I was endorsed by the DOH NEC officer in charge to the Dr. A for further counselling and medical guidace last Monday. As an eager beaver, I went to San Lazaro Hospital ahead of time. The path from DOH to H4 pavillion is quite a maze. I initially ended up at SACCL thinking that it’s the H4 pavillion.

I bumped into my ex at SACCL. It was also the day when he’ll get his lab result. We talked a bit while he’s waiting for his appointment with his doctor. When he got out, one of my worst fears have become a reality — he’s tested positive. I was apologetic to him but there’s nothing more that we can do but support each other.

When it’s my turn to talk to the doctor, I was informed that I was at the wrong building. H4 pavillion is another maze away from SACCL. I bid my ex and his friend goodbye as I had to hurry as I might miss my appointment. The doctor gave me vague directions how to get there and I ended up at the place where I should be at — the TB ward. I asked the manong janitor where H4 is and he gladly pointed the ill-maintained bungalow-type infrastructure nearby the TB ward.

Given that it’s my first time to be a patient at H4, the nurse got my vital statistics — weight, body temperature, etc. and then endorsed me to Dr. A. Had to wait for a few minutes as Dr. A is still counselling another patient (a cute guy actually. hehe). While waiting, other patients currently confined are discussing their current health status and the ARVs they’re currently taking. I hate to eavesdrop but I had no choice. Fear got the best of me that soon, I’ll be undergoing the same treatment that they’re currently taking and experience the side effects of the drugs once I need to start taking ARV medication.

When came my turn, Dr. A gave me a brief run through of what HIV is all about, what it is not, and the things that I should change in my current lifestyle. As a first timer, she had me fill-up a record form and then asked me for my preferred codename — It’s Fred. She also gave me my reference number — H4 2010 XX which will I use in all my H4 transactions. She also gave me a prescription of the set of lab tests that I need to take to identify opportunistic infections dormant in my body and scheduled me for my CD4 count blood extraction on April 29. I’ll also be scheduled for an appointment with their psychologist to aid me in letting go of the things that I need to let go.

Well, I’ll be back on Thursday next week. Hopefully, I’ll not be lost again. Given that Thursday is San Lazaro’s OPD day, hopefully, I’ll be able to meet a new set of friends — fellow Filipinos infected with the HIV virus