I’m awaiting delivery of my next two weeks’ worth of medications with a major change in the blister packs. Gone will be Norvir, Prezista, Truvada and Nevirapine, all taken twice a day, and they’re being replaced with ONE pill, Genvoya, ONCE a day containing 4 new-to-me drugs in combination.
What a relief, other pills continuing for diabetes, cholesterol, etc., notwithstanding.
Genotyping revealed I am resistant to NOTHING.
I was on my way for a hair-cut this morning when, at the corner of Sherbourne and Gerrard Streets, I momentarily took flight. Picture Peter Pan on his worst day. While still airborne I thought of Craig, of the 24th of April, 2007. But I was still conscious. I managed to land without breaking my wrist, as had happened in 2003 when I was struck by a cab. I rolled to the sidewalk on my rain parka and didn’t damage my femur,as I had in the same incident. Still thinking of Craig, but recognizing that my head was working, I yelled.
A man dragged me to the steps of the pharmacy and applied an oversized gauze bandage to the right side of my forehead. A nurse practitioner on her way to Mount Sinai Hospital on her bicycle rushed to our side. 9-1-1 was called by a female by-stander. The n-p took my pulse (100). The pharmacist came out and, with the others, helped me into a chair in the lobby of his business.
I laughed when I was asked if I was on any medication. I widgeted out a used blister-pack from my jacket which had labels of all my meds taped to the cover. (Medic-Alert in long form.)
The ambulance arrived, siren silent, and the interviews began anew. Had I eaten? Had I checked my blood sugar (it was now a whopping 24.3!) Where was I going? Day and date? A pain inventory was taken. My head, yes. Skinned knuckles, yes. A bloody knee under torn jeans. My civilian helpers said their goodbyes as the ambulance attendants strapped me into a chair in the back and rode off, again sirens quiet, traffic lights being obeyed like all the other morning rush hour chumps. This underlined how lucky I was.
Another indication that I was a low-priority arrival came as I waited to be seen by a doctor. It was not, notes this enthusiastic lover of Canada’s health system, an unreasonable wait.
I was given a couple of extra-strength Tylenols, when offered, and a tetanus shot was administered (“cuz you never know what was on that sidewalk”.) The attending physician, the son I never had, repeated all the interview questions and examined me from head to rolled up jeans, dabbed my head with a combination disinfect and adhesive.
“So I’m good to go?”
“Yes, pay attention to any lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea – but I think you’ll be fine.”
With the help of two of my own Tylenol-2s I have been.
Grateful. But thinking of Craig.
And I walked to get my hair-cut.
I Googled my name today, for the hell of it, and came across this article I wrote for the June, 1986 edition of “The Body Politic”, Pink Triangle Press’s forerunner to Xtra! I was up to my arm-pits involved in this using the pseudonym David Coleman to disguise myself to my employer, CKTB, and talk-show host John Michael, the defendants in this case!
Usually no fan of John Michael, for some reason I was listening the morning he started going on an anti-gay, anti-AIDS tirade. I had the presence of mind to slap a cassette tape into my landlord’s radio-tape deck. That tape, and the formal copy provided by the radio station later, was the basis of the case to the CRTC.
I wrote the letter to the CRTC, inserting transcribed comments which I thought would carry the greatest weight. These were exciting times. Warren Hartman and I worked hard, me speaking as David Coleman and Warren as his out, proud, gay old self! Now don’t get me wrong. I was out at work, and so I’m sure there were suspicions I was involved, but I couldn’t use my real name and plot against my employer, now could I? It wasn’t so much of being in any closet of my construct as much as it was muck-raking anonymously. I was to use the pseudonym a few more times before leaving St. Catharines.
This coming Thursday I am having a number of teeth and partial teeth extracted as my mouth make-over goes into high gear (This is the work that is more typically done by the fifth year of one’s sobriety but, as I didn’t think I’d live long enough to bother, I’ve waited until the tenth.) Yesh to life, as it were.
I am reminded of an occasion several years ago when I had both of my front teeth extracted. I distinctly remember going to see Les Miserables on stage with my friend William sans teeth and under the influence of a couple of Tylenol 3s.
No such plans this Thursday evening. Perhaps I’ll rent the forgettable film version of Les Mis.
It is a measure of self-compassion on this Bell Let’s Talk Day when I can slow down and remind myself of where I am and where I’ve come from.
I have a long history of, and recovery from, substance abuse – chiefly, but not solely, alcohol – begun shortly after a period of sexual abuse in my adolescence – which followed an elementary school teacher experience with hell.
Since I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1989 I have been treated for depression, and later bipolar II which is treated with medications and talk therapy.
I have been through a lot but I’m always gratified to hear of other people’s struggles on days like this.