two twenty eight

the journal of a positive person

calling the hotline

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My dad is in the hospital.

He had ear surgery and now, he’s back with complications. Everything seems fine but he’s dealing with pain and stress and the last thing he needs to hear now is that his gay son has contracted HIV. It’s just not appropriate timing. Usually, when I’m feeling sick or something’s wrong, I tell my father. He’s a nurse and has an unusual knack for health and medication.

Which is sad to see him in the hospital.

Last night, I started to freak out. I looked at my tongue and saw that it was white. The back of my throat is sort of red and has been sore for some time. I didn’t think anything of it before. I just imagined it would go away on its own. I didn’t have health insurance before about a week ago and never went to the doctor. I imagined, I could have solved it some time ago, but never did – and so it’s just taking longer to go away.

Now, I’m freaked out.

Now, it’s because I have HIV. This means I’m symptomatic. My immune system is down. I’m stage III. I’m also dying quicker.

I start dialing for late night hotlines. I want to go to the hospital right now. I could be dead by morning. I don’t believe that. I’m alone in my house. It’s cold. My throat suddenly hurts more. I can’t even talk. I’m going to die soon. This is going to be miserable. Everytime my body aches, it’s death knocking at me.

I’ve been eating vegan for a few years now – has that been good or bad for me? Have I depleted my immune system with the lack of B12 in my diet? Fuck, I just wanted to be animal friendly. Should I start eating meat again?

What the fuck am I supposed to do?

I call the national AIDS healthline. I am frightened because I’m dialing an AIDS hotline. AIDS. Death. They redirect me to the CDC Info line. I have to sit through press 1, press 2, press 3, press 4. I press 1. The person I get can’t help me.

They have to give me another number.

That number is wrong. Or disconnected. It’s for a rug company. I call back. I press 1. I’m freaking out. I’ve got THRUSH. I’ve got a white tongue. I’m going to have liver failure if I don’t solve this. How long haven’t I noticed my tongue? Did I kiss S with this tongue? Could I have given it to him?


They give me a few more numbers to call. I dial the first one. And on its first ring, a woman picks up. “Nightline.”

“Is this for – HIV?”

“Yes. How can I help you?”

And I begin to talk with her, my phone at 20% battery. She doesn’t seem to fully understand, I’ve only been preliminarily diagnosed. I only got this stupid rapid – swipe and swipe that told me 30 minutes later, I’m going to die. I don’t know my viral load. My T-Cell count or whatever it is.

I haven’t been – confirmed.

I have to wait until Thursday to know for certain and only now, I have to sit in my apartment. Saturday Night. Alone. Wondering if every day I wait, will be another day I can scratch off my life.

I feel so dramatic now. So, silly. Talking to someone feels a little better. I suddenly feel more logical. Of course, I’m not going to die. I can’t go into the emergency room because my tongue is white. There are people there that really need help. I’m just being – dramatic.

I breathe a bit.

She isn’t informative. Or helpful. She can’t solve my problems. She can’t answer my questions but she’s like a grandmother. An ear to listen. And that’s all I needed.

K called me. I went to stay at her place. It seemed warmer there. Normal. I played Sims 2 and started to walk around and “meet people” – I decided I wanted his ambition to be popularity.

There’s one Sim who didn’t like my Todd Adams (as me and K called him). He just didn’t like him. I tried to talk to him. Impress him. Tell him a joke. I even tried my ever popular “puppet sock.” All of it seemed to bore him. He’s now my enemy – something my Sim finds to be a – fear.

It bothered me that he wouldn’t like me. I know its just a stupid game with stupid algorithms and artificial intelligence, but fuck man – why won’t this fucking SIM like me?

Why is my Dad in the hospital when I WANT attention? When I NEED HELP? Why the fuck is S stuck in Alaska where I can’t talk to him for two weeks? Why am I so fucking alone right now?

Even though everyone around me is amazing. Even though K is fucking amazing. Even though S has been so goddamn amazing. And supportive. And wonderful. And just beautiful.

He told me, “this is our burden.”

I don’t believe him but fuck do I want to share this with someone. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to feel that when I get a sore throat I’m going to die.

I can’t go to the doctor’s alone.

I’m glad there was that hotline. I’m glad I was able to talk to that lady who said that a white tongue, could just mean I’m stressed out. That there’s an infection in me. It doesn’t mean Thrush. I doesn’t mean anything. Just go to the doctor’s on Monday. You’ll be OK.

She may be wrong but I felt it was OK to listen to her.

It was OK. And I’m OK.

My phone died. (but I’m alright).


Written by twotwentyeight

March 2, 2008 at 11:17 am

Posted in Being Scared

Tagged with , ,

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