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Along Came a Spider

By B. Osten

June 9, 2012

In March I got my annual flu shot and I've caught the flu several times since then. The first one I expected because for some reason I always get a mild strain soon after the shot. The second one was unprecedented and the third was alarming and concerning. It lingered on for what seemed to be forever and a day. I went to the emergency room for some much needed relief and left with a sore arm from several attempts by an intern to draw blood.

This week I got back the results of my blood test. I was beside myself. My viral load went from undetectable to up over a hundred thousand. My CD4 count went from 790 T cells down to 425 T cells. The reason the doctor gave was that one of my meds had become resistant to the virus.

On returning home from the ID (infectious disease) clinic, I needed a long, hot shower to relax. While doing so, I noticed a spider crawling along the top of the shower curtain. As it got closer to me a spray of water knocked it off and into the flow of water heading down the drain. I stopped the spider with my foot and picked it up, putting it on the edge of the bathtub to dry. No sooner than I went back to relaxing under the shower head, I saw the spider crawling down the side of the tub and wade into the current of water. Once again I came to its rescue, putting it back further onto the ledge of the tub. By then the water had turned cold. I turned the shower off and stepped out. In the process of doing so, I bumped the wall with my shoulder and a large shampoo bottle fell over and rolled along the edge of the tub and you guessed it, over the spider, crushing it.

As I stood there dumbfounded, I realized that danger is ever present and all around us. But, with those with HIV it's also inside us.

I've lived with HIV for twenty-six year now. It's like a marriage. Only you can't divorce it. You have to Honor, Cherish and Respect it. Like the vows say: For richer or poorer, through sickness and health, till death do us part.

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