Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On the Mend:
Pneumonia, Levofloxacin and Me

It's been a week since I was released from the respiratory ward at Davies Hospital and you can imagine how much pleasure it gives me to report that I am truly on mend. After a week of the levofloxacin antibiotic regimen, and using the albuterol inhaler, this nasty bout of pneumonia is practically all gone.

I want to share ten random thoughts generated from this health scare episode, before slowly getting back to normal blogging, political advocacy and living the gay life in San Francisco.

1. Many thanks to all of you who either sent emails or old-fashioned get well cards on recycled paper, or left voice mail messages wishing me a speedy and fully recovery. Receiving all that love and goodwill greatly helped elevate my mood.

2. My boyfriend Mike deserves a medal, maybe two, for his not just his unstinting tending to my needs but also for his natural upbeat nature. He found ways to make me laugh and smile, even when the pneumonia was kicking my tush.

3. I spoke with my regular physician yesterday. The results of the regular blood draw from early April, about nine-days before I went to the emergency room, showed a slight increase in t-cells, up to 425, my HIV viral load remained undetectable and all other reading were good to excellent. So how the hell did I catch pneumonia? 

The hospital physicians and my doctor said as bad as this regular pneumonia was, it was not pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), now known as pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia. They say I had community acquired pneumonia, meaning I didn't get infected in a healthcare facility.

As a person with AIDS, even with good blood numbers, I was still at-risk from factors such as the weather and being around people with pneumonia germs.

4. I count my blessings that during my hospitalization, every time the nurses or doctors came into my room, before they touched me they either donned gloves or used Purell on their hands. Let me express gratitude to the staffers for doing all in their power to prevent me from getting a staph infection.

5. During one unpleasant coughing fit, I thought about my old friend and fellow activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca. He suffers from asthma and I experienced a small bit what he and other asthmatic folks endure. I wouldn't wish that frightful gasping for air on anyone.

6. Before I turned the corner and genuinely felt improvement, Mike claims he came home from work and found me watching the 1960s "Beach Blanket Bingo" movie on TV and I was mumbling, "Forget Fellini, Kurosawa and Bresson!" What I said over the bongo-playing was "Pasolini, Truffaut and Dreyer forever!"

7. It was beneficial to regaining my wellness to Skype with my blood family back East. Is it just me, or do you also find it easier to laugh when looking at people on the screen and not just speaking on the phone?

8. Today is my final day of levofloxacin and I can't wait to start drinking eating probiotic foods such a cabbage and yogurt, most likely not at the same time. ;-)

9. Just a reminder that May 17 is IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and I expect to soon help my colleagues in Gays Without Borders make this year's event in San Francisco our best yet. 

10. My doctor says I can begin to ride my bike again at the end of the week, as long as I continue to improve. The first place I want to go to on my bike is to an acupuncture clinic.

Let me end by wishing you and yours the best of health, and a joyous spring.

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