While sending out a group mail to us about an up-and-coming social event, my friend casually dropped the line in that she had to start on ARVs. Apparently there had been a bit of an accident in her medical research lab.
I realise we all get a bit blasé in our respective lines of work. Even I used to so nonchalantly sit for ages condomising the office’s green penis demo model with the cratefuls of free latex doms, during bored coffee breaks, while chatting to my 60 yr old Muslim admin lady. Occasionally she’d glance over from her computer & comment, “Yes, that’s right. You’re doing it right”. Even the security guys stopped passing comments it became so everyday to see on their closed circuit cameras.
But I was a little surprised that my dear friend’s single-worded response to her serious medical dilemma was “Argh”. Nothing more. Even I uttered more profanities and attempts at sympathy-seeking when my car brakes were grating recently, and when my phone took to two days’ worth of aqua aerobics.
Then, two weeks later, I finally received the following email.
Thank you to her for letting me show all of you a quick glimpse of how it feels to be on a mild course of ARVs for a short period (remember the whole PEP post…)
Subject: oh my failing liver
…..[Personal banter not for the public eye]….
I'm feeling really shite at the moment. was feeling top of the world for 1st 2 weeks of ARVs, thinking that my scottish constitution was a match for cytotoxic side effects. but alas my liver and kidneys have started lamenting. I have constant headaches, nausea and hypersomnia. (more than usual).
monday i drove all the way into med school then decided i couldn't face it, and drove all the way home and slept for like 18 hours. then went to bed again. amazing. normally i'm so insomnia prone at night.
how do ppl take them everyday for rest of their lives. it's awful, and i often forget the 12hr rule so no wonder there's non compliance... it's been really good to step into those shoes. taken the wind out of my developing-a-new-drug sail.
Thanks my dear friend for letting me post this! And I hope you are feeling top of the world in no time, especially for the 3rd of that month with the roaring show!
If any of you do want to read an excellent book about a South African’s experience with finding out he has AIDS (when his CD4 count was as low as 2!) and then what he went through on ARVS – read Adam Levin’s AIDSAFARI. ….actually, in googling the book to get a link for this post I have just come across the most fascinating website set up as a result of Adam Levin’s memoir…. So excuse me now, I'm off to do some non-blogosphere-related reading….