Yesterday, I was preparing myself to get back to work. Believe it or not, it was like my first day in college. I was nervous and excited. Nervous, because I knew my immune system hasn't completely recovered yet. With a CD4 a little under 100 I'm still vulnerable to colds, cough, flu and serious opportunistic infections. I was nervous, because I knew I would repeatedly answer questions from my colleagues. I even thought of writing FAQs with my response, and place them on a piece of paper; if someone asks what happened to me, I'd just flash the FAQ sheet to him :) Nervous, because I didn't know what my colleagues would think about my sickness. I haven't told them I'm positive, but I'm not sure if they are believing all the stories that I told them so far. Nervous, because I don't know if my HMO had somehow leaked out my HIV status to our HR. Indeed, I was really nervous. But mixed with my nervously was my excitement. Excited because after 6 long months of leave of absence and home arrest, I'm slowly getting my normal life back; I literally didn't go out of our house during the past 6 months, except when I went to the hospital or to my doctor's clinic. Excited because I'm gonna feel like a productive member of the society again.
Well, I was all ready. I already prepared my 1-week baon food and froze them, so I could avoid eating out in restaurants and cafeteria. I placed all my medicines in my pill box and planned out how to discreetly take my 10 medicine tablets throughout the day. My bag was all cleaned up from unnecessary clutter. Good thing, I was able to sleep early. Then, I woke up. This is it. First day of work!
When I got to the office, I cleaned up my table, computer, and phone with alcohol. Then one by one, my friends welcomed me back as they got in. As expected, they asked the questions that I would have placed in my FAQ sheet. I just tried to put humor in my response to keep the conversation short and avoid seriously answering their questions.
After 9 hours, my first day was finally over. I drove back home. Yes, I survived my first day. I felt so productive once more. I know this is just my first day to total recovery. I know I will keep getting better each day. In another three months, I know my CD4 will be over 200. In 3 months, I know I can eat in restaurants, go to malls, watch movies in cinemas and travel by plane again. I'm excited to get my life back!
Note: This post was written several weeks ago.