Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Thursday

big gulpWalking towards the HIV ward, I didn’t know what to expect. How big a crowd would I be in there? Trust me, I’m no good in crowds. I was just relieved that I didn’t see a line formed a block away from the door.

Walking up the steps, I passed some seats where people were waiting. There were about 5 or 6 of them there, but they were all a blur to me. I was trying not to make eye contact. Paranoia, I’m guessing.

I approached the nurse up front, and said the doctor asked me to drop by. The nurse asked if I was there for a checkup. I answered that I didn’t think so. She said that she’d list me down if I was there for a check-up. I just know that the doctor was expecting me back today to give her the results of my lab tests. It didn’t seem like a real checkup for me. At least, not the checkup that I was familiar with. She said the doctor wasn’t there yet, and asked me to sit in the waiting area.

So I sat. There were three others there, a woman with a younger guy on my right, and a guy across me. I saw the woman was wearing a face mask, and realized despite this, I couldn’t tell which one was the patient. I noticed the guy across me trying to work in a smile while looking my way. Was he flirting? Or was he just being friendly? Was he new here too? Or was he laughing at me for being the latest victim? Paranoia again. Turns out he was poz too. I realized that when he was called into the doctor’s office.

One after the other, they rest of the people there, less than 20 of them, got called in for their checkup. They would spend just between 5 and 10 minutes each inside. Not bad. Routine monitoring, I guessed.

Then one older guy approached me. He introduced himself. Let’s call him Y. He didn’t seem like he was there for a checkup. Sort of supervising… and mingling. He seemed to know everyone, and asked what I was there for, and asked me to have myself put on the list out front. He said it was standard procedure, despite my trying to explain that I didn’t think I was there for a checkup technically. But he came across a bit territorial to be honest, so I just followed his advice.

The nurse took down all my information – patient code, code name, weight, temperature, blood pressure – after which Y led me back to the waiting area. He was a bit more relaxed now, and started a conversation. Apparently, he’s been poz for a while now, but definitely in the peak of health, and was there to oversee the procedures. Sort of assistants to the doctors. For public relations and other concerns if I understood right. He was having such a difficult time asking me if I was a confirmed poz, which I found funny. So I just blurted out, “Yes, I’m HIV positive”. I think I relieved him of his burden. He explained most of the going-ons there that moment, and introduced some of the personalities there. My nerves eased up at this point and he got me talking a bit about myself.

In the midst of our conversation, the doctor walked in. Seeing me, she smiled and signaled to wait a bit, probably to give her time to settle down. The next time she stuck her head out from the door of the doctors’ office, she asked what my patient code was. A few more minutes later she called me in. So I was right, I didn’t have to line up with the others in the “checkup” queue. Whew.

Sitting down in front of her desk, I handed her my lab results, as she ranted about why she was late that day. She took a look, and said I was ok. Say what? She repeated that my lab work says I’m doing good, and just reminded me that I was scheduled for my CD4 test on the 29th. I wasn't even in there for five minutes. But anyways, another whew from me. I was just happy that I was ok.

So from there, she sent me off, and I left some final words with Y who I passed. He took my number and gave me his, as he said he’d like to invite me to join their group sometime. Something called Pinoy Plus. I’ll tell you more about that when I find more out.

So I left, a bit triumphant. I just had to spread the good news, so I dropped by Dr. Malou Tan at the Social Hygeine Clinic across the street. She was happy, and I was happy. Nurse Luz and Dr. Diana were there as well, and they were happy to see me, too. Dr. Malou is great. I feel she truly cares. She’s like a mom to me now. Maybe she can be my HIV mom.

So anyways, it was 10:30 am, and I had accomplished a lot. I started my journey to work. Back to my regular life. Or my former regular life. The parallel world I live in, where Thursdays are just like any ordinary day.


Drunken Debotury said...

I have only gotten here so far - was trying to read your blog from cover to cover LOL.

So brave and well-written. and...and...not a single grammatical error! [yuck I'm such a nerd] hehe.

PinoyPoz said...

Hehehe thanks! About the errors, you'll bump into some sure enough... :-) Feel free to point them out hehe. Thanks again! Keep blogging too!