ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for January, 2008



It never rains does it, but it pours, especially here in Blackburn where believe me, it never stops. By the same token, though presumably not only in Blackburn, why does everything go wrong in life or break at the same time? It seems it only needs one thing to go wrong and then everything else follows suite – like the human body for example, one part of you stops working and that affects everything else. You take a pill for one ailment and then need to be prescribed another to compensate for whatever havoc to your innards the first pill is causing. A bit like credit cards, you use one to pay off the other (as I am doing at this very moment) resulting in an ever mounting debt – in other words robbing Peter to pay Paul, which sounds like the only available option at the moment, although I’ve never really thought of myself as a prospective mugger.

It’s Sod’s law, isn’t it, that when you run out of money everything starts to break and therefore needs to be fixed, which also means paid for thus incurring even more debt, not to mention stress if you haven’t got the necessary spondoolas to pay for it. Whoever Sod was and in direct reference to my last blog, ‘It’s all in a name,’ he was obviously another one who felt obliged to live up to his. The same applies to that Murphy chap who came up with a similar law roughly based on the same principles, in that things will go wrong in any given situation if you give them half a chance. The two of them obviously got their heads together and I wouldn’t be surprised if Murphy, being Irish, had something to do with Sodom and Begorrah, although he may just have been swearing at the time as the Irish are prone to do.

The final straw for me though this week and the one that broke the camel’s back, causing me to buy another packet, even though for financial as well as health reasons I’d vowed to give the filthy habit up, was the brakes going (or not as the case happened to be) on my car. They just stopped working for reasons best known to themselves without any prior warning – and how dangerous is that? My son, it has to be said, had been driving the car at the time and does have a tendency to drive like a rally/taxi driver, so perhaps that had something to do with it?

Brakes are very symbolic in the fact that without them you can no longer bring things (aside from the car) to a grinding halt and that’s exactly what’s happening with me right now and my other nasty habit of mounting debts – sounds a bit rude doesn’t it? I asked Rocket Man (my local garage is called Rockets) why the brakes had suddenly decided to give up on me and could my son’s rally/taxi driving tendencies have been the root cause? Rocket man simply sighed and shaking his oily head said the problem with these old Mondeos (how very dare he?) is that parts do tend to wear out. I remember my mum saying exactly the same thing about old age and she was right, as my hips can now physically vouch. I then asked Rocket Man if he could be a bit more explicit, so he reluctantly dragged himself away from the big end he was tampering with, someone else’s luckily, and patiently took the time to explain.

“You see, like anything else on a car, over the course of time the brakes start to suffer from wear and tare, first the cable starts to wear, then it wears a bit more, then it starts to weep, then it weeps a bit more and finally it wears out completely and gives up the ghost.”

Rocket Man must have come to the rapid conclusion that I had developed an unhealthy attachment to my poor ‘old’ Mondeo or wondered what he’d said to upset me so, because I suddenly burst into tears. “That sounds just like me,” I sobbed, physically and mentally identifying with a non human object, a mere car (unless it was Herbie or Knight Rider of course) and a Ford Mondeo at that. See how far my counselling skills have advanced? I can even display empathy for a car. But of course it wasn’t the car at all, although I have grown fond of it over the years and it has served me well and probably would have lasted me all my lady driver’s life had my son not taken over the steering wheel reigns. No, I was thinking about myself and how I was at my absolute wits end and about to break down mentally as well as pysically at the side of the road. Rocket Man probably thought I was stark raving nuts, although he tried his best to be sympathetic. “I know what you mean,” he said, but did he really? He kindly offered to check the car’s fluids, as well as tyre and oil pressures whilst he was at it and I was thinking, I wish he could do the same for me as my pressure, as in blood, was definitely at boiling point. And as for my tyres, as in spare, they would probably benefit more from a visit to the gym as opposed to a garage.

Luckily the brakes were fixed in time for me to make it for my hospital appointment at the GUM clinic, where I had to explain to my doctor why I had yet to embark on the new regime of medication he’d prescribed for me, which is still lurking in the fridge next to some melted after eights left over from Christmas. My counsellor, who originally intended to tap and zap me in order to hopefully rid me of the fear of my impending appointment at the colposcopy clinic to endure, yet again, the dreaded camera up the fandango, realised I was in a sorry state so talked to me instead. We finally clarified (counsellor speak) that what I was missing was a bolt hole in order to escape from my son, in particular when he was acting paranoid or worse, practising his DJ skills. But where to bolt to, that was the question? Reverting once again to my last blog and the derivation of place names, the thought occurred to me that if it’s all in a name, maybe I should try Bolton? I’ve just finished reading Peter Kay’s hilarious autobiography ‘The Sound of Laughter’ and he’s got a bolt hole in Bolton at his mum’s house – or did he finally manage to buy her that bungalow? He’s a cheery enough chap, who speaks very highly of his humble hometown and refers to it as his beloved Bolton. If only I could feel the same way about Blackburn. My beloved Blackburn – I don’t think so. Come to think of it, Peter Kay is doing very well for himself these days, so maybe I should rob him instead of Paul?

