Saturday 28 May 2022

In Telling: Beware of pill rumours

A day in hand

A few weeks ago, I looked at my 7-day pillbox on a Friday night when I was about to take my medication and I noticed I had one more day than I should have, I know I definitely took my pills on Sunday night as that is my start of the week, but I could not account for which night until Friday that I did not take my pills, the whole process is as automatic as muscle memory, the day markings on the container had long been lost to wear and use.

That was a rarity, as in the almost 13 years that I have been on a daily regimen, I do not think I have missed taking my pills for more than 15 days in total and probably quite less than that. There was one time when I missed taking my pills for 2 nights in a row and that was out of carelessness, I was away from the weekend whilst I thought I had packed my pills, I had in fact left them on the table at home.

That was over 10 years ago, and what that taught me was always to have a spare set of pills for that emergency of being caught out by circumstances I could not control.

Pills on a rampage

My fastidiousness with the medication is a complete turn-around from before I was started on antiretrovirals, for I had many fears and concerns, initially, it was the thought of the pill burden; the number of pills I had to take any number of times in a day and for how long. I heard people were taking pills in the double figures more than once a day, the medication had to be stored in the fridge and much else, but that was HIV medication history.

I had my own baptism of fire into pill chaos, that was after I was discharged from hospital. I had a whole range of pills and medication, antiretrovirals twice a day, opioid pain management every 3 days as a patch on my skin, different pain killers and analgesics addressing different kinds of cancer pain, thrice, four times, and six times a day, some depending on need, anti-emetics, suppositories daily, then chemotherapy, every three weeks.

For the first few months, I was occupied and preoccupied, this was the world I was afraid to entertain before I fell ill, and I told a few friends as much. My reality brought the requirements for this pill Armageddon, I could understand how the prospect of what might be ahead could scare anyone, it is a complete recalibration of life and lifestyle to meet your medical needs.

Each case is unique

Then, side-effects, too much information swirling around, and I had a good few from the obvious, as nausea and vomiting, insomnia, diarrhoea, itching, bloating, tics, and other kinds of discomfort, the loss of taste for proteins, like I lost my taste for fish or eggs when I was on chemotherapy. However, it was all that preconception of entering any kind of HIV therapy that became a barrier to my seeking medical attention as soon as I should have.

I can say now that there are so many improvements to antiretroviral therapies and medications, the pill burden is much less, usually one combination therapy pill daily, the side effects are not as bad, apart from a slight high some 90 minutes after I take my medication, I am fine. I prefer the regularity and routine of pill-taking to the possibility of an injection every few months.

Blog - An injection for my pills

The pill keeps me well and healthy, my CD4 count has risen considerably, and I have had an undetectable viral load within two months of being on antiretroviral medication. I have been on the current regimen since May 2010 apart from a 2-month trial of another drug in 2018 that did not work for me.

Blog - 12 Years on ARVs

The pills are out of patent and sourced as generics, each circumstance is different, but despite what we have heard or read, we must always avail ourselves of treatments tailored to our needs rather than out of the experiences of others, no matter no similar the symptoms are.

In Telling

In Telling: The spirit that sustains

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.