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.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Everybody Happy

BITCHOut of the house before 8:00 am, early for a Saturday, I trekked out to EDSA to get picked up. Picked up?! Yeah. I was sitting at the local Ministop when I got a call that he was about to drive by. I told him what I’d be wearing while walking out to wait up front. When he drove by, he waved me over and I stepped into his car and we drove off. This was bound to be a happy day.

Okay, before you start making conclusions, I was picked up by a friend who’d been reading my blog and wanted to help and visit Baby Nathan. I already had a box of Alactagrow with me, which E asked me pick up yesterday from someone near where I work. I half-blame E for my having to think up an excuse at work, for having powdered milk on hand. I just joked that it’s part of my weight gain program. Argh. Okay back to my pick-up story.

It was the first time we actually met – and no, he does not have HIV – so we had a lot to talk about during the long drive to Alabang. It was the first time I’d be going to the area not walking or in public transport, so I honestly had difficulty navigating us through Filinvest. I may as well have walked in front of the car to figure out where we were.

We had breakfast at Starbucks in Festival Mall, before walking to Shopwise, where we did our shopping. We only got a couple of boxes of milk, not being able to find cheaper brands of diapers available. We also got some food to split between Baby Nathan’s parents and Steve. My friend would’ve bought the Heraclene Baby Nathan needed at the Emilene’s Pharmacy nearby but it was out of stock. Darn! It would’ve cost less there, just PhP 15.85 each, compared to Mercury Drug’s PhP 16.10. So we looked for Watsons, where we got it for PhP 16.00 each. Good enough. We also got the Ferrous Sulfate that E mentioned Steve needed. The generic brand was good enough, costing PhP 75.00 for a hundred pieces.

From there, it was another case of the blind leading the blind, until we asked our way out to Civic Road, where I finally recognized where we were and figured out the right way to the RITM. The guard at the RITM gate at first wouldn’t let us in, asking us for the patient’s surname, which I really didn’t know. He finally gave way when I mentioned the magic word, which was Ate’s name. I think he understood.

At the ward, the nurse led us into the kid’s room, where he was awake in his dad’s lap. We put the bag of stuff for them in a corner, and I handed the nurse the stash of Heraclene. She tore off a piece and gave it to Nathan’s dad, keeping the rest with her. Apparently, the Heraclene capsule is split open and mixed with the baby’s milk for feeding. I also handed the nurse the stuff for Steve, who was still in isolation. She mentioned he was doing better, but felt the need to squeal on how Steve always puts up an attitude with whoever was attending to him, mentioning his special demands of Hansel, juice or candy, before heading off to deliver our goodies. She peeped in a few minutes later sending us Steve’s thanks, which for me, was both unexpected and unnecessary.

Baby Nathan’s senses were up and about, and he had his eyes glued to us newcomers almost the whole time. He was staring at me in particular, which worried me because he’d be letting out occasional whimpers, threatening to cry. The dad said it was probably because I was in a white shirt, which the kid was now extremely familiar with, thanks to his doctors and nurses. The kid was probably thinking I was one of those beings in white who came to give injections or take blood. Poor kiddo. Note to self: It’s a kid. Wear something colorful next time.

My friend had a million questions to ask Nathan’s dad, some of which I honestly was too shy to ask myself, so we both got to know more about the family. The dad worked as a waiter, and the mom in a videoke bar, but of course both had to stop since the kid got sick. They had to battle with being in another medical institution in Quezon City, before being referred to the RITM, where they finally found the proper care for the baby. Trust me it was a long story, which fast forwarded to today, where Baby Nathan was recovering from hitting almost rock bottom.

Baby Nathan’s condition is definitely improving, and his cheeks are filling up. Though still far from the ideal, he’s on his way. He is able to sit upright in his dad’s lap, and his legs are able to support his weight with some assistance from dad. Unlike the last time I saw him, where his hands were just clasped together and hardly moving, he is now giving out high-fives, and playfully slapping his dads face. Excellent.