My mum, who to my great sorrow passed away two years ago and no longer lives close by to provide me with the necessary bolthole that I so desperately lack (and never did get her heart’s desire of a bungalow by the way) is now being accused by my son of stealing his feather duster. Before you get the wrong idea and think my son is overly clean and house-proud, not a bit of it. Although the feather duster aspect does relate to ‘house’ and even ‘proud’, as he uses it to dust his horrible Techno and House records, the collection of which he is obsessively proud of.

I had what I took to be an inspirational dream the other night in which a Saint, this gorgeous black guy in a white robe, appeared to me and told me I was building God’s house. I googled him on the internet, like you do, under ‘Saints’ and he turned out to be Saint Martin de Porres, which means Saint Martin of the broom. Now, in retrospect, I fear I may have misinterpreted the dream somewhat, because in view of my slovenly ways and his holy association with the broom, rather than telling me I was building God’s house it seems more likely that he was telling me to sweep it – or at least sweep my own house. But when you are feeling down and trying to live with ever mounting debts, an in house DJ and faulty brakes, not to mention HIV, sweeping is the last thing on your mind. Maybe my mum can come and give me a spiritual hand and whilst she’s at it, make my debts disappear with a wave of her magic feather duster – like Samantha’s mum out of “Bewitched.”

My friend Adders was rushed into hospital last week where they whipped his appendix out and whilst they were having a route around they discovered he had spare pockets in his bowels. I suppose if you were to have spare pockets anywhere your bowels would be a handy place to have them, although that makes me think of that advert for those breakfast things you pop in the toaster called ‘Hot Pockets’.

I know what I’d like to find in my spare pockets, a bit of spare cash. Come on mum, wave your magic feather duster and see what you can do.


It’s all in a name, or so they say, therefore you should be very careful when choosing names for your children, because, a bit like the expression, ‘be careful what you wish for because it might come true,’ the same applies to names, as people tend to live up to them.

Take me for instance, I am a prime example. My mother chose to call me Adrienne, because she hated nicknames and wrongly believed that my name could not be shortened – and look what happened. I used to make a joke about it and say, I don’t care what you call me as long as you don’t call me Ades – and now I still make a joke of it and say, well, I am only living up to my name, because not only can my Christian name be shortened to an anti-social disease, which I now have the misfortune to be on first name terms with, the Spanish word for AIDS is Sida – and my surname is Seed. Was someone trying to tell me something one wonders?

Although you can’t choose your surname, you can (and probably should) try to change it if at all possible if it has symptomatic connotations, to avoid the future pitfalls of trying to live up to it. Take Amy Winehouse for example, who knows, she may have turned out completely differently if her surname had been Greenhouse, in which case, instead of choosing the demon drink, she might have opted for tomatoes and not gone and dyed her hair blonde, which she definitely doesn’t suit.

If it’s true that people do live up to their names, then by rights, Stephen Fry should work in a chip shop, but then he must have some affiliation with the trade because he was on QI the other night talking about deep fried mars bars. According to Stephen Fry in regard to surnames, all the Nutters are found in Blackburn, the Willies in Taunton and the majority of Bottoms, as well as Swains (pronounced swines) in Huddersfield. I can personally vouch for this, as I once had the misfortune to be married to a man from Huddersfield and although he wasn’t called Swain, he should have been.

It is strange how surnames are often applicable, for instance, I was in Staples the other day getting some photocopies done and I fool you not, the man who served me, according to his name badge, was called Pamphlette – and this has to be more than mere coincidence, I was in Blackburn library today selecting some books and the man who checked them out for me was also called Pamphlette. Now either that Pamphlette chap puts it about a bit, or there is definite truth in the fact that it is all in a name. My cousin Barb, who is also renowned for her loud voice, works with a teacher called Mrs Laudun – try saying that with a Lancashire accent. Then there is that poor footballer called Waddle who hopefully doesn’t live up to his unfortunate surname on the pitch.

