Goals for 2017

It’s been a while since my last blog post. I’m not really running out of ideas but rather having inconsistencies when it come to creating one, and this 2017, one of my goals is to at least post once a month. Along with this, I have primary goals for this year. One is to acquire a skills certification, I’m still deciding yet what certification course to take. I’m already eyeing some IT certification classes like ITIL or Project Management. There’s also a possibility to take Quality Assurance, anything related to ISO practices and even passing a Civil Service examination. Honestly, at this point in time, I’m still in the middle of a quarter-life crisis and pretty malleable¬†where to go. But for now, my aim is to improve and widen my skill set to help me achieve my long term goals.

Travel more and further is another goal for this year. I’m starting to scrap the non-essential things to spend like weekly hanging out, dinner, movie, Starbucks and what not. I also started to save using a piggy bank to effectively save for a year end travel. If not plausible, by 2018. I’m also trying to complete all ASEAN countries, only 3 more to go – Myanmar, Laos and Brunei. Not a priority but an achievement if I can make it. Maybe I can also share some of my travel experiences here? (I know there’s a lot to say lol).

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Fourth is of course maintaining my well being. The golden rule of PLHIV is to take care of themselves and the least thing I can do is take my medications religiously. MY target is to aim for 100% adherence and maintain my undetectable viral load status. Practice safe sex is still a priority. It doesn’t mean I can go wild and rowdy with this undetectable status. So please, take care of yours too. We don’t want to go the hospital asking the doctor to remove a growing cauliflower in your butthole or be tested positive in Herpes or Chlamydia and die. Improving my aesthetic part is also in progress.

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Fifth, improve and boost my mental health. Not that I’m crazy or Schizophrenic, but rather to alleviate the depression I’m going through. Lessening the burdens one at a time. I know it may take a while but I have been in constant effort of doing so. In line with this, seeking improvements in my self esteem. Reducing the need to be social anxious. Try getting new sets of friends,but of course, by choosing them wisely. I’m not getting any younger.

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Lastly, maybe stay committed to achieve these. No one can really help but myself. I know it will be hard but I’d rather try. I have given up and I think another chance has been bestowed. SO why not.

How about you, do you have goals for this year? Write it down and let me know, maybe we can share some ways on how to achieve it.

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. ūüėīūüė™

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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.

#Grindr Problems

Every gay person on this planet prolly has Grindr. If not all, maybe 90%. From cruising singles to kinky dissatisfied¬†couples, 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.

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.

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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. ***

While Playing Flappy Bird

As of this moment Wednesday-March 5th, I am here in RITM-ARG. Will be having a medicine refill and set my next CD4 schedule. My queue is 22nd and while waiting for number to be called, am trying to observe the people around. I immediately saw 2 cute guys. One is infront of me, wearing a cap amd seem a bit aloof while the other at the ARG door, wearing a blue long sleeved polo.

The moment my feet stepped the 3rd floor, everyone’s looking at me. Very fucking awkward. I hate this feeling. I just wanna get me medicines, go home and eat breakfast.

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The queue is slowly pacing up and while waiting for my turn, I am fucking playing this fucking flappy fucking retarded bird.

Holy bejeezus, that blue long sleeved guy at the door is adorably cute. I can’t stop looking at him. — oh my, he just passed by. No more eye candy. Whoever you are, in another life, I will be your half.

Ten Things From Dallas Buyers Club

The Oscar season is up again. This is the time where I watch all possible movies nominated in the “Best Picture” category and some other “Bests” as well.

One of them is Dallas Buyers Club, the plot revolves around the onset HIV pandemic during the late 1980’s. No, I won’t tell the storyline or be a spoiler.

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Ten things you may learn after watching Dallas Buyers Club

1. Death is inevitable, you just prolong it. If it is your time, then it is your time. “Dare to Live”.
2. This era is a lucky one, where there are more than a handful of medications to choose from.
3. Appreciate what you have.
4. HIV is not just about being a gay man, but it is for everybody.
5. People can still love you after all.
6. Take chances, the only regret you’ll make is not giving it a try.
7. Break the rules, I mean get out of the comfort zone. This is where all the magic begins.
8. Don’t be a homophobe. Period.
9. Let go of the past. It happens for reason.
10. HIV is not a death sentence.

Great job Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto (this one’s a hot guy).

Anniversary Blood Work

July is my official anniversary month. July 2010 was the start month of my ARV’s, 5 months after the confirmatory test.

I got out from the office at 6 AM, just in time for RITM-ARG’s cutoff time for CD4 test. I arrived at the newly relocated ARG clinic around 7 in the morning and the queue was already long. I was 18th on the line, there were like around 20 or 30 the most patients in line for test.¬†

ARG clinic is now located at 3rd floor of the same building. I think they went upstairs to accommodate the growing number of patients which was like being in a can of sardines when it was located downstairs. The new location is quite spacious, bright and well lit due to overlooking windows, this is great as patients can feel more relaxed. But, the lounge is not that comfy. Dark and heat-intense. I’d suggest they provision some fans along side the sofas and chairs. Nonetheless, it’s good.

By the way, I had a dream where I was falling in line to get my queue in ARG several months back. I think it’s deja vu.

As the line was being processed, I can’t help myself but to observe the patients – this is how I spend time waiting. Saw a few cute guys, there’s one who’s wearing eye glasses (Rudy Project, which adds to his cuteness) chinky and looks neat and clean. Totally my type, too bad, he’s with his partner. I don’t know, but am a magnet of partnered guys.

I was so anxious and wanted to be called as soon as possible as I went on fasting for 10 hours and was totally hungry. I got a bit irritated with the Rad Tech not calling my code. i went to ask her I my number was called and she horrendously scolded at me. I just said sarcastically, “How can I hear you calling me when I’m inside the other room where my blood is being extracted?”. I got inside to have my chest XRAY, she was now nicer and I forgave her.

I took my lunch with someone whom I sat beside with when waiting for the CD4 queue. He’s new and did his first set of tests. He was nice enough, but conversation wasn’t spontaneous so I decided to leave him. I hate awkward moments.

After lunch I went to the new waiting lounge for those who will have their check up. It’s beside the dog bite section, if am not mistaken. I arrived at the time where the guys and this PhilHealth officer are having chit chats and having some question and answer discussion. I most of the guys in the lounge were new. Kept quiet and listening to their open group discussion. Then came this guy, the macho-tattooed-happy-and-gay guy, I should say one of the cute that I saw but just so-so. He’s tattooed, somehow a gym guy… but like a sponge. Happy and gay. You know what I mean. The lounge turned into a mini comedy bar where this tattooed guy starts to make fun of the other guys – of course it was only meant for entertainment purposes. Things went lighter as time passes. I should say, this guy is hot if only he could be a power top – to my disappointment, he’s more than a power bottom. Oh chances.

As the time passes, so as the numbers being called. Others already went home. Around 2PM, my number was called for the check up. Checked my stats and went to the doctor to get me checked. The doctor prescribed Isoniazid, 6 months, for prophylaxis against Tubercolosis. Maybe I won’t do it.¬†

After the check up, I went back to the lounge to part ways. The tattooed guy asked for number and I went home along with some guys who are along the way. It was a good experience despite the hunger, irritation and lack of sleep.

 

Here are my stats:

CD: 740

Hemoglobin: normal (no longer anemic)

Weight: maintained at 73kg (5’10 height proportion)

PPD: normal, no swelling after couple of hours/days

Sputum test: skipped, I never liked this test. Ever.

Overall: 9/10