Drifting Through The Wind

Quite honestly, if someone ask how am I doing?

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through winds, wanting to start again?

Not sure if am still on my quarter-life crisis. But literally lost. Like I don’t know what to do and I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Not happy with work and planning to resign soon. Not getting any younger and it suck to find a new niche and restart my professional being. Workmates are really fucking shit and it is getting worse day after day. With travel, the excitement is declining, staying most of the time in my room and not going out. Getting anxious in meeting new people and setting like a hermit crab hiding from civilization. Nothing good is happening, aside from the favorable viral test results, which of course I am thankful for.

They kept saying to think positvely. Well, not everyone can easily do that. Especially to a person who lost the desire to feel anything. I guess this is really depression kicking in.
I heard that you can set your passion as a guide if you were lost of some shit, having to quit photography, I have now the urge the come back and somewhat pursue it on a low level. Trying to restart again. Baby step reboot as I call it. I’m even thinking of relocating.

Currently, I’m in the same exact spot last year when I felt the same thing. Found this (a hot sauce container just nailed it)

Maybe it’s nevet too late to begin again. Perhaps the question is how. There’s always the feeling of regret. But it won’t do anything now. Keep moving forward and keep finding what will make me (us, you) happy.

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Anniversary Feels

There are 3 instances where you’re being reminded of your HIV status.

1. When you take your scheduled medicines and ARVs
2. When you are to date someone
3. When you take your scheduled tests, CD4/VL etc

My anniversary test is every July. Going to my treatment hub is somewhat an anxious experience knowing how gruesome the day will be. The previous years, one must allot the whole day for this activity. From going there, blood extraction, medicine refill, consultation and waiting game, it usually takes 8-9 hours. Now, RITM-ARG has somewhat streamlined some of their processes and shorten it by 5-6 hours.

This cat kept me entertained

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Upon arrival, it was 6am. I’m already the 20th queue. It will be then filtered and sorted to who will be doing their anniv tests, consultation or what not. I got narrowed down to 9th queue. Had my blood extracted, took early lunch and did the waiting game. The new process has improved a lot but there are still loopholes to address to such as turn around time and organizing points of movement. E.g: all activities should be done in one point, blood extraction/ppd/Philhealth verification/booklet. If not in one place, it should be close on proximity. You can’t really go from one place to the other end of the hospital complex. You’re already in the blood extraction room, then why go to the pharmacy just to get a syringe and return back to fall in line again. PPD syringes or any other needed equipment should be in one place. But overall, still they improved.

The day started at

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And ended at, that’s 8 hours. ­čś┤­čś¬

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This year’s experience was ok. Waiting for too long isn’t really my cup of tea. It makesme irritated and agitated. Viral load results are now sent via email, so I can’t wait to receive mine. It’s my 2nd viral load test of my 6th year stint. Not really expecting good results but rather wishing some favorable numbers.

Love in the Time of Diarrhea

Not unknown to RITM-ARG patients about the empowerment training they conduct to recently diagnosed patients. It gives you some psychological activities to help you with your diagnosis. Similar to a counselling activity but on a much conducive way. You are pooled to join a single weekend-long activity, thus the probability of meeting new friends is very likely.

I once dated a guy from the only empowerment activity I attended to. It wasn’t really a planned dating scheme, we were both vulnerable that time.

His CD4 count was way low, a single digit count. Can be considered an AIDS case. He was on Azithromycin and Co-Trimaxazole prophylaxis, got rashes all over, pretty much an overly obvious HIV patient. He, that time, has an ongoing opportunistic infection that causes diarrhea. Long term diarrhea. He mentioned he has it for like 6 months, and coz of that, he was very thin, sick looking guy. His case didn’t really bother me in dating him.

He showed me a some of his photos. A big difference of what he was before and the time he’s suffering from that diarrhea.

Just like any other dates, it was a normal one. There’s no wall between us that I’m a healthy HIV patient and he’s not. We go out mostly on weekends, went to some gay parties, met some of his friends, he met some of mine. I even brought him home to sleep over – which I rarely do to a guy.

