Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!
Looking Forward to the Next 22!
May 6, 2015
Last month I celebrated twenty-two years since the day I found out I was HIV positive. My long-term memory is so shot but I do remember a lot of things about that day. It's a date that never goes unmarked by me. It was a cold, rainy afternoon in Lancaster, PA. I was scheduled to work the evening shift at Community Hospital in the ICU as usual. The Employee Health Department had called me the day before and told me to stop by and get my test results from the needle stick injury I had received approximately six months earlier, on Sept 9, 1992. I was undergoing routine post-exposure testing. This was no big deal. Once I cleared this hurdle I would have one more test to go at the year mark. It was that simple.
Hanging on for the Ride
February 10, 2015
Well, January is almost over as I write this and it's been a crazy end to 2014 and a wild start to 2015. I've been hospitalized several times already and have had some major life changes, some good, some bad and I'm learning to roll with the punches. The end of the year saw my oldest son get engaged and we had a huge party to celebrate. He's in the Marine Corps and as we welcomed his fiancée into our lives I couldn't be more proud of both of them and it feels great to be here to celebrate that milestone in his life.
Shaking It Off This World AIDS Day
November 29, 2014
My favorite song for this year is by Taylor Swift "Shake it Off." I love the music but I especially find the lyrics fitting. She sings about finding your own beat, doing your own thing, dancing to your own music and shaking it all off! Letting the players play and the haters hate! My future daughter-in-law and I went to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival this year and she was both startled and upset by the small group of assembled protesters. She stopped to listen as they spewed their hatred and read their hideous poster board signs all as a slight drizzle started to rain down upon us. She wondered why I was not intrigued. I explained that I have been at plenty of events where they had gathered and they were old news. I learned to ignore them as most of the crowd was doing. Why give them the time of day. They were always present at the AIDS WALK as well. Their words were nothing I hadn't heard before; their methods were nothing new.
So Very Thankful!
November 9, 2014
Moving on from October ... finally feeling better, glad to be home here in sunny California and starting to feel the seasons change! Yes we have them -- don't let people tell you otherwise! It's the month of thanks and I have a ton to be thankful for. I guess it was that coming-to-Jesus meeting in the hospital when my fevers were so high and I literally thought "OK, God, I'm not gonna make it am I?" Well, since I did make it out I have turned a new leaf. I'm taking my meds. My numbers are going up -- not quite undetectable but pretty darn close. Not sure I need to be and not gonna stress over it really. Doc is happy. I'm happy. Trying to see if I can stabilize off the Neupogen and clear the neutropenia. To rid myself of twice-weekly injections right now would be pretty cool!
Checking Back in After My Long Hospitalizations
September 30, 2014
Wow, I've lost count of the days. Somewhere around 45-50 I realized that, gee, I had been hospitalized for a long time. I didn't even know hospitals kept you that long anymore; then just about that time that my reality became clear, I got transferred to another hospital which focused on rehab and short-term IV care. Then finally -- and I mean finally -- I went home. October is about to begin. When I entered the hospitals we were in August.
Memory Loss Follow Up: Taking a Deeper Look
June 23, 2014
I had no intention of dwelling on my first piece about my memory loss. Yet I have been overwhelmed by the email response I have received from infected men and women literally from around the world. Readers have opened their hearts, minds and souls to me, most in search of understanding and compassion. People have written due to the stigma and embarrassment and fear that they face in the admittance of their own memory loss issues. I truly had no idea it was such a large issue affecting so many. I selfishly thought it only affected me :-) -- well not really of course, but on a really bad day that's exactly how I feel.
Living With Memory Loss
May 19, 2014
Sometimes people ask me what's the worst part about having AIDS. Over the years my answer has changed dramatically depending which symptom I was facing or side effect from the medication was particularly cumbersome. Right now, however, the most debilitating in my mind is my horrific and progressive memory loss. I don't remember how long I truly have been battling this but I do know that in the past two years it has risen to a crisis in my mind. People try to make me feel better by paralleling my experience with theirs due to age or depression or menopause. It doesn't really help me. Most times it just makes me feel more distraught.
Spring Has Sprung and Remembering My HIV Anniversary Date
April 27, 2014
I love Spring! It's my favorite time of the year. I actually find people to be a little friendlier: they smile more, they are more relaxed, their eyes are brighter, their steps are quicker, there's a lilt of happiness in their voice.
Lesson From the Freeways: Longtime HIV Survival and the Things Money Can't Replace
March 3, 2014
It's been said that you aren't a true Angeleno until you have your first traffic accident on our freeways. Well without having a true competition in our household, the fact remains that I beat my husband in this category by approximately six years. He was just indoctrinated this past week in his own five-car pile-up. Luckily in both our cases no one was seriously injured, but the sight of the ambulances, fire crews, police cars and navigating multiple cars to the side of the freeway in ongoing busy traffic is unnerving itself. Then there's the damage to the vehicles, the insurance claims, the inconvenience of repairs, rental cars and any out-of-pocket expenses. Needless to say it's a hell of a way to become a true Angeleno!
We All Fall, and We All Get Up
January 14, 2014
2014. Wow. Just looking at that number in print can be astounding for many. For me truthfully it makes me both excited and just really really tired.
Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!
Lynda Arnold, RN, BSN, MBA, was one of the first health care workers to go public after her occupational infection with HIV by an accidental needlestick in 1992. She successfully launched a nationwide campaign for safer needles in hospitals and medical facilities which resulted in the passage of federal legislation mandating the use of such devices in facilities nationwide to protect all health care workers from accidents such as hers. For many years she was a sought-after speaker on living with HIV/AIDS as well as health care worker safety issues, and she traveled the globe educating others. She garnered many awards, national distinctions, authored two children's books, and was the subject of an award-winning documentary. After the birth of her youngest son, Lynda chose to step away from the public eye and focus on raising her young family without the spotlight. As a blogger for TheBody.com, this marks her reentry into the public eye -- 20 years after her infection. She can be reached for further engagements, commentary and questions through her email.
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May 6, 2015 - Looking Forward to the Next 22! A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
February 10, 2015 - Hanging on for the Ride: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
November 29, 2014 - Shaking It Off This World AIDS Day: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
November 9, 2014 - So Very Thankful! A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
September 30, 2014 - Checking Back in After My Long Hospitalizations: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
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