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.

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.


Ken Monteith said...

Before getting too excited by the reports of the undetectability and transmission as outlined in the new Swiss guidelines, might I suggest that you go to the CATIE website (www.catie.ca) and check out their CATIE-News item on the subject (Swiss Guidelines Take a Troubling Turn).

I totally understand the idea of feeling toxic and wanting to do everything to avoid infecting a partner, but I tend to come don on the side of treatment being about YOUR quality of life first and not your partner's. I encourage you to make the decision that's right for you, which, yes, can include considerations about protecting your partner, but shouldn't be limited to that.

Mark said...

Dr McAids' antibiotics suggestion is good. I have kept on taking prophylactic antibiotics, long after they ceased to be a necessary part of my HIV care, because I find that they have left me immune to the regular (three or four times a year) sinus infections that have plagued me all my life. At getting on for fifty, it is strange to think that I am only now learning what a normal cold feels like (and just how impotent it actually is when it isn't a overture to weeks of fluorescent snot).

I wish I could tell you that starting treatment would take away all those little bothersome thoughts about every little sniffle that comes along, but I can't. All that happens is that you start worrying that every little sniffle, or new treatment side-effect, is a sign of your treatment failing. It is just one of those psychological aspects of living with HIV that you will never shake off. Physically you can be fit as a fiddle, but mentally it will always be there waiting for the slightest opportunity to invade your thoughts .. and, when it does get in there, the best way to deal with it is to ask the question out loud.