The Medication Arrives
It has been a while since I blogged properly about my HIV status but if you’ve been reading the “HIV & Me” section of the blog, you will know that over the course of the year my CD4 has fallen and my VL has increased, quite dramatically. This led to the decision back in September to start the ball rolling in my taking of HIV medication.
As part of this process, I also transferred my care from Middlesbrough James Cook hospital back down to York where I live. I figure that it would be better having the clinic on my door step in order to attend the regular follow up appointments that starting medication means you have. Also it meant that should I experience any problems, I could walk around to the clinic rather than trekking an hour north by train.
The clinic at York is a well respected one, with the head consultants here being recognised the world over as leaders in their field. My consultant now is a chap who is a fellow of BHIVA (British HIV Association); a member of National Infectious Diseases & Microbiology Speciality Group; Fellow of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV as well as being a Professor of Medicine at Hull York Medical School (HYMS), and Honorary Consultant Physician in GU/HIV Medicine at York Hospitals Foundation Trust. So as you can see, he’s a very well respected consultant indeed.
I am in now doubt that I am indeed in very safe hands when it comes to my long term HIV care and treatment.
1pm Tuesday 20th.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten off to a great start. I was prescribed by the clinic two months worth of medication, Truvada and Sustiva, to be delivered by Home Delivery today, Tuesday 20th November. When I called the Home delivery people to try and find out a more specific delivery time, I was told that they didn’t have my script there, only the registration form. What!? I had taken a week off work especially to start the medication in the hope that any side effects would be more manageable this way, than trying to work 14 hour days with them. I immediately contacted the clinic to chase up the script, only to be told that the script had been sent off to them on the 15th November. I explained that I really need to start the medication today, as I have taken time off work etc. They told me to leave it with them, and they would chase the delivery people up and call me back.
2.30pm Tuesday 20th
I’ve just this moment had a phone call from the clinic, apparently the HD people never received the fax with the script on it, and as such they say the quickest they can deliver to me is tomorrow. It’s all because the Truvada and Sustiva come from a pharmacy in Featherstone, some fair distance from York. I have asked if York Hospital stock the medication, and if so could I not just collect it from them as it is only a 5 minute walk from my house. They’re looking into it but won’t know until later as everyone is in a meeting.
I understand that mistakes happen, after all we are only human. But it doesn’t fill me with confidence in the system when medication can simply be “forgotten” about. What would have happened if I was due a re-supply of medication today, if I was down to my last pills. If York doesn’t stock the drugs, I would have to miss a dose and wait until the home delivery. Truly utterly disturbing and worrying when you’re talking about medication that is time critical, life saving, and whereby missing a dose runs the risk of resistance.
Mistakes happen, but in cases like this, you really can’t afford to make them.
It’s because of this that I shall be speaking to my consultant to come off Home delivery. I would also like to think that a major hospital such as York did indeed stock this medication. If Featherstone does, a tiny town in South Yorkshire, it is outrageous that York does not.
As someone who is just starting out on the rest of their life on medication this entire situation has filled my mind with doubt about the system. They preach to us about the importance of taking the medication, and yet the agencies involved can’t even get the medication to you in time to take it.
Fingers crossed they come up with a solution and fast. I would like to think that I could collect the medication from York Pharmacy this afternoon, or someone at Home Delivery in Featherstone will jump in their car, and drive it up to me. Delivery tomorrow just isn’t good enough. It means that I lose two of the 7 days that I had set aside to get over the side effects and adjust to the medication. I am due back at work on Wednesday. If I am still suffering with side effects, I am unable to work. No work means no wages; no wages means I can’t pay my rent. No rent means I get evicted. It is easy to see how people end up in the shit, simply as a result of other peoples foul ups.
It is just not acceptable.
3.40pm Tuesday 20th
Another call from the clinic, it appears that the pharmacy in York does have as a single months supply of the medication in, and they’re happy to give it to me. I am now awaiting a new script from the HIV clinic, and then I will be on my way around to collect my medication.
This is great news at long last.
Of course, one months supply isn’t the two that was initially scripted, so I shall need to get a repeat script written up and sent off as soon as possible to ensure that there are no more foul ups like this. I don’t want to end up in the sort of position I described earlier, where I am on medication but running low.
4pm Tuesday 20th
Final phone call from the clinic, they’ve prepared me an out patients script, and if I can collect it from them, the hospital will dispense me a months worth to get me going. Only problem, the hospital pharmacy closes at 4.45pm. Eek! I left the house immediately and make my way across town, 1.5 miles to the clinic. Upon arrival, the receptionist knows nothing about it. He goes of to check, each moment the clock ticking by, I’m aware that the pharmacy closes in 20 mins… and it’s another mile and a half away. Finally he returns, explaining that they’re not sure what paperwork I will need. I suggest taking the entire lot, and then bringing back what the hospital don’t need. He looks at me, aware of the medication is as it says on the top “HIV Prescription” and agrees. Handing me a whole stack of my file, I thank him, turn, and run out of the door, up to the hospital.
About half way there, the skies open… and I mean monsoon style. I got soaked through. Even my boxers were wet by the time I arrived at the pharmacy. I handed my prescription over, and thankfully for the first time that day, they knew what was going on. She explained that they knew the story, they were apologetic for the cock ups, and handed me over the meds.
A months supply of Truvada and Sustiva, plus a couple of weeks supply of anti nausea and sickness pills tool.
Back home now, clothes in the wash and a cuppa on the go. I’ve got the delightful Alex Kage and his porn-star friend Nick Wilson coming around for a short while, then later on tonight it’s time to take the first step in the rest of my life.
A life of HIV medication. I intend to do a video diary of it, so keep tuned for that.
This post was written before I’d taken my medication, but uploaded the next day. I’ll be bogging about how taking the medication is going in the coming days.