ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

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

Archive for October, 2010

Woman’s Hour


Tommorrow morning (monday 1st November) sometime between 10am and 11am I will be speaking to Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4 about HIV – am getting nervous, what if I swear!!!!

Update – Just carried a tray downstairs and the cups were rattling!

Got mi’ rollers up too – talk about Mrs Overall!!

It’s Raining Pens!

Don’t know why but whilst I was sat in the hospital waiting to have my bloods done to find out what was going on with my kidneys, I started thinking about quills. Thank God we don’t have to use quills anymore I thought to myself.

At least I hope I thought it to myself as I’m a bit prone to speaking my random thoughts (and they are quite random) out loud these days, which I believe is an age or even (heaven forefend) an HIV related condition, although I’m not that old that I ever had recourse to use a quill or, thank God, pluck a chicken!

However, I can remember ink wells in school desks, stained fingers and spare nibs – a thing you stuck on the end of your pen, not something you ordered from the Chinese. That was before fountain pens came along with the little lever to suck up the ink and if you were very good Santa might include a Parker (the be all and end all of fountain pens) in your Christmas stocking.

Good job I wasn’t muttering the words stockings, stained fingers and sucking things up out loud, or worse plucking, especially in the GUM clinic waiting room.

Fancy having to write your diary the erstwhile blog of yore with a freshly plucked feather. How primitive writing with a feather or even a fountain pen sounds now, especially with regard to computers. I suppose younger readers might not even know what I’m talking about. Imagine what Shakespeare could have done with a computer, although spell check would have been correcting him all the time with his thines dosts doeths and werts – although I don’t think he had werts, unless he kept them hidden under his pointy beard.

Instead of writing, “Hang him with his pen and his ink horn about his neck,” he would have to write instead, “Hang him with his pen stick and his eye pad round his neck.”

“The critic is an overgoer with pen-envy.”

I’m not sure who wrote that but it sounds like Freud.

“The moving finger (mouse) writes and having writ moves on.” Omar Khayyam.

Poor Omar obviously didn’t even have a feather let alone a nib because he had to use his finger.

These days you can’t really call someone ‘his nibs’ anymore, slang word for a posh person. According to Wikipedia (and where would we be without it) there is some evidence that ‘nibs is a variant form of ‘nabs‘, and that both may have their origin in the ancient word neb, meaning a beak or nose, or more generally, the protruding bit of anything.


Also, nib itself was once used as a slang term for a gentleman, as was another old slang word still to be heard, nob.

Don’t suppose you could mention his nob either – at least not in polite company.

Anyway, some medicinal facts. Apparently, the tenovir in Truvada can make the kidneys leak phosphorous. High phosphate will eventually leave the bones weak since the body steals the phosphate it needs from the bone.

So that’s what’s happening with my elbow, it’s not tennis elbow at all, it’s robbery.

Change of meds now definitely on the cards. Off we go again. That’s all my life is these days, meds, meds, meds. But there again, where would we be without them? Maybe the title of this blog should have been it’s raining meds. Oh, how different my life would have been without HIV and what might have been – deep sigh.

However, its no good thinking like that. According to another great scribe (don’t know if he was a feather plucker like Bill)

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these; it might have been.



What has water got against me? First it was the leaky ceiling in Ibiza, then the floods, then my tap dropped off followed by my dishwasher packing in, now the hospital has called me after my recent three monthly review and there’s a problem with my kidneys.

Now, not being a medical expert I’m not really sure whether this is water related or not, but I do know you’re supposed to drink a lot of water to keep them functioning properly and if it’s the wrong kind of water you get kidney stones, like poor Luis in my blog, “Pricks and Stones.”

Coincidentally, there have been recent reports about Truvada and kidney problems, but as there are detrimental side effects to all HIV drugs I didn’t give it much mind. Now it looks like I will have to change meds – again – which is a shame because I really liked Truvada (sounds like she was my best friend at boarding school). But we got on really well, much better than with that bloody Kivexa (sounds like school bully).

Wonder what the next one will be called? Why don’t they come up with a wonder drug that would cure us all with a wave of their magic wand – abracadabra.