Eventually everything starts to slow down. He was a bum that time, got no work. He’s unable to get a job due to his ongoing sickness and he only depends on how much his family can give him. So meeting up with him on a weekly basis starts to decline. If we ever do meet, the price for me is really expensive since I have to shoulder him.

I encourage and put my efforts on helping him land a job. I even tried referring him to my company that time. But his persistency is not as high as I want him to have a job. It wasn’t for us, but it was for him.

His attitude slowly came up as being immature and we always had fights and weird arguements. We manage to survive a couple more months but it became unhealthy.

I then decided to call it quits. I need to let go of the struggle and loosen the bottleneck. I know it will be healthier for us and maybe he can concentrate further on improving his health. We ended up quarreling before ending it up.

Years after, he added me up on Facebook trying to stay in touch. His health has improved a lot and cured from his OI. We lost contact after.

Now, I tried looking for profile and saw he’s gone out working in a different country. He’s happy with his boyfriend, got a new car, looks healthy andof course no more diarrhea.

I know I made the right choice calling our so called “dating” quits. He stood back up on his feet, rebuilt his health and now successful and happy. Definitely no regrets, I’m actually happy for him. I remember those days where he rushes to the toilet.

#Grindr Problems

Every gay person on this planet prolly has Grindr. If not all, maybe 90%. From cruising singles to kinky dissatisfied┬ácouples, it’s an avenue to meet others in a least conventional way.

Seeing in different perspectives, from normal gay guys to PLHIV’s. I don’t really equate PLHIV as “not normal” beings but rather I want to imply that there are instances specific to us that may or may not be experienced the by lesser evils.

Yes, we are on using Grindr. But for what? Hookups, meetups, just to kill time while chatting and if it comes to that — relationships. Ok, given these reasons, what’s next? That’s the story here.

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First
Human Instinct

need for human instinct

Us PLHIV’s also have the need for human instinct. Sex.

Disclaimer
As long as you are responsible enough, doing it safe and knows how to do it in accordance to the unwritten rules, then I think it’s fine.

You met this guy online. The perfect time and place. You’re both into each other and decided to get into action. Everything went fine and you expect another session of this sooner or later and you eventually found out, you’re both PLHIV’s? Surprise, you have something in common! What happens next? I don’t know, it’s up to you. You can be BFFs (best fucking friends) or go up a notch.

The question is, how in the world you know that he’s also one and he know that you are also one. There are many ways but perhaps there are 2 ways. You saw his medication on the table (just shows how lousy your sex partner is) or at the end of your steaming action, there were this hunch and sense. Pretty awkward.

Second
Lost opportunity

A lost opportunity

There are times when you’re desperate, lonely and empty.
And for us PLHIV’s, it’s quite hard to look for a date. Not all are willing to date someone who has HIV (but thank you Analise #HTGAWM for showing the world it’s possible)
Suddenly opened your Grindr, met this cute hot nice guy. Emphasis on “cute hot and nice”. Had sex and you think you are very compatible. Your mind overcome this notion that this is not just good sex, a cute hot guy is so nice like a prince charming, like a one in a million catch in the Pacific ocean?

Now you start to get anxious of how well this will go. You know that this is something and finally he asked you for a movie date? Sounds cliche but it happens. The bad part is, you initially had sex. You plan to disclose your status in the long run but since you are anxious enough if what will happen, it branches out of whether he might get mad for you not telling him right away, trust issue, rejection, yada yada.. and you decided to just disappear. Out of the blue. Like a meteorite entering in to Earth’s atmosphere, slowly burning and disappearing to a meteor. Waiting for another hundred years for another asteroid. Now this experience added to your existing emotional burden. A lost opportunity.

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Third
Condemned AF

it would have gone out far

I know this somehow applies to all of us.

There’s this cute guy in Grindr you’ve been lurking for days. Finally sends you a message, asking you to meet and have coffee or something. He’s cute, he acts nice. The first date was great and you decided to do it again. he got your trust and eventually you spill the beans. The beautiful world of unicorns and pancakes tumbled down. He’s grossed out, he thinks you’re a filthy animal because you have HIV, he dislikes you, looked at you from head to toe. Then there goes your heart ache. Not because you expected something, but the shame you got. The regret of getting this lifetime gift re-surged. Thinking if only I don’t have this, it would have gone out far.

