What a friendly experience at IDCC!

07th March 2018
Positive LIving
Column

...

By Kennedy Mupeli -


Last week I shared how I met my wife and our experience of having a child through the wonderful Prevention-of-Mother- to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) pro- gramme that enables couples to prevent HIV.

This week I will take you into my routine visits to my doctor at Princess Marina Hospital’s IDCC Clinic. IDCC stands for Infectious Disease Care Clinic. At the reception area I am always met by the ever- smiling IDCC Clinic staff. We exchange greetings then they bring the file to verify my personal details.


Then I join a queue to check my vital signs, including blood pressure (BP), pulse, temperature, and height and weight. These are checked every visit.
One time, a woman in the queue playfully joked about it saying, “every time we come for our appointment, these nurses always check our height. Does HIV make us shorter or taller?” We all erupted in a fitt of laughter.

Some of us still experience anxiety during these check-ups, so at times I would say, “Today the queue seems to be moving fast,” to ease the tension.
I remember one particular time: My vitals were fine except my BP, which was slightly higher than 
it should have been. After the check-up I headed for the consultation room, finding a queue of about eleven (11) people waiting to see the doctor.

Waiting for my turn to enter the consultation room has always been a bit nerve-wrecking, as I fear that my viral load may not have remained undetectable.
I had done my viral load test two weeks back and today the doctor was going to get the results.

I have been on ARV treatment since 2006 and I have always maintained an undetectable viral load, which assures me of a healthy life. I still had high hopes that my viral load test result would be fine since I have always taken my treatment every day, same time all the time.

After waiting for about an hour in the queue, it was my turn to enter the doctor’s consultation room. The doctor welcomed me and immediately broke into discussion about the weather.

I handed him my file which he carefully placed on his desk. “Today it is hot,” the doctor said as he invited me to sit on the chair facing him. The doctor asked me how I was feeling, as he flipped through the file.

“Kennedy, your BP is not looking good, but there are a number of things you can do to address that,” he said. He gave me some diet health tips
 to bring my BP down, then punched my patient number in the computer and clicked the mouse.

“The good news is your viral load is still undetectable. Please continue with the treatment schedule,” he
 said. This news brought me a sigh of relief. The doctor just told me what I always expect and want to hear each time I visit the IDCC. He then renewed my prescription of Truvada and DTG, and I headed to the IDCC pharmacy to collect my medicine.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Princess Marina Hospital IDCC staff. Th
ey truly deserve an award of recognition for excellence in patient care. They are always at my disposal and have helped me over the years.


Note: This is the fifth instalment in a column series entitled ‘Positive Living,’ which will continue throughout 2018 with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).




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