Abracadabra is the magic word used in conjuring tricks which historically was believed to have healing (as opposed to Austin) powers. Back in the 2nd century malaria sufferers wore amulets containing the word written in the form of a triangle which allegedly diminished the hold of the patient of the spirit of the disease. Maybe we should try it for HIV.

A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B – R
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A – B
A – B – R – A – C – A – D – A
A – B – R – A – C – A – D
A – B – R – A – C – A
A – B – R – A – C
A – B – R – A
A – B – R
A – B

According to the encyclopaedia Britannia it was also used as a magical formula by the Gnostics and I know what you are thinking, that I don’t know how to spell. But agnostics and Gnostics are two separate entities and you have to be an agnostic before you can become a Gnostic – then you just knock the ‘a’ off.

Now of course the word adacadabra is used mainly by stage magicians and the odd Lancashire witch, along with hocus pocus which according to wikipedia derives from, “ochus bochus – a magician and demon of the north.”

Do they mean that slimy Paul Daniels who in fact is a southerner and thank god was knocked out of ‘strictly’ at an early stage otherwise I would have had to stop watching. It’s no good, I will have to ask Stephen Fry who apparently knows everything. I keep tweeting him but he never replies.

I will leave you with this thought inspiring quote which sounds like something dear Stephen would say.

“When the eye and the ear of the beholder are both earnestly busied the trick is not so easily discovered nor the impostor discerned.”

Hmmm – have to remember that.

Anyway, note to scientists, medical researchers, Gilead and all big drug companies and even Stephen Fry – what are you waiting for – abracabadravir the drug that makes HIV go away. I wish!

Elbow Grease!

Holidays can be more trouble than they are bloody worth I say. I’ve come back from mine suffering from the Benidorm bark, a persistent cough, normally suffered by ageing revellers and saga louts, whiplash and what’s commonly known as ‘Tennis Elbow’ – or maybe that should be renamed ‘Ryan Air Elbow,’ caused by trying to lift heavy hand baggage into the overhead lockers.

 The holiday, if that’s what you could call it, was fraught with danger from start to finish and included being attacked by and fending off highly infectious foreign bugs; hurricane like winds accompanied by torrential rain and terrifying electrical storms and ending with a car accident on the way to the airport.

In in all fairness, aside from the treacherous road conditions, this was probably caused by the purchase of some new boots from cheap boot shop en route and my friend’s foot slipping on the clutch – and we were laughing (your honour) fit to bust at the time. That’s when old Spanish woman ploughed straight into the back of us with a shattering of headlights and the crumpling of her bonnet – as in front and not the one she was wearing at the time.

“Lie to the police,” my friend begged as we waited at the roadside with slow moving traffic giving us dirty looks and hurling abuse (as only the Spanish can) out of their windows for holding them up.

“Don’t need to lie, was obviously silly old bat’s fault for being less than two chevrons,” I told her.

“Chevrons?” questioned my friend, who took her driving test many moons ago and in all likelihood was still a bit drunk from night before. Think she thought a chevron was something similar to a cognac. “You talk to silly old bat, your Spanish better than mine,” she pushed me in direction of silly old bat in question, who was furiously jabbering in Spanish into her mobile.

“Yo calling policia,” she waved mobile at me.

“Can’t me and ‘yo’ just exchange phone numbers and number plates,” I wheedled, “am on way to airport and will miss plane,” at least that’s what I think I said, but with my Spanish you never know.

Stood at the side of rain swept road waiting for policia to come, umbrella blown inside out like some sort of bedraggled Mary Poppins. Anyone who has had dealings with the Spanish Policia will know that they are not known for rushing or being sympathetic, especially to blonde Hingleesh women driving four wheeled drives.

“Por favor hofficer, am on way to aeropuerto and will miss avion,” I smile sweetly. But did hofficer care? Not a jot.

