I suspect it’s possible, if you work at it, for some of us poz guys to ignore the impact of HIV on our lives. That’s particularly so if the incessant pill-taking becomes routine and we’re not plagued with side effects. Yesterday’s clinic day was not one of those days.
I was in Toronto for my quarterly appointment at St Mikes. Where I got the good news that my CD4 is the highest in fifteen years (681) and my viral load remains undetectable.
But I wasn’t a particularly happy camper. Grouchy even, not feeling christmassy at all. My encounters with the medical establishment are often smooth and efficient, sometimes less so. Yesterday was less so. A two and a half hour round of waiting (lots of it), form filling, doctors, nurses, blood work, consulting with the pharmacist - it went on and on - saw to that.
So I come home to relax, to forget all that. But I’m my own worst enemy. Rather than leading a “normal” life, I choose to immerse myself in a lot of HIV-related work. Which work, like participating in this campaign, I enjoy, but it subverts attempts to establish an identity free of HIV, which would be kind of nice, albeit somewhat unrealistic.
In any event, ’tis the holiday season, definitely a time when for me at least my thoughts are elsewhere, as I celebrate with my chosen families. The guys at www.HIVStigma.com - evil taskmasters that they are (LOL) - want us to keep blogging over the holidays. No fun. Holidays are for getting presents you never knew you wanted, overeating and trying to keep the dogs from tearing up the christmas tree. Not yacking about stigma. Not yacking about HIV.
But I’m happy to keep blogging about less serious topics for a change. And none more important than sending out a few seasonal shouts.
Greetings to James, Steve, Jason - the behind-the-scenes peeps at www.HIVStigma.com who have been a joy to work with these last few months. And greetings too to Michele, the lovely and talented creative person behind all this.
Greetings to my fellow facilitators - Gaston, Murray, Brian, David, Nik, Tim, Vijay - well done guys, keep up the good work. It continues to be a great learning experience working with you. Happy holidays! You’ve earned them.
And most importantly, happy holidays to all those who’ve visited this web site, especially those who’ve contributed to the discussions here. Grab yourself a stigma-free holiday season if you possibly can.
I’ll leave you with a holiday photo of our stigma-free basset hound Dudley, who is way more fun-loving than he looks here. Dudley hates me for getting him dressed up, but he nevertheless joins me in wishing all of you the best of the season. Happy holidays, everyone!