It's Three Kings Day! This officially marks the end of the Christmas season in the country. Well, Christmas has been different for me this year. Due to my low CD4, I cannot go to crowded places. So, I avoided Christmas parties and get-togethers. I invented excuses when my colleagues invited me for a night and drink out. I didn't buy gifts for my family. I didn't go to crowded shopping malls to buy gifts for my inaanaks. I didn't go to Christmas tiange/bazzaar. I intentionally ignored the birthday and wedding invitations of some friends. Ka-ka-miss. And, I miss my PLU friends, whom I have not seen and have been hiding from since I was diagnosed with HIV. They don't know I'm positive.
Anyway, since it's a mortal sin not to give gifts to inaanaks, I went Toy Kingdom at Podium at 9pm last month, to buy toys. I went to Glorietta very early in the morning, and just before its closing time to buy stuff. And thanks to the newly opened Jazz Mall on N. Garcia St. in Makati. No crowd at all, even on Christmas and New Year's eves. I was there almost everyday during the holiday season. Somehow, it made me feel like I was in a mall :)
These adjustments started even before the Christmas season. I have not been going out to malls, restaurants, and other public places, except on a few occasions. I didn't renew my gym membership at Fitness First. I just do dumbbell work out at home. At work, I asked for a change in assignment. In my previous assignment, I needed to go out and meet with clients, attend a few conferences, and on a few occasions travel abroad. Client meeting means crowded elevators at client's office and handshakes with potentially virus-carrying clients. Conference means exposing myself to at least 50 people who may be carriers of flu/cold/cough viruses. Travel means crowded airports and being confined in a plane with potentially virus-carrying passengers. So, I decided for a reassignment. In case client meeting is unavoidable, I just bring a Green Cross alcohol spray in my pocket. After a handshake, I discreetly insert my hands in my pocket and press the spray to disinfect. :)
Well, so far I have been successful in avoiding getting air-borne diseases. Since I went back to work, I only had 1 bout of viral flu. After that, I have never contracted the cough and colds of my colleagues who were seated around me! I didn't catch any virus during the unavoidable team Christmas dinner in a crowded Gerry's Grill restaurant. Lucky me! Or this could be signs that my immune system, though they are low, are working overtime to protect me. :) And hopefully, these could be signs that my CD4 is rebounding. Let's pray for that.
Speaking of CD4, I'll have this test again in 2 months. I already have a plan for my next test. Instead of taking a leave to have the test done at PGH on a Tuesday morning, I plan to instead do it at The SHIP Foundation. Thanks to to The Red Ribbon FB group, I discovered this private HIV hub on Shaw Blvd. in Mandaluyong. They will just charge an additional 200 pesos as handling fee to transport the blood specimen from their clinic to PGH where it will be read. If you need info on The SHIP Foundation, drop me a message.