Going Gentle

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


So, there's news. I've not been brilliantly well lately - I've been off work for about three weeks so far, which kind of bites when you're freelance, but it's giving me the excuse to start a career change I've wanted for some time. I'm still not over the sinus problems; many rounds of antibiotics and it's just not shifted, so I'm on a raft of tablets every morning. So, when my result came back as CD4 at 365 and VL at 25,500 and my doctor said it might be time, I was inclined to agree with him. So, on June the eleventh, I will be going to the Start Clinic to get started on medication. As a bit of a precautionary measure, I've booked myself in to see a psychologist to talk through some of the issues I have about self-image and that feeling of being a risk to my boyfriend and the like as well as to talk through adjusting to being on medication.

I'm getting an enormous amount of support at the moment. My boyfriend is amazing, my friends are all wonderfully caring and I'm always really pleased with how kind the people at the clinic and also at acupuncture are with me. I don't think I'm going to face any enormous trouble starting on medication, but not being able to go back to the job I wanted to leave anyway is going to pose some interesting challenges of its own.

It sounds like I'm going to be getting the common or garden combination therapy. I'm hoping it won't make me totally loopy, but if it does, it's not the end of the world.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

That Chat

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I went for the chat with the doctor - as always, it was more of a laugh than anything else. I've a feeling I've met him outside of a clinical setting at some point but I don't think I've slept with him or anything. I talked about the slightly vague cluster of infections I've had in the last few months and he said I should try a two-week course of antibiotics in case it was an infection in my sinuses that normal antibiotics wouldn't treat and would explain the illnesses I've had. If that didn't clear things up, I will come back at the end of March and he and I will have another chat.

The antibiotics have been and gone and now I've a couple of weeks to wait before I see him again. I have had a few thoughts since the appointment though:

* Thinking I was about to start on meds meant that there would be something tangible to all this, which was oddly reassuring as a prospect.
* Being in a serodiscordant relationship meant that, however consciously, I'd been thinking about that report that said you're less infectious on medication and would want to know I was doing all I could to be less poisonous.
* Numbers appeal to some kind of autistic tic in me where I think if I can see patterns and find logic, then I have less to fear, but I think the unpredictability of it all just seems to be playing into these neuroses.

With that in mind, when I go and see him again, I'll have a chat about my general health and hopefully I won't have had some weird infection ruin my insides in the meantime and I think I'm going to ask them to stop giving me my test results. Instead, I'll stick with the quarterly chats with the nurse who takes my blood and an annual chat with a doctor and I'll tell them that they should only get in touch with me after a blood test if there's something I need to do.

We'll see. Perhaps I need to think about it less.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Dear Going Gentle,

Hope things are going well with you.

Your blood results from 7/2/08 were fine. They show that starting HIV treatment can be delayed for the time being as your count is above 350.

The CD4 count was 433 and the viral load was 17273 indicating low viral activity.

I would advise you to keep your appointment with Dr McAids next week to discuss these latest results and where to go from here.


Dr Death

Your Friendly Local Clinic for HIV and Sexual Health

Names changed to cast a vague haze of anonymity over the whole thing. It's an odd spanner in the works. I'd been expecting the result to be like my last 2, hovering around the mark where I'd need to talk about starting treatment. Now, I'm not so sure. It's a tricky one - do I keep playing this lucky numbers game or do I think about how my health has been as more of a barometer? I've been ill quite a lot this last six months with various niggling and not so niggling infections and now I just don't know. Well, I'm still seeing the doctor on Monday, I guess we'll have a serious talk then. I guess I'd kind of been so prepared for my system to be in freefall, having a healthier result's a bit of a surprise.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Medication, woah medication!

It's starting to look like medication is, in fact, what I need. Hmm, maybe the comparison to Roy Castle isn't so good - look where his dedication got him.

I went to the clinic last night to get my bloods done, same as always, and I had a chat to the guy there about it - I've been iller this last six months than I think I can ever remember being. I'm a one-man MRSA factory, too, because I've had about five or six courses of antibiotics in as many months. He seemed to think I was right to bring it up - my last couple of results are in the range where it's worth starting to think about it, but if I'm feeling unwell, then it's a good time to make a start on medication.

Pretty much everyone I've talked to about it has found very few ill effects with their medication - especially people who've started recently, so I'm not worried so much about that; I'd just like to be able to feel well most of the time rather than some of the time and I'd like to know I was that little bit less infectious.

I'm going back in about 10 days to talk to a doctor about which combination is likely to suit me best. Until then I'm going to try not to think about it too much.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Healthy Living

I think the low CD4 counts of the last year are starting to be reflected in my overall health. I'm just finished on yet another course of antibiotics for an infection. After all the chest infections, throat infections, upper respiratory tract infections, sinus infections and the like I've had this last year, I've just had an ear infection that took me completely by surprise and managed to burst my eardrum.

Antibiotics have helped and it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it did. I'm waiting for my hearing to come back, which is happening all too slowly so far, but in the meantime it's kind of floored me, making me think that this might, in fact, be a reflection of my deteriorating health.

I've got more blood tests in a couple of weeks, along with audiology and the rest. I guess it has to happen at some point that I start on medication; I'm starting to wonder if I'd rather get it done now before any other lasting damage is done... it's a bit annoying.