The week after I went bright and early, as usual to my follow-up consultation in LUTH. By bright and early, I mean I left my home by 5.30 am, this would ensure I would be out by about 1pm. I arrived there and waited as usual for the attendants to come. There were other people there as well, but I took note of some in particular; a young lady fast asleep on two of the plastic chairs, dressed head to toe, in corporate outfit, ostensibly on her way to the office. Shortly after I arrived she woke up and began to apply make up to her face. Afterwards another lady came who was obviously familiar with the whole environment. She shouted a greeting across at the attendant on duty and then at another friend on another row at the far end of the rows of seats. When she sat down she began complaining loudly that they better hurry up and implement the 3 month drug plan so she would not have to come there as frequently as she did. She continued by telling someone how eating right and having healthy habits can make everyone healthy. I admires what seemed like her courage in the face of all odds, but I wished she would shut up; it was too early for such noise.
Gradually the healthcare staff arrived and activities gradually picked up. Because it had been raining that day and we would obviously leave muddy prints in the room, the healthcare attendant, a slight, dark lady who wore glasses and a bright smile asked that we leave our shoes at the entrance to the hallway and walk barefoot to check our weight and blood pressure. Smile or no smile I wasn’t having any of that, especially as the staff were actually wearing their own shoes. I confronted her on that and she wilted, apparently someone heard me speaking to her and made them cancel that plan.
The lady who sat next to me this time around was one of these really strict christian women without earrings or any form of beautification. She wore an ill-fitting suit with long sleeves and I heard her speaking to the lady next to her about how difficult it was to enter heaven, about how ladies’ ‘adornment’ were so unscriptural. I wondered how her religious beliefs justified her illness. The lady next to her, in a discussion with the lady sitting beside her said she was a teacher and had the opportunity to come for treatment without asking for permission all the time because of school holidays which almost always coincided with her appointments. The lady behind responded that her own manager was (HIV) positive too so it made it easier for her to get permission to leave. I wanted to ask her how she knew her manager’s status but I didnt want to pry. I also wondered what ways I could make it easier for staff I could have in the future to attend appointments like this without being indiscreet.
I was attended to by a different doctor from the last time, a lady. She too was nice and very professional. She sent me with a note to get my results. While I was waiting for the clerk to write down my results a young lady approached him asking to see her results. did a doctor send you, he asked, no, she said. I cant give you he said. I thought, how stupid. He finally gave her though.
My CD4 count had dropped by almost 200 in the past 3 years but I was still within the safe limit, meaning I was above 350 and would not be given drugs- but only just. I was sent away with a prescription for immune boosting one-a-day tablets to be taken for 30 days after which I was to come for checkup.
When I got home, I googled everything possible about CD4 count and how to boost it, I found out that the lower your CD4 count the more your body is succumbing to the disease, also, I learnt that in a few individuals proper care leads to an increase in CD4 but for people whose CD4 do not increase, despite treatment they are liable to succumb to the disease, AIDS, at any time as their bodies defences are not functional. I made up my mind to do everything I could to help my body increase its defences. Right from then I cut out all the sugary stuff and processed foods and I began to eat fruits and vegetables. I relapsed a few days ago, but I will continue again, so help me God.