So I'm taking ARV's.
Sounds like the latest gas-guzzling 4X4 from Pajero.
Or some super-cool new street drug that with one hit can send you on a round trip through the milky way, with a stopover in Heaven and possible delays in Hell.
ARV's are way cooler than that.
They are anti-retroviral drugs!
They can prevent the contraction of HIV, when a doctor exposes herself to it while she is taking blood, very diligently and gently and with gloves on, from her HIV positive patient who moved during the procedure resulting in the bloody needle piercing her thumb.
This is only like the fourth freaking time this has happened to me.
The first time was when I was a fourth year medical student doing my paediatrics rotation. The poor paediatrics registrar was struggling to gain intravenous access on a very sick neonate with veins smaller than the cannula diameter. I was helping her hold the neonate still while she attempted the procedure for the 20th time. After failing, for the 20th time, and understandably frustrated, she threw the needle into the sharps bin. Except that it didn't make it into the yellow sharps container. Instead I watched, in slow motion, as it did a spectacular somersault through the air and embedded itself, rather painfully, in my thigh.
I was distraught, and upset and got loads of sympathy from family and friends.
I started the ARV's immediately and sweated through the ensuing 28 days, petrified of sero-converting to HIV, and ultimately testing HIV negative. Phew!
That was five years and three similar events ago.
This time I didn't even tell my colleagues until someone saw me squeezing out the blood from my wound. It was near the end of the afternoon shift and I was completely disinterested in myself and my patients. (horror)
But my concerned colleagues forced me to go and open up a hospital folder, have my blood taken and start the ARV's.
So now I'm taking them. twice a day.
These drugs are brilliant, but can result in nasty side effects such as:
Bone marrow Suppression
Luckily I have only suffered mild nausea and muscle pains thus far.
Oh, and I've also suffered at the hands of Dr MB's torturous pranks.
After behaving very sweetly, and drawing my blood very gently, and phoning the laboratory for my initial test results before starting the ARV's...he then stole one of my personal patient stickers from my file, and stuck it into the front room's patient log book along with this made up diagnosis for all to see:
Patient: Dr S
Working diagnosis: Retained foreign body, +/- ?sex toy??
I eventually got my own back though with this entry into the logbook:
Patient: Dr MB
Working diagnosis: ?Haemaphrodite. Vaginal Bleeding, Grade IV prolapsed rectum and dysmorphic buried penis.
But that's my style.
I'm ruthless with my retaliations.
I guess that's one way of making fun of a ridiculous situation.
With almost every second patient that we see being HIV positive, it's inevitable that one of us will be accidentally exposed to the virus while trying to treat patients.
It's so common that I don't think I've met one doctor who hasn't been on post-HIV-exposure prophylactic ARV's.
Which is why I keep reminding my husband that he could have married a prostitute, as both doctors and ladies of the night run the risk of contracting HIV from their professions.