped. It was just the 4th of the month. Designer friend asked how he could possibly go home. I was already resigned to the idea. Told them not to leave me when the results come in.

Saw the staff walking up the stairs. Some sheets of paper on his hands. Losing air as he marched on. Doctor was doing another consult. Signed some post-test waiver. Doctor was still doing another consult.

Staff handed us three sheets. "It's negative anyway, so there."

NON-REACTIVE TO ANTI-HIV 1/2.

Traumatized? Yes... but relieved nonetheless.

*****

I told myself that this year is gonna be good. It's turning out to be bittersweet but at least I'm growing up. And growing up means making better choices. I will be making better choices.

Thursday is St. Jude's day. It really is about courage and faith.

*****

I've been sick since September. Antihistamines and antibiotics didn't seem to work. Pneumonia, said the x-ray. Another round of x-rays. Doctor said it's clear. A week passed by. The cough persisted. Had a skin test and sputum tests. Diagnosis: PTB 3 smear negative. Two months into medication, doctor reduced my meds. A couple of days later, I had a bad sore throat, some coughing, and a backache to boot. The symptoms are returning. Went back to the doctor. Was given some antibiotics. Didn't feel any better.

Paranoid. Why am I not getting any better?

And then the news. Wanggo Gallaga having a history of respiratory illness for consecutive months prior to his test. Cyberloafing didn't do any good. PTB smear negative is highly likely in HIV infected people.

What am I to do? I had to know. The signs are there anyway.

*****

I bugged a couple of people because of this lingering anxiety.
Thank God for friends.
And thank you Jepoy, Xall, and Boss Tristan for listening to me rant. Appreciate it much, really.

*****

I'm still stressed out. I need a good de-briefing.
But yeah, at least I can breathe.
One more item taken off the list... and a new-found affirmation.

Think positive. Stay negative.

18 comments:

  1. i like the last line the most. :)

    congratulations? haha

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  2. healing is a matter of time.. sometimes we will receive healing at a particular time and place..

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  3. Kinda makes you happy to be alive, doesn't it?

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  4. congrats for being negative

    may iniinom ka bang vitamins?baka kaya ka nagkakasakit kasi mahina resistensya mo dahil sa stress..remember, hindi porke relax ang work load ibig sabihin wala nang stress

    try vitamins with zinc, b complex, and c...pampalakas nang resistensya yan..ang vit e and a naman, magandang antioxidants..

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  5. We need to be strong in order for us to make what our hearts asking, and healing is a process!

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  6. eat plenty of dahon ng malunggay, and drink lots of buco juice, too! :)

    --anon75

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  7. kinabahan naman ako sa post mo i thought u'll be positive!im dying with anticipation!

    thank god ur negative!

    ako negative din kasi we did some test prior to going abroad,so un ingat nalang tau,mas matured na tayo now,much wiser.hehe

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  8. congrats

    knew the feeling. not exactly good. talagang kakabahan ka and you'll feel this instant regret that a few minutes or hours of lust could've done this.

    im getting a few friends to get themselves tested

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  9. congrats! am really happy for you.

    i know two poz peeps and though they're doing well (the two of them are among the few people i know who really live up their life), having it can be a terrible downer. and yes, those anxiety attacks when ur still not in the clear are the stuff of nightmares.

    kaya be careful na from now on. =)

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  10. choices.... and better choices... ;)

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  11. no ordinary post either ...

    pati ako kinabahan ...

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  12. How many more items to take off the list?

    -travailer

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  13. @ash: yep, congrats talaga :)

    @paci: will keep that in mind. i guess i really just have to wait.

    @rudeboy: yep, happy to be alive, not exactly healthy but alive nonetheless.

    @erick: hehe, andami namang vitamins. i do take centrum, vit c and b-complex though.

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  14. @tim: but why is that process taking too long? :(

    @anon75: eek, ayoko pa naman ng malunggay ;P

    @mac: here's to nurses! :) yes, we need to stay negative. after the scare, dapat lang maging wiser...

    @engel: let's! :)

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  15. @pessimistic: and now i deal witht he trauma. but all the same, better this than be positive. keep on with what you;re doing! people really need to be reminded over and over again...

    @karla: here's hoping your friends do well! we really have to be careful. better choices!

    @chingoy: yep yep :)

    @badette: hay, basta happy that i turned out negative :)

    @travailer: list of probable illness, will be doing another consult soon. list of things done for the year, still a handful :)

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  16. i could feel the stress too as i was reading. congrats on being negative. i'm soo happy you're okay.

    let's all remember to be safe and careful. :D

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