Would have missed plane as predicted, but pesky French at it again, not letting anyone fly over their airspace, so fortunately plane delayed. By the time flight was called for boarding the weather had deteriorated to point where we were all nearly blown off steps, clothes soaked, hair plastered to heads. Ryan Hair! Horrible dog like smell of people drying out as we sat crammed in plane waiting for contrary French to give us a slot. Filthy tempered Ryan Hair hostess, from who knows where, telling us if we didn’t shut up and listen to safety instructions, in the unlikely event of plane landing on water (or even taking off in water on flooded airfield) captain would not take off, passengers would be thrown off, baggage unloaded etc.

Someone at the back end of plane tittered.

“I have varned you already,” she hissed through slit of painted lips, “zat if you don’t shut up ziz plane vill not take hoff.”

Didn’t think there was much chance of that anyway to be frank, considering extreme weather conditions – but somehow it did.

Safely back home, but now suffering from after effects of bug, whiplash and Ryan/tennis elbow. Well, am presuming tis tennis (or Ryan) elbow. Elbow very painful, cannot lift arm, drink cup of tea, unfasten bra etc. What else could it be? Please not arthritis setting in, or bone problems caused by HIV meds – know am short of vitamin D like many people on medication.

Looked up symptoms on internet, symptoms same as tennis elbow (have never played tennis in entire life) but could also be RSI repetitive strain injury. Now what do I do that is repetitive, apart from possibly repeating myself as befits a lady of my advanced years? Paint, although haven’t been doing much of that lately. Drink lots of cups of tea of course, too many probably, which involves the lifting of heavy goods i.e. beakers. Tap tap tapping on computer and much mouse clicking. Resting heavy head in hand in despair supported by ageing elbow thinking how to clear credit card debts, and – oh no, sad but true, smoking. How many times a day do I raise disgusting fag to lips to inhale calming camel or click cigarette lighter? Even that needs muscles and the flexing of tendons.

That’s what I’ve got – smoking elbow. Sounds like a seamy club, “The Smokin’ Elbow,” or country and western group.

Change habits suggests internet. Oh dear, all my favourite habits in one fell swoop and can last for months say other people who have suffered from same complaint. Will have to drink tea out of delicate china ‘I’m a lady’ cup with raised little finger, but at the moment impossible as that would be finger gymnastics beyond my reduced capabilities.

As if all that wasn’t enough, arrived home to be confronted by yet more water problems, am really starting to become totally averse to water and all its associated components. The head dropped off my sprinkler tap in the kitchen. Tried to fix it with masking tape and wonder putty, but heavy head (bit like mine) too heavy and dropped off again. Now water spurts over side of sink, so get soaked every time I wash up or try to fill kettle. Looked up price of new taps on th‘internet. Why stupid taps so expensive? No way can afford them so will have to live with broken tap for now, along with smoking elbow.

What can I do that doesn’t involve an arm, an elbow or water?

As person living with HIV I am used to being given the elbow, but not living without one.

Suggestions anyone?

Guilt Trip

So, why am I feeling guilty then? I’m on a well deserved holiday and everyone deserves a holiday don´t they – although coming back to Ibiza is never really a holiday for me, at least not in the true sense of the word. For me, Ibiza and `problemos´ always seem to go hand in hand.

For starters there was a National strike planned for the day after I got here but the baggage handlers decided to practice a day in advance by losing my suitcase. Take note – always pack meds in airline bag. Then after I´d gone through the trauma of arguing with surly Spanish officials and thought of having to wear Luis´s cut off pantalones for duration, it (according to surly Spanish official) just turned up.

“Was on carousel all time,” she insisted.

Was not – she dirty liar- or I am going blind or mad or both! 

All shops, bars and restaurants obliged to shut today, people advised to stay at home or risk being branded filthy scabs and targeted by picketers. But of course, being Ibiza, like the smoking ban, thankfully no one took a blind bit of notice.

Then it rained, thought I had escaped from the rain but wasn´t to be. Luckily didn´t last long. But then water in another of its wettest and mutifarious forms seemed determined to plague me. Woke up after restless night, still feeling guilty about being away and stressing about why couldn´t solve crossword puzzle, ten letter word starting with C for miserly person – (as if it mattered was only Daily Mirror not fr*****Times)  and listening to Luis talking away to self  in dreams.  But instead of usual throaty growl was more like a delicate whisper, something along the lines of (if my Spanish is to be trusted ) – a simple handful will do.  

