"I want a doll! I want a doll" -Neely O'Hara in Valley of the Dolls
After careful and extensive research and experimentation I have learned that my HIV medication does not interact adversely at all with wine.
Particularly Yellowtail Chardonnay.
Such. A. Relief.
The leap into the world of pills (aka 'dolls' for all of you camp philistines) I am happy to report has been fairly simple and so far successful. The build up was hard. The decision to go on meds was not an easy one. It really was something like facing my disease anew. Between deciding to go on meds and the first few days of actually taking them I sort of felt like I had been diagnosed all over again.
HIV, my case anyway, is a little like the Emperor and his new clothes. In a good way. It's this great big emotional ordeal that has very little to show for itself. As I mentioned, since testing positive I have been considerably healthy and most of my reasons for going on medication were emotional and psychological. Maybe it's also part of getting old. I've been thinking a lot about health and longevity and finally figuring out just what the fuck is going on with my 401K. I've also taken to knitting doilies and I keep trying to take my teeth out before bed.
I received my prescription on a Thursday and promptly dropped it off at the pharmacy. The usually ornery, young, Asian American girl who would probably be so much prettier if she hadn't been born and raised in Flushing, grabbed the slip and curtly asked for my address. I gave it and she began to type in the information on the prescription. I don't know if I am imagining this but I swear I could see her face soften. Her expression became slightly sweeter. Did she know what Complera was for? Did she know I had HIV and was now getting all soft on me? Is that why she asked me what time I'd like to pick it up rather than barking "One hour!" ?
The next afternoon right after lunch, I opened my not so little bottle of jumbo sized dolls (3 in one!) and started to put it in my mouth. Realizing this moment deserved some dignity, I turned down the volume on the rerun of Melrose Place I was watching, popped the doll into my mouth and ceremoniously washed it down with a gulp of Diet Coke.
On my way to work that afternoon, for some ridiculous reason, I waited for my doll to "kick in". Like a hit of Ecstasy. I imagined all of my cells wildly trembling and pulsing. I thought I would soon be getting flushed, light headed and sweaty. I envisioned my biceps and chest enlarging, tearing through my T-shirt and being surrounded by a white force field standing in front of a giant skull like structure, holding a large sword and screaming "I HAVE THE POWER!!!"
And then I thought of what a Tom of Finland daddy Man At Arms was and I got horny and the whole thing derailed.
After starting the medication, I was still hemming and hawing about whether this was the right option. Not that I have any distinct notion what a hem / haw is, but two things happened. I had a great doctor visit and a kick in the pants from a good friend.
The dolls are doing their thing. I am nearly undetectable after one month of medication. My viral load went from 26,000 to 330. If you don't know what a viral load is you can click here cuz gurl this entry is long enough already! This information provided by my very warm and caring nurse practitioner who I sometimes want to a little bit do it with was very encouraging. The other bit of encouragement came from my friend Scott who in his no nonsense fashion laid it all out for me. Scott explained that while he understood my hesitance he ultimately looks at taking meds as no different than a diabetic taking insulin. It's actually even simpler. He also pointed out that there are millions of people around the world without access to HIV medication. And here I am bitching moaning about taking them.
I'm feeling pretty good about this change in my life. It's been a new step in confronting the 'ol High 5. It's an experience that has brought me closer to the people I love, placed a more thoughtful attention on my body and health and is making me healthier each day. I'll keep you posted on the progress but I have to say, not too bad for one not so little pill!