His dad was even telling us how Baby Nathan now sort of knew when it was close to 8:00 am or 8:00 pm, his daily ARV schedule. So much so, that the Baby was working up a talent of trying to seal his lips, in protest of the impending dosage of probably not-so-yummy syrups. It had me giggling, because of the pilyo factor, and smiling, because that alertness was still a good sign.

His dad was also telling us about the Baby’s regular fevers, which I said might be caused by the ARVs, but I held off on pointing out how the same meds can make a grown man, as myself, running to the doctor for help. Fortunately, I don’t think Baby Nathan minded the fevers, because as his dad said, the kid could easily sleep through the spikes. He was the one kept up keeping an eye on the kid’s temperature, though, and reporting it to the nurses.

When asked what else they needed there, the dad didn’t really have much to ask for. He did point out how EQ diapers fit better than Pampers, which were just sliding off what was left of the kid’s butt. He also said the Baby was on some new medicine, which my friend said was an anti-bacterial. I’ll ask Ate about that the next time I talk to her. Other than that, they were good and happy. My friend did say that we should’ve brought some colorful toys for the baby, since all he had was a plastic airplane, which his dad said had already made several flights off the bed, thanks to the kid’s newfound strength. Great idea, don’t you think?

After more than an hour there, we bade them goodbye. He thanked us sincerely. I think it was a relief for the dad to have someone to talk to, while the mom was out. She’d been attending the regular activities of one of the so-called HIV advocacy groups, which came in the form of videoke sessions. I do hope that these groups are helping out in ways beyond that. Anyways...

From there, my friend treated me to lunch back in Festival Mall, which left me thinking that I had mistakenly included myself in Baby Nathan’s weight gain program. I love pasta and hate left-overs, so I was stuffed! We then faced the traffic back north, where I was dropped off at the bus stop while my friend headed off to work. It was a good day, and I dropped by the weekend sale at Landmark, and was super proud to get myself a number of nice shirts for just over PhP 100.00 each. Imagine that?! My early Christmas gift to myself I guess. I headed home to rest a bit, and even found energy to get myself a long-deserved haircut.

A lot of happiness today but... anything for mom? Okay, I’ll admit to being a schmuck. I offered to take her back to Landmark for the midnight sale after dinner, which she’d been hinting on since last week. It wasn’t so bad, I did some more shopping myself for some of my new godchildren, and… okay, okay, I got a couple of pairs of shorts for myself. I’d blown my Christmas budget on Baby Nathan already, so I decided to go all out. Hehehe. Eventually, I had to sneak off to the foodcourt to take my ARVs, after which I tried my best to convince my mom that we were done, before I started feeling the effects of the meds. So we walked home, and that was that.

As you can see from this long post, it was a looooong day. But I checked my list, and other than the three guys who I had to blow off having sex with today, I think everybody was happy.


E said...

"Note to self: It’s a kid. Wear something colorful next time."

- Wear pink and yellow! LMAO! So BITCH, You didn't get anything for me? I hate you! Kidding!

PinoyPoz said...

pink & yellow? hmm, barbie meets big bird is what comes to mind... both bading na bading... gosh!

ruby said...

Hi there. :) I came from E's blog...
The dad said you just left when I arrived... :D

He did point out how EQ diapers fit better than Pampers, which were just sliding off what was left of the kid’s butt.
Shucks... I was the one who keeps on giving pampers... Nahiya naman ako... Next time, I'll buy EQ.

Pero hopefully Baby Nathan can go out of the hospital soon... :)

I saw Steve pala but I wasn't able to talk to him.

Thanks for the update!

PinoyPoz said...

hey Ruby! sayang we weren't able to meet there. kaw naman, no reason para mahiya, they're very thankful for whatever help is being given. they were using naman the Pampers at the time we were there eh. :-)

yeah hopefully they'll be discharged soon.

ah good you got to see Steve. i didn't even try to see him, for my own safety na rin. ;-)

welcome welcome... and thanks for helping out din!

Jake Tornado said...

Like E, this blog truly rocks!!!

All the best.

PinoyPoz said...

Thanks Jake!