A simple handful of what  I wanted to know? Cornflakes, Diamonds – maybe best not to ask, but I did.

“Handful of what?” I questioned delicately in his ear, because it´s dangerous to wake a dreaming person, especially a fiery Spanish hombre.

Couldn´t get back to sleep after that, brain spinning – ten letter word for miserly person, handful of what?

Could hear shower pelting down when I woke up, thought it was Luis, but Luis gone out, water pouring down through ceiling from flat above. Ran upstairs in jim jams and banged on door.

“Who is?”

“Is me woman from down below, mucho agua coming from techo (roof).”

“I is not washing clothes in the bath,” voice defended from behind closed door, so obviously woman was. Eventually washerwoman let me in. How many wild haired half naked gyspy looking women can you get in one small flat – they were all dancing to rumba music and smoking, was like mini Carmen factory.

“I ees not washin clothesses in bath,” Mrs Carmen washerwoman with biggest bosoms and tattoos keeps repeating, leading me to bathroom. “Aaah mira, si, si, si, hombre has had ducha,” she points to sulty gitano man hunched in chair, line of beer cans lined up in front of him. To be quite frank, he didn´t look like he´d showered for quite some time, but it wasn´t my business to point this out.

“You want cerveza?” he thrusts can in my direction.

“Bit early for me actually, but muchas gracias anyway, thing is am concerned that next time you take ducha, you end up in bath with me.” Gitano doesn´t look too averse to the idea, even though not looking my best, pickhammers on etc.

Quick rumba in pickhammers with Mrs Carmen, then we go downstairs to show her gaping hole in bathroom ceiling. “I leaving next week, flat too small,” she says disinterestedly.

I should say so – Mrs Carmen washerwoman needs small hotel, Chinese laundry or entire gypsy encampment to house or wash clothes for her harem.  We go back up arm in arm (Mrs Carmen a bit overfamiliar for my liking) so she can call owner of flat.  “He very old hombre,” she tells me. What she didn´t tell me was that he is obviously mad and has lost his marbles.

Ten minutos later my front doorbell goes, is very old man with estate agent from office next door. I show them bathroom ceiling.

“Who you and what you doing in my flat?” asks old man.

“Is not your flat , you flat upstairs,” I assure him.

Agent points to water dripping from ceiling.  

“My flat below,” he tells agent. Agent points out that his flat above. This goes on for a while, then as they are leaving, old man ask me, “Why you change furniture?”

“This not my furniture,” he tells agent. 

No, because its not your flat you stupid old marble-less git.

Who knows when the ceiling will be fixed, marble-less man will just keep telling insurance company is fault of woman from other flat.

Never a dull moment. Bathroom definitley not safe place to be until roof fixed, so think we´ll be having a very dirty weekend – although chance would be a fine thing.

That Luis in heap big trouble though. For three nights whilst indulging in my five o´clock in the morning Frosties or Crunchy Nut habit he  has listened to me moaning on that Spanish Frosties have no sugar, that they were in fact disgusting, like eating cardboard. That the trade descriptions board needed to be told, a complaint put in about the lack of sugar. Then this morning, sat there dismally crunching away, I finally sussed what the dirty trickster had done. He´d put a half eaten packet of Special K left over from my sisters visit back  in June in an old Frosties carton. Now what kind of sick and twisted mind could come up with such a cunning and dirty trick.?

When confronted, Luis just smiled his toothless grin and raised his shoulders in the famous Spanish shrug – “what could I do ?” gesture.

“But Luis, for three nights, three torturous sugarless nights you actually let me believe that they were fr**** frosties. How could you?”

Luis hangs head pretending to be shamed, but sniggering secretly to self.

“You will suffer for this,” I warned him, “I will get my venganza (revenge)”

Still trying to think of a suitable torture for him – having to sit through Friday and Saturday night of the X factor in a Hinglish bar was not nearly henuff. 

But all told, I have to say Ibiza is a little slice of paradise and a welcome escape from gloomy Blackburn. I called home and predictably it´s raining cats and frogs.

So do I still feel guilty  about being away – fraid not!