What does these mean? If it ain’t easy for you, what more for us? Always keep it safe.

Yes, With Reservations

I’m not really a socially active person. I hardly meet other guys through common friends, going to clubs or bars nor even approach one at a coffeeshop. Instead, I rely heavily on social media apps. Grindr, Jack’d and even on athetic Tinder Plus (emphasize on plus subscription). Though I’m not also active when in comes to initiating a conversation. I just wait for someone to message me first. That’s how relentlessly introvert The Chemistry Guy is.

I met this guy on Grindr who lives pretty near our house. Like 3 blocks away. The basic shit of talking on gay apps such as how am I doing, where am I located, what am I up too and stuff like that. It came to a point that he invited me to his house. I didn’t refuse. Why not? He’s near me and like 5 minutes walk away.

We met outside his gate. We went in to his porch, he smoked a stick of cigarette. Introduced each other in an awkward way. At this point, am not really expecting something. I set my mind him not liking me. But as seconds came by, he invited me to his room.

Ok, there must me something. A progress.

And there it goes. We only made out, no penetrative action nor unsafe acts. Just 2 guys deprived from sensual links.

I like you

An explicit word for me. Scary beacause of — why and how?.

You’re sensible and smart. You’re tall. I like your eyes and you have clean feet.

End of the road for me. In all fairness, he looks good, he’s tall as well, mature enough and well established. The only down draft is, he’s drug dependent. He kept telling me stories of how he become a drug user. His depressive side and how he is strugling with it. Seems like he knows me for a very long time telling me personal stories like these.

The day has gone. Another week has passed. He then messaged me again in Grindr, asking if I can drop by again. I did and same as last, made out like hell. He does it pretty intense. Still, no penetrative actions. On the safe side. I know this responsibility I am holding onto.

He asked if we can have dinner, go to the movies and even asked if he can drop by the office to fetch me. I know this is already something. On the third meet up,

Do you see ourselves being together. Like partners? What are we now?

Uh, I don’t know. As far as what we are doing is concerned, we are like friends with benefits? He then again asked, do you like me?

Uh. At the back of my head, I want to definitely say yes. But the way we first met, I know it was an intimate moment so am quite apprehensive that he might reject me if I disclose my status. I don’t want to destroy his professional career and his established plans.. so I answered..

Yes. But with reservations.

Of course not verbatim. But you know what I mean. I already set up a wall. Barricaded myself of the potential rejection that I may partake. Besides, he’s like a mushroom that shrooms once in a while. I always see him online and it’s his first time to be on the online gay dating world. He maybe still curious of what it can offer.

I shrugged and let it go. Perhaps we will be just friends. Please, teach me how to deal with these kinds of meet up.

How To Get Away With HIV

This post is really about dating.

I’m watching a fairly new TV show, How To Get Away with Murder. After the first episode, it got me hooked up. I just learned about this like a couple of weeks ago, I’m not really into court drama thing but this one really hit me.

US TV series these days feature more gay/lesbian relationships, on-screen kissing and make out of the same gender. Which makes it more open minded and rather educating the audience more on how equal all of us can be.

But what really cuffed me are these characters named Connor and Oliver. Connor, a very good looking law intern this IT-nerd guy, Oliver at a bar and used him to gain information on a case he’s working with. They now constantly seeing each other favoring Connor. Oliver had a thought of them being partners, ditched by Connor, Oliver hooked up as he was hear-broken from Connor, they went back to dating. They took it to a higher note, both had tested for HIV, Connor being negative, Oliver as positive. Connor now is guilty since he thinks he’s the reason for all of this, yada yada yada.

Basically, it’s all very timely. Their story line make me excited. I guess, you have to try and watch it, you’ll appreciate it more.

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Which brings me to these questions.

For those PLHIV’s:

1. How do you assert someone, a potential date or partner, regarding your HIV status?
2. How do you respond to certain actions once you told them?

