Get Outta My Head, You Crazy Virus!
The Stigma of It All
June 19, 2013
1992 was supposed to be a great year for me. I had just graduated from college with my nursing degree. I was ready to take on the world. I had chosen to focus on critical care nursing and found a job at my local hospital in the Intensive Care unit. I was pumped and excited for all the days and events and challenges that would lie ahead. September 9, 1992, changed all that for me. On a routine day, in a routine evening shift, we had an emergency admission. I under my preceptor's care was responsible for getting my patient admitted into the ICU and stabilized. I followed all standard universal precautions; I wore my gloves, I took my time and as I inserted the catheter into my patient's vein to start his intravenous line, I removed the needle. At that second the patient moved his arm and the needle jabbed my left palm leaving a half moon style jagged tear in my palm. It had sliced through my gloves.
Battling My Most Recent Loss
May 29, 2013
Who knew that losing my driver's license would be such a life changing experience for me in LA? I remember (well ok I don't really remember!) but I have the psychologist reports that suggested I have my license reevaluated nearly 8 years ago due to my cognitive decline ... but I didn't really take them seriously ... I have the multiple speeding tickets and the fact that I imposed limitations on myself to stop driving late at night when I felt less safe behind the wheel due to my issues with visual spatial limitations and night vision. But still even when the young psychiatrist sat across from me in the hospital during my recent summertime 3 and 1/2 week inpatient stay and explained that they had reported me to the DMV for dementia, I had no clue as to the wretched impact that losing my license would have.
Baby Steps! 20 Years Later ...
May 28, 2013
20 years, 20 years, 20 years ... the words and images race through my mind. There was a time I thought I'd be dead before my oldest child reached the age of 7. This year we celebrate his 18th birthday. There was a time I thought I'd be dead and wouldn't need to worry about growing old, debt or finances, long-term relationships and other non-related health issues. There was a time when AIDS and HIV consumed my every waking thought, action, goal and outlook. Today HIV/AIDS is something I live with; it doesn't define who I am. There was a time when I fought publicly and proudly, standing in solidarity with other PWA's, ready to fight every new discriminatory turn and glance ... 20 years, 20 years, 20 years ... 20 years I survive this infection with a virus that has made itself comfortable in my bloodstream and has literally nested in my brain.
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.
Subscribe to Lynda's Blog:
December 6, 2013 - Amid HIV Stigma and Negativity, Celebrating the "Lollipops and Butterflies": A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
October 29, 2013 - Restarting HIV Meds and Trying Magnet Therapy: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
October 16, 2013 - Why Cry When You Can Laugh About It? A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
September 23, 2013 - Talking to My Teens About Life, Sex and HIV: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
September 9, 2013 - Happy 21st Anniversary to Me -- Giving Thanks for a Precious Gift: A Blog Entry by Lynda Arnold
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