ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

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

Archive for December, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

A Very Happy Hivine New Year 2011 to all Hiviners xx

Happy Hivine Christmas

Happy Christmas to all Hiviners

Medicated Follower of Fashion

‘Cos he’s a medicated follower of fashion – they seek him here, they seek him there!

My sis said she would buy me a dog for Christmas – I know, a dog is not just for Christmas, it’s for life, but she knew that I really wanted one. Well, who wouldn’t want a daily offering of love and adoration, albeit not in human form, but let’s face it, at my age and with my medical condition, that’s probably the only offer I’m likely to get. 

I fancied a Labradoodle, which is a cross between a Labrador and a poodle, but when we started investigating dog breeders on the internet a whole new world of puppy farmers and concerns about hip measurements etc opened up like a can of worms – and worms or being wormed (squirming at the mere thought) also had to be taken into consideration. To be frank, I didn’t care what size my dogs hips turned out to be, the bigger the better I say, it could sprout  hips for the both of us, as mine thanks to the meds, have long since  disappeared.  I lost the capability to hold my pinny, my trousers and even I’m ashamed to say, my knickers up at times since the dreaded lippodystrophy set in. But then again, I don’t suppose my dog would ever have reason to sport a pinny, or a pair of knickers, unless it was helping me clean the house or auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent. That’s after I’ve trained it to sing and dance of course. Simon does love his doggy acts!  

Disillusioned with the thought of puppy farming we googled every dog shelter and rescue home in the land, peering at line after line of mug shots; But they were all ugly brutes, pit bull terriers or rottweilers with terrifying expressions and stupid names like Rocky. Back to the puppy farmers who in terms of crossbreeding have, it seems, been going berserk. Aside from Labradoodles there were Spandoodles, Cockapoos,  Boxadors, Terrierdors (are they related to toreadors?) and even a Jackdoodle. Is that similar to a jimmyriddle, because if it is you can keep it, I don’t want something that is constantly going to be peeing all over the carpet. And as for having a cavapoo – nuff said.

Then I came across this advert – “Don’t miss an opportunity to own an outstanding Shar Pei from our adorable Issabella Dilute brush coat Bitch Tiger Lilly Lady; and a stunning Chocolate brush coat Busta from Chinadazzle. Only 2 stunning very wrinkly girls left, chocolate and lilac. Will be ready to take out for walks by Christmas!!”

As if you would!

I did venture out at one point into the snowy wilderness to view two cute Labradoodle boy puppies, but to be blunt the mum put me off. She was a huge white tightly permed poodle with pink eyes and was obviously the overbearing interfering type, whereas her offspring were as black as coal with not a notion of a perm in sight – mmmmm.

I finally found a golden Labradoodle close to where I live and at a reasonable price. Off I set all excited, this could be the one. But I wasn’t keen on the woman who was selling him and to be quiet frank, he didn’t really look as if he had any kind of pedigree whatsoever, not that it mattered, I was hardly going to show him at Crufts was I. Anyway, I didn’t care. He’d stolen my heart. He brought me his sunflower toy, laid it at my feet, then sat contentedly on my knee being stroked and didn’t seem bothered about frenziedly racing around skidding across the wooden floor with his sister and four scruffy looking black bros, whilst simultaneously jimmy riddling, or shagging the odd cushion like his sister, who aside from obviously suffering from sexuality and gender problems, I would have thought was a bit young to know about such antics. She’d obviously been watching the X Factor finals or listening to the complaints the programme was bombarded with after the show about lewd and provocative behaviour – and that was only from the judges.

Being a Libran, in other words not capable of making a decision and also plagued with doubts about spending the hard earned cash of my sis on a dubious mutt posing as a pedigree, I told Mrs Puppy farmer I would go home and have a think about it.  Before I left I took some photos.  In the meantime sis emailed Mrs Puppy farmer and asked if we could have a vet check.

“Puppy your sister liked is gone,” she immediately wrote back.

Hmmmm – we didn’t believe her, we were sure Dood (that would be his name of course, as in hey dude) was still there waiting for us to rescue him. We then hatched a cunning plan – Willo, my best friend and neighbour, would phone up and enquire about golden boy doodles. She was informed by Mrs Puppy farmer that there was one golden boy doodle left and there was only one to start with. Then a man from Liverpool i.e. my sis, made another email enquiry from a different address, at which point the plot thickened as there were now apparently two golden boy doodles, whereas there only been one before. The other golden dood was the scruffy female, or to speak in correct doggy terminology, the scruffy bitch cushion humper. 

Confused – so were we. What was going on?  We thought about sending Willo up with the cash to buy him, but if there were now two golden male doods she might come back with the wrong dood.

I look longingly at the photos of Dood on my PC and I am haunted by his sweet hairy face. I even dream about him. For a few days I imagined I actually owned him.  I took him for imaginary jimmy riddles and talked away to him to the point where people started looking at me as if I was a bit mad, especially my son. But hey, what’s new there!

Perhaps I am going a bit daft? It’s probably my age or the meds. Maybe I need some added medication to stop me going loopy.  I saw a black fur coat in the charity shop which I thought would come in handy, especially in these current freezing conditions, for taking Dood for walks. But it was black and it needed to be a golden colour in order to match Dood.  I know a dog is not supposed to be a fashion item, (although then I’d be a medicated follower of fashion wouldn’t I) but being a Libran, I do like to colour coordinate. They say, don’t they, that people tend to choose dogs that resemble themselves, in which case Dood with his scraggy golden hair would be the perfect match.