For those who’s non-seroconverts:

1. How do you react or return to someone one’s he surrendered his status?

I haven’t dated for a while, like almost a decade. No nothing, some meetups, hook ups, flings and flirts. But nothing serious. I see 3 reasons here: 1. My ultimate sheepishness/self-conscious/diffident demeanor 2. Perhaps being choosy and 3. Being HIV positive. I have addressed my choosyness, trying to correct my self-esteem but unable to secure my sero status.

To be honest, I almost have all dating apps on my phone. Grindr, Jack’d, Hornet, PlanetRomeo and Tinder Plus (lol). I’m not really a fan favorite, I just try to talk to those who initially message me first, which is like less than the number of endangered Rhinos in the wild. It makes me think to just stop using them.

For now, the main reason of me being apprehensive is because of the sero status. I picture myself in the situation where I have to reveal my sero status and my potential date rejects it. That’s always a case. Perhaps it is time to share some of the “encounters”.

To answer the questions above,

1. How do you assert someone, a potential date or partner, regarding your HIV status?

I just can’t. First, I don’t have a potential date to tell to. Second, I automatically fear rejection. I stay away from it.

2. How do you respond to certain actions once you told them?

I really don’t know, I haven’t been there. But If I do get rejected, it’s like shooting a 3-barrel shotgun through my chest.

We Can’t Stop

It has been 4 (four) months since my last post. Pardon me for not really keeping up. I was busy for the last months or should I say I tend to slouch so much due to my ample time but decides to procrastinate more. Blogging was out of the way.

Let me regain the momentum and start if off with my anniversary blood test (RITM-ARG July 11, 2014). It was a routinary day, after work I then gush my way to Alabang. Good thing, a good friend of mine was also scheduled that day. No awkward and dull moments. An hour has passed, I arrived RITM and met my friend. The ARG entrance was packed with other patients, this was one unusual thing. It seems to be that they newly implemented a new security pact wherein no outsiders can enter the premises without permission. Makes sense to me, but everything went downhill when more and more “scheduled” patients flocked the entrance gate. The security’s new measure was a total disaster, it is already 8am and we were supposed to be at the clinic by this time having out blood extracted before cutoff time.

The crowd and system were at chaos, it seems the newly implemented security measure was half-baked and wasn’t even risk managed. This new measure made the existing poor process more uneventful. Stacking our patience up, (OH I STILL HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD – capslocked for emphasis) they let us in and queues were called. I’m up for queue 11, not bad. I also notice how patient volume has gone down as compared before.

Blood tests done, xray done, PPD done, I didn’t submit specimen for the rest, that’s my routine. Important things to know are CD4, Viral Load, CBC, cholesterol level.

The most exciting, excruciating, agonizing and torturous part of the day has come. The waiting time. Yes, from what I heard, unlike the other hubs, you can wait for your results. You just have to shell out a lot of patience, time and all the past time that you can spare. Go eat to the cafeteria, strut your way from the grassy lands to the nearby mall or just sit under a tree shade and watch people pass by. I prefer the latter, it really keeps me entertained.

Capture11

Had a chitchat and bunch of catch up with my good friend, (@kerouacPOZ). Also saw some familiar faces, 3 cute guys, one of which I was able to locate in Facebook. Endured the heat of the day. Oh, did mention how I STILL HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD?

I decided not to take the consultation as it will eat a big chunk of my time. By 1PM PST, I just wanted to go home. Take a shower and rest. Around 230PM PST, results were out and those waiting for the results, just to see the numbers, were called out. I got mine and I’m totally happy with it. BUT STILL, I HATE THAT SECURITY GUARD.

My new CD4 as of July 11, 2014 is 720 up by 207 units. A record breaking feat. The highest among the rest. It is a fluctuating trend. I’ll try to update on the next blog entry what I did so you out there can have an increase too.

***Wondering why “We Can’t Stop”? When 4 vials of blood were being extracted, Miley Cyrus did her thang. OH, I remember that medical staff who wears eyeglasses. ***