I am sick of being sick!
Even though my numbers are pretty good I still seem to catch every virus that crosses my path… Add the side effects of my medication and you have one seriously miserable human being!
With three school-aged children it’s hard to avoid germ exposure. Even though I am a self-proclaimed germaphobe I cannot seem to pass this trait on to my children so they bring all kinds of good stuff home to mommy. Since they are older and mostly self-sufficient I avoid them like the plague when they are sick. I do my mommy duties but at a good distance. Medication time? I’ll leave it on the counter for them. I make contact for a quick hug, pat on the back, fever check. Hand washing and germ-x are my passion! I can’t stand people who don’t cover their mouths when they cough! I have a deep hatred of hand dryers and door knobs! I won’t use a public restroom unless I am about to explode! I should be a practically germ-free zone, yet I feel like I am ALWAYS sick!!!!
My first time to be slapped in the face by my newly weakened immune system courtesy of HIV was a little over a year after my diagnosis. I worked in retail and a customer was OBVIOUSLY sick (I hate when people don’t keep their germy, sick asses at home!) and coughing all over the place. Two days later, I have the flu. Two days after that, the flu morphed into pneumonia. I have never been so sick! It took forever to recover, and since then (maybe it’s subconscious, maybe it’s paranoia, maybe it’s true) I seem to get sick more and more easily.
Trying to keep a job when you get so sick that you have to call in about once every six weeks is a pain! Since I am not open about my ‘affliction’ I get a lot of LOOKS. I’m sure some think I’m a hypochondriac, maybe they think I’m lazy. Some probably think I’m a closet alcoholic and calling in for a hangover. I can’t afford to go to the doctor every time I need a day of healing rest in a drug-induced coma (even though I have health insurance). I don’t LIKE going to the doctor for something that I know how to treat with over-the-counter medication or that I know I can call and have an antibiotic called in for. So I endure the looks. It’s times like these that I do wish I was ‘out of the HIV closet’. I wish that someone understood.
Besides germs, I also have to deal with medication side effects. I was doing great on Atripla! Take one pill at bedtime and all is well! When I got pregnant I had to change regimens. Now I’m on Combivir and Kaletra. Oh how I LOATHE Combivir and Kaletra!!! Not only do I have to take three pills in the morning and three at night, thanks to the LOVELY diarrhea side effect I also get to add a morning and nighttime Immodium to my new routine (that’s now four pills in the AM, four in the PM)! I have always had a stomach of steel so stomach issues kill me. I could eat the spiciest, greasiest foods you could find and not flinch. Now I run the other direction (except the rare occasions that I feel like punishing myself).
You may wonder why I don’t talk to my ID doctor about changing regimens, truth is that I know what to expect with this one. I have it semi under control. There is no telling what the next medication will do to me. Plus I only have a little less than 5 months to go before I can go back to my beloved Atripla…
Even though I have it MOSTLY under control through diet and medicine, there are days that my stomach just revolts. There is not much that makes me more uncomfortable than having diarrhea when I share a bathroom with probably 20 other people. A lot of times I would REALLY rather stay home and suffer without an audience but since I miss enough time being sick I just have to live with the discomfort.
Yeah, one of the things I hate the most about being HIV positive is my body suddenly betraying me…