My first name has always given me problems, because back in those distant times when I was growing up, it was very unusual, if not unheard of, for a girl to be called Adrienne. Adrian was a boy’s name and as a rule a posh boy’s name, so everyone, unless they saw me of course, in which case hopefully they changed their minds, always thought I was a boy – or worse, a posh boy (as opposed to a posh spice) hence, when I joined a book club, I was sent, ‘Biggles the Pilot’ instead of, ‘In the Fifth at Mallory Towers’ – and I once rushed home from school with my girlfriends for my eagerly awaited birthday party, only to find my birthday cake surrounded by a blue ribbon and decorated with a row of skulking Red Indians, with in prime position, a cowboy in billowing chaps hurling a lasso.

I believe it is common practice for people to give their private parts pet names and I once had a boyfriend, who for some strange reason best known to himself, called his ‘Susan’. Maybe he was a staunch fan of Johnny Cash and had been listening to, ‘A boy named Sue’ and taken the message directly to his heart – or to his parts – or maybe he was just plain peculiar.

Does the same rule apply to places’ names one wonders, in which case best to avoid Lake Titicaca. My Spanish ‘partner’, who is called Luis, which always gets pronounced Louise in English, thus causing confused people to ask me, ‘How come you’ve got a boy’s name and he’s got a girl’s name?’ As anyone who knows anyone Spanish will know, ham or jamon is of very important national interest and therefore a subject for infinite discussion. On a recent visit to England, he became fascinated by the fact that lots of towns have the word ham in them – for instance, Birmingham, Lewisham, Nottingham, to name but a few. He became even more animada, as they say in Spain, to note the Royal connection to jamon, as in Buckingjamon Palace and Jamonpton court – not to mention the obsession the English have with small furry animals, such as the hamster, at the mention of which menu jokes about ‘melon and Palma hamster’, ‘cheese and hamster sandwiches’ etc. abounded. Further mirth followed, in relation to my Irishmen forebears, when we drove through a small town in Lancashire called Padiham – paddyjamon.

Anyway, if it’s all true and it really is all in a name, at least my surname isn’t Ramsbottom, or worse shufflebottom – although that might be easier to live up to – especially if you are a dog and you’ve got worms.

HGV’s n HIV’s

A brand New Year and interesting things are happening at Body Positive North West where a new one minute POC (Point of Care) HIV testing facility will soon be available. This is great news, because aside from saving lives, it will also give people the chance to take an HIV test without the usual torment of the three week wait for the results. Apparently, according to a recent pilot survey conducted down south where long distance lorry drivers (not pilots!) were targeted in lay byes and asked if they would subject themselves to the one minute test, most drivers agreed to take part. All well and good but I wouldn’t liked to have been driving on the same motorway had any one of those HGV drivers tested HIV positive. Who and where will they think of targeting next one wonders – the drive in at Macdonalds perhaps?

Talking of HGV’s as opposed to HIV’s reminds me of the time I first disclosed my positive status to my fellow counselling students. Afterwards, driving home, I was starting to regret my irrevocable action, thinking that I could never take it back and from that day forth they would never look at me in the same light, ever again. Would they still want to have anything to do with me I tortured myself – or even sit next to me for that matter? I was so immersed in these negative thought patterns that when I approached a road junction and saw a huge sign up ordering HGVs to take Peel street, I was so paranoid and worried about becoming a social outcast, even on the roads, I thought it meant HIV’s – so I did.

The sales rep for the one minute test, who was sporting a fabulous silk tie emblazoned with condoms, handed out some healthcare leaflets on how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections that cannot be eradicated from the body. One of our Scottish members perusing the leaflet read out ‘och, genital herpes’, but because of his accent, I thought he said genital hairpiece, which caused all kinds of bizarre visions to suddenly spring to mind and gave a whole new slant to the ‘Brazilian’. Is there such a thing as a genital toupee I wonder? In the name of research I did google it, but nothing came up. Have I finally managed to outfox the internet?

Scottish accents can be hard to understand at the best of times, especially if the speaker talks very fast which is generally the case, especially with Glaswegians. I remember I was travelling home from London on a plane full of businessmen and got into conversation with the Scottish man seated next to me about the high cost of mobile phone calls. He told me he would never make a call in Lancashire because the people talked so slowly and in such a drawn out fashion, that even the shortest conversation would cost him a fortune. “Take the word June for example,” he pontificated his theory, “In Lancashire they would say Joooooon. Well, what’s wrong with Jin?” he demanded in his strong Scottish brogue.

I’ve also had problems with the Lancashire accent all my life, even though mine is not particularly strong and I’ve often been cruelly mimicked by southerners or posh speakers, especially with regard to words such as bath as opposed to ‘barth’ and duck as opposed to ‘deck’. Informing a very posh person once that we’d called our new puppy Tubby and wary of being mimicked, I tried to say it like she would i.e. Tabby. At which point she shrieked back, “Tabby? Fancy calling a dog Tabby. I thought cats were called Tabby not dogs.”

Any similar experiences for other hiviners?