Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hospital Again After 1 Year

Exactly 1 year after I was confined for meningitis, I'm back. Same hospital, same floor :( There were some improvements in the hospital though. Bigger room. My TV now is 32" LCD, a big improvement from the 14" CRT TV last year. Incidentally, like last year, I was watching again The Voice PH Blind Auditions in the hospital. This made me wanna sing: "Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now..." hehe.

After I consulted my IDS at SAGIP, my doctor wanted to admit me ASAP. Why? I've been taking Valacyclovir for 4 days already, yet she saw that there were still some new blisters coming out due to my shingles (herpes zoster). Since my CD4 is still below 100, she wanted to be sure, and didn't want the infection to spread to my internal organs (like brain, ears, eyes... yikes, that's scary). 

Okay, so I made the room reservation after my consultation with my IDS. Then, I went home to get my stuff, and went back to the hospital. On my way to the hospital, I was so sad and worried, that I wanted to cry; I remembered my hospital admission last year. Uncertain of what might come, yet looking forward to the day when I will be discharged. 

When I got to my room, it was the same Q&A from the resident doctor. What meds are you taking? Are you on ARV? When were you diagnosed? What were your OIs? Did you have sex with women/men? Are you heterosexual/homosexual? How many sexual partners did you have? When was your last sex? What types of sex did you do (in short, are you top/bottom, oral receiver/giver)? How did you get infected? Did you use drugs? Next time, I swear, I'll bring an FAQ sheet, so I don't have to answer them again and again... 

After the admission protocols, there goes my IV.
Then, the nurses came. One by one, they started to greet me. They were all very friendly. "Hi sir, I remember you! You were here last year, right?" Seems like they were happy to see my again (in a positive way). Also, all of them (even the nursing aide) said, you gained a lot of weight? Nicer built now! Good... I'm flattered! Perhaps, due to how serious my illness was last year, and how thin I was at that time (at 115 lbs), they were quite surprised to see me looking well and fit. It also seemed like they were surprised that I was only hospitalized again after 1 year (and perhaps to still see me alive), despite having an advanced AIDS illness last year. 

Anyway, those comments lifted my spirit. So happy to have recovered pretty well from that painful meningitis last year. And I'm also glad that this hospitalization, is a lot less serious than than. 

After 1 week, my shingles dried up with acyclovir antiviral IV. The bad news was, that acyclovir IV was so damn expensive! And Philhealth only covered 10% of my bill. 

Good thing that I recovered in 1 week as expected. My shingles started to dry up. It did not spread to my internal organs. After 1 week, I was discharged. Thanks to my doctors for managing me well, and making sure I don't get any complications. And thanks to the nurses who were very friendly when they saw me again, though I don't want to see you guys again (at least in the hospital). :)  Also, buti na lang I'm paying Philhealth as an Individually Paying member now, apart from the contribution of my employer. At least, I don't need to ask for an MDR and certificate of contribution from my employer. And for that, they will not know that I was admitted in a hospital again.  

Damn, I lost 3 lbs in the hospital. Well... this is my license to eat at Vikings next week. :)


Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Bottomline Interviews a PLHIV

Boy Abunda interviews a Person Living with HIV on The Bottomline. The guest talks about PLHIV stereotypes, misconceptions and how the virus changed his life.

Click on the links below to watch: 

The Bottomline (1 of 5) 
The Bottomline (2 of 5)
The Bottomline (3 of 5)
The Bottomline (4 of 5)

The Bottomline (5 of 5)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Touring Hospitals

A few days ago, my HIV doctor was not available. So, I went to a private HIV hub on Shaw, The Ship Foundation, for consultation. I mentioned my medical history to Dr. Kate of Ship. She said you've been through a lot pala no? Having gone through TB, pneumonia and meningitis. Then, it reminded me again (which I tend to forget), that yeah... those were pretty damn serious illnesses, which could have killed me. But thank God, I'm well now.. with undetectable viral load, though still with a low CD4. She also said that I'm lucky to have Dr. MMA as my doctor. I quote her "She's one the best!" Wow... thanks MMA. I didn't know that. But thank you, and to all your fellows. I could have died, had you not carefully managed my treatment last year. And, I agree, she's one of the best. No wonder, she is too busy with so many things... I guess research, teaching, mentoring new IDS, and of course helping PLHIV live :)  

Dr. Kate said, I can already go to the malls now. But she advised me to wear a mask when I watch a movie in a cinema, as I might get infected by the sneeze of a person seated at my back. She also said, I can already ride a plane for short-haul flights only, but again, I need to wear a mask. I can already work out in the gym, but I need to wipe the equipment with alcohol or wet wipes before using. I can already play badminton, but I should know my limits, and not to tire myself too much. No one wants a repeat of any of my past OI's.

Anyway, I had myself checked at The SHIP clinic because I felt like I had a lymph node in a site where I had my TB lymphadenitis last year. So, I decided to have it checked early, as I don't want to have a recurrence of TB... praning lang. I don't want to have a repeat of my minor surgery for TB adenitis. Apparently, Dr. Kate said the lymph nodes don't seem like TB, just a typical lymph node possibly caused by mouth sores. When I got home, I noticed new rashes on my neck, and 3 blisters clumping together. Hmmm... I suspected it could be shingles or herpes zoster. 40 hours later, I went to RITM ER as advised by my FB friends on TRR Group, since all hubs and private clinics were closed on that day. Damn, it really was shingles. And early initiation of an anti-viral drug is necessary for high efficacy. Good, I'm still within the prescribed 72 hour period to start the meds. Hope it doesn't spread as much, and won't leave any scar. 

As for RITM, I really like its environment. 
Quiet with huge open/green spaces. It's far from PGH, na nakakastress talaga sa dami ng tao at haba ng mga pila. RITM is so uncrowded, and relaxing. It has good doctors from UP-PGH rin. And best of all, I only paid 125 pesos for my ER consultation. If I did it in a private hospital's ER, that could have easily costed me 6,000 pesos. Mas mahal pa ang one-way toll fee ko going to RITM than its ER fees :) 

Para na pala akong nag-fi-field trip ng mga hospitals nito... I do my regular consultation at The Medical City. I get my ARVs at PGH.  I buy one of my meds at RITM (it's cheaper there). And I have my lab tests (CD4, Viral Load, CBC, etc.) done at The Ship Foundation. :) 

Ouch... feeling some discomfort for my shingles now. Will continue my post tomorrow.   

Sunday, June 8, 2014

No cinema for a year

Time flies! I can't believe it. It's been exactly a year since I last watched a movie in a cinema!

I remember watching my last movie last year in a cinema in Greenbelt. I was almost late for the screening. But I wasn't running then... because I was catching my breath for supposedly "asthma" which was later on diagnosed as pneumonia. Then, a few days after that last movie, I was confined in a hospital, one after another, for several serious illnesses. And, that's when I found out I'm HIV positive. Well, the good thing is, that scary part of my life is now a past. Yes, I still have HIV, even an AIDS case for that matter. But, I have recovered now. I survived the 3 serious OI's. Thank God! And now, I have already gained back the 25 pounds that I lost. I'm well now, and I look fit. Everybody now seems to be commenting that I have gained a lot weight already, even more than necessary.

Today, as I entered that uncrowded cinema of a newly opened mall with a bag of Taters popcorn, I felt so happy. As this signifies that I'm really back! Hmmm... that soft cushion, cold AC, THX sound, huge screen, and crisp clear picture, beside my partner. Yeah, this is the cinema experience that I terribly missed. And it's right here, right now!  

Virus... I defeated you!