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Re: An Oberlin guy to an Oberlin alum
Jun 14, 2006

Hey Obie '74,

I just realized that you were at Oberlin and would be returning soon. How was your trip? Did you play frisbee? Hit on the coeds? Maybe you raised tuition (as if $32,000 wasn't enough!).

I had to write you one last time so you could make something absolutely clear to me, because googling and finding misinformation (think WMDs) can be a bad thing.

You're actually going to be dissapointed in me, but while you were gone, I had a (real) nervous breakdown and haven't been able to sleep for the last three days. And there's no one I can talk to about this because I don't want my mom to cry and lose her mind (she just lost her brother). Don't want to make her think her son is going next. So, this is where I need your absolute final Obie support. I hope you understand why I need you.

For some reason, I can't get over the timing of my exposure and my fever.

I know from reading the archives, that you've never personally heard of anyone being infected by such a brief exposure. Now I'm thinking that I'm going to be the only douche that you know of who got infected because I had a lapse of judgement for a few seconds in my life. I used to envisage having little Obies running around the house. Now I feel empty and have almost lost my confidence.

And so, I keep replaying that night in my head, and I'm definitely sure that my fever didn't even last a full day (thanks to some tylenol and rest). It started off like the flu, but didn't progress or sustain itself. Yet, I'm convinced that what made my temperature spike at 102-103 was HIV ravaging my body. The worst part about it is that I keep reading about high fever associated with ARS.

I guess, what I'm saying is, since we've been able to rule out other causes, could we definitely say that ARS was not the cause of a transient fever that resolved completely in about a day? (I'm stretching the duration of the fever, but I want to make sure). Doesn't seem like you've heard of such an ARS fever, but I just want to make sure.

I know you say that symptoms last for a week or more, but I just want to know if that applies to the fever curve as well? The reason I ask is because that is the only symptom I kept track of/noticed and can definitely say that there is no way in hell that it lasted even 24 hours. 20 hours is the most I'd give it. Got sick/feverish on a Monday night, was feeling just fine by Tuesday night. I want to know if the fever lasts AT LEAST days to weeks or if that just applies to the constellation of symptoms. The funny thing is, I had a similar experience a few months later, which presented itself with low grade (instead of high fever), chills, and a soar throat that resolved itself in slightly over a day (actually longer than the symptoms that we've discussed). And I don't obsess about it because the timing wasn't so awkward. By the way, I just tried the same digital thermometer and it seems fine as it just put me at 98.4.

Yes, I know I have OCD, but a definitive answer on this would go a long way in helping me sleep. I asked my doctor, but he couldn't even give me an answer. All he could do is tell me I'm fine as long as that was my only exposure.

I want to start thinking of my future, again. Work starts on Tuesday, and I haven't enjoyed the summer thus far because I've been worrying.

The next time I scream Dr. Bob, I want it to be because I'm cheering you on at Warner Concert Hall, not because I'm sick, OK?

-Love little Obie (who is anxiously waiting your final response)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Obie '06,

You want to know if your mini fever spike was too short to be consistent with ARS fever. Hmmm . . . "little Obie," you're beginning to sound like "The Department of Redundancy Department." You've been asking that same question over and over again. No matter how many times you ask, my answer is and will continue to be the same. I'll reprint your question and my response form May 15th below. Read your question #1 and my response #1. Now what part of "yes, much too short" don't you understand?

Here is what I recommend:

1. Because you are continuing to perseverate on a nonexistent problem, I suggest you get an HIV rapid test three months or more after your 30-second nookie. The sole reason for doing so is to put and end to your completely irrational fears.

2. Counseling for your OCD. Having a "real nervous breakdown" over an incident such as this indicates a significant underlying problem with anxiety that needs to be properly evaluated and treated.

You are HIV negative. Now you need to learn how to accept and live with that irrefutable (and wonderful) piece of reality.

HIV is not ravaging your body; anxiety is ruining your mind.

In order to be "fearless," get the help you need.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

An Oberlin guy to an Oberlin Alum May 15, 2006

Dr. Bob,

I had no idea you were an Oberlin alum(and a Trustee?)until I saw you in the Spring 2006 Alum Magazine! I said, "that Dr. Bob?" They say that alumni connections (I'm an '06) can be useful, so here is my best shot.

They say that you are supposed to trust your instincts. And, my instincts are telling me I'm screwed. You've answered my briefly before, but your answer left me feeling strange.

You remember that I did the unprotected 20-30 second nookie with a girl of unknown status, and came down with a short term fever less than 12 days after the event. Yet, you blew it off to my thermometer being messed up! I said . . .

" I would say that it lasted 5-6 hours (100-103 degrees), and was accompanied by a bit of fatigue and leg aches. But, it subsided greatly before I went to bed. When I woke up the next day, it was pretty much gone. The only thing that continued after that night were my seasonal allergies --congestion, stuffiness, nasal drip. BUT, you said there was probably something wrong with my thermometer. Not true! I really had a less-than-24-hour fever with some achiness."

OK! That was the extent of my symptoms. Dr. Bob, I NEED you to answer my couple of questions clearly.

1) Were the fever and aches too short to be ARS? Don't you think it is a little TOO coincidental that it came a week or two after my exposure?

2) Is it true that THOUSANDS, not hundreds, of things cause fevers? I mean, would it be wiser for me to say it was allergies related, or to pass it off to some bug? Is it just unwarranted to assume that it was HIV? Am I really worrying for no reason?

Thanks, Dr. Bob.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Yep, I'm "that Dr. Bob." In fact Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert in The Body's Tratamientos Forum) and I were on campus in February giving a lecture in Wilder Hall entitled "Life. Love. Sex. AIDS. And other unscheduled events." We also brought the AIDS Memorial Quilt to campus for an AIDS awareness concert in Warner Concert Hall and several other awareness events.

So you're graduating this month? I won't be at the graduation, but I will be back on campus in early June for a Board of Trustees meeting.

To answer your specific questions:

1. Yes, much too short. Your symptoms were NOT ARS. Do I think it's "too coincidental it came a week or two after your exposure?" No, of course not. Dude, how rarely do you get lucky? Are you sure you're an Obie???

2. Yes, thousands, not hundreds, of things can cause fevers; however, "allergies" is not one of them! "Hay fever" is a misnomer. Fever is not a component of allergic rhinitis (the medical term for hay fever).

3. Is it unwarranted to assume your transient fever was HIV related? Absofrickinlutely. Dude, that's what I've been trying to tell you for quite some time now. Are you really worrying for no reason? Hmmm . . . here we go again! How many times do we need to go over this???

Oberlin graduates know how to think and reason rationally. You need to start doing both right away. Otherwise, as a Trustee, I may just have to pull your diploma and make you revisit the Tent of Consent/Safer Sex Night programs on a remedial basis!

Now stop worrying and head over to Gibson's for a sugary treat to celebrate, OK?

Dr. Bob



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