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Pill Diary: Week 5

Fri 29 Oct 2004 In: HIV

Week 5 of the edited diary entries of a HIV positive man going onto a standard 'combination therapy' pill regime to boost the immune system and repress the virus. Wednesday Feeling better today, a little more energy. I'm going to try to eat ma greater variety of food, sooooo sick of bananas and bread and bland stuff. Scrambled eggs can only be dressed up so many ways too. But I'm nervous about getting back to fruit which I usually eat a lot of... the diarrhoea is just too scarey to go there. Thursday A friend who visited briefly last night, and who hasn't seen me since I started taking the pills, frankly admitted that I was looking terrible. This morning I evaluated myself in the mirror and he's right. Sunken cheeks, dull grey skin, stooped shoulders. I've got to start getting things back together but everything I eat seems to bring on the pill side effects somehow. I will get a haircut tomorrow to see if that helps lessen the "last days of Howard Hughes" look. Friday I advised the staff last night that I would be on board for 3-4 hours today and so they planned around that. Trouble was this morning when I got to the office I had a good half hour then energy crashed to practically zero. I rested on a couch for a while and woke at 2pm feeling crap. Had to ring someone who would otherwise have been off duty who came in and took over from me. I know I stuffed up his afternoon but he was gracious enough to deny it. Even doing a small list of things to do seemed beyond me and I straggled home and went to bed. In the middle of the night I remembered that I'd missed the "midday without food" and "evening with food pills" completely. Saturday Bad sweats last night, not helped by shitting myself during the only bit of deep sleep I got. I thought I was past that and I suppose it's been about 10 days since the previous episode. But will this be an on-going possibility? God, I hope not. Still look like the creature from the swamp, still haven't had that haircut. Sunday Bad day for the fingers. And toes. Numbness comes and goes now rather than being constant, but now there's a tingling from time to time. Just in some digits and the middle toes. Mostly when I'm relaxed and relatively immobile like watching TV. I had read about this one but never had it before. Is it my immagination or is my skin itching? Am I becoming a paranoid, or hypochondriac, or both? Monday Sister rang to advise that she is coming for three days whether I like it or not. I tried to disuade her but perhaps it will be good to have her here. I can't hide forever and the symptoms are not so bad as they were a week or so ago, though I'm more worn down physically and emotionally by the whole thing now. I try to tidy up the house for her arrival but have to give up as the movement makes me queasy and several times I retched long and loud over the kitchen sink. Gross. Tuesday My sister arrives and her presence is a great help. She's especially good at reminding me to take my pills, though I find I have to resist getting terse about her little "taken your pills?" questions. But we both know how important it is to take them reliably and I just have to get used to being "nannied" a bit. I'm a grown man who needs my sister keeping an eye me. John Stone; - 29th October 2004    

Credit: John Stone;

First published: Friday, 29th October 2004 - 12:00pm

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