Talking of hair and the X Factor, why has Cheryl Cole taken to wearing her hair piled up in two huge rolls on either side of her head? Looks bloody stupid if you ask me, but then I’m probably jealous. I could always stuff some rolled up socks under my thinning mane I suppose, to pad it out a bit like they did in the war. You can actually buy hair frames now in Claire’s Accessories (not poor Claire of Corrie of course, who is far too traumatized to even think about her hair)  to stick on the top of your head like they did in the Victorian days.

The Victorians were obsessed with hair. They even made things out of it such as brooches or baskets – not to mention hair shirts! In the interests of economy, you could always utilize a bread basket or a sawn off colander, or a sawn off shotgun I suppose if you’re the gangster type, or a fan of Mae West – “is that a sawn off shot gun on the top of your head or are you just pleased to see me?” Oh dear, how many times have I resorted to using that old one liner on this blog and what does that say about me!

Because my hair has become so scraggy of late, either due to my advancing years or more likely the toxicity of the medication, I tried googling some hair related beauty tips.

“Use fabric softener instead of conditioner,” one source suggested.

“Brunettes, instead of drinking your morning expresso, pour it over your head.”

And they say blondes are thick.

Rubbing alcohol as an ear drier was another handy tip – was that Cheryl Cole trying to say hair drier?

“To evaporate water from your ears use an ear dropper to insert a few drops of rubbing alcohol into each ear canal.”

Where alcohol is concerned, rubbing or otherwise, I’d prefer chucking it down my neck to be honest.

This helpful tip would come in especially handy after consuming all the rubbing alcohol – “Mash 30 aspirin tablets and add to shampoo to get rid of dandruff” – or a hangover presumably.  Ear canals sound horrible – don’t like to think of my ears as having canals, or drums for that matter.

Did you know that some people who spend a lot of time sitting on an office chair spray Hairspray on their bottoms to stop static?

“Banish static cling with a quick spritz of hairspray in the areas that are bunching.”

This tip is obviously aimed at Ladies who bunch as opposed to lunch.

Nothing to do with hair or hairspray, but I thought this was quite a good idea – “Scour crevices with a battery powered toothbrush.”

Health and safety warning – before you try this on your own crevices, they meant as a grout scrubber.

Oh well, only a few days to Christmas and still no Labradoodle, but we’ll keep on searching and googling of course – labragoogling indeedie.


Happy snowbloggin!

Positive Picture

Members of Thrivine hanging the pictures at Blackburn cathedral.

Blackburn Cathedral Candlelit Vigil 2010

Blackburn Cathedral WAD Speech 2010

My name is Adrienne Seed, I am sixty one, mother to a thirty year old son, an artist, a writer, a counsellor – and very proud to be the Chair, for the second year running, of our local support group Thrivine, which is for people living with and affected by HIV

I am also HIV positive and have been living with HIV now for nine years.

I was 52 when I was first diagnosed and it came as a huge shock to me. I had been ill for quite some time and suffering from what I now know to be the classic signs of HIV infection, but because I wasn’t what is classed as an ‘at risk category’ i.e. a drug user, a black African woman or obviously a gay man, nobody ever thought to advise me to have an HIV test.

There has been a recent growth in new infections amongst men and women who are 50+. In our support group Thrivine we have had two recent referrals regarding woman who were only diagnosed after being hospitalized with life threatening conditions. These were straight, white middle aged women, one with teenage children. Almost half of the people now living with HIV worldwide are women.

Contracting HIV does not necessarily mean that you have indulged in promiscuous behaviour or taken risks – aside from not using a condom – it can come through a normal sexual union between two loving partners and like getting pregnant – it only takes once. But because it is a sexually transmitted disease HIV is steeped with stigma and that is the real killer for positive people who have to overcome the sense of false shame that they and their families are unjustly burdened with.

Until I finally plucked up the courage to tell my son, for four years I lived an invisible life. Thanks to his support I am able to speak out and continue with my unceasing battle to raise awareness and defeat HIV related stigma. But there are many positive people both male and female who are forced, due to stigma to lead invisible lives and for fear of rejection hide their status from their friends, their families and in some cases even from their church.

We are lucky in Blackburn to have the support of Blackburn Cathedral and Canon Hindley. In a society that still does not fully welcome HIV positive people spiritual support is vital.  

When I was first diagnosed, I felt as though I had been cursed – now nine years later I feel as though I have been somehow blessed and this is mainly through my work at Thrivine. I have met so many wonderful people and listened to so many inspiring stories. It is so rewarding to see positive people slowly coming out of the shadows, out of exile, start to  regain confidence and gain strength from each other. That is why the name of our group Thrivine  as in thriving has proved to be so appropriate.

I think you can never underestimate power of a group, whether they are joining together in spiritual union to worship or in prayer, in sport as a team or even to support a team as in football, or simply people united in their fight against adversity as in the case of HIV. 

Speaking of inspiring groups, at this point I would like to thank Blackburn People’s Choir for coming to sing for us tonight. When I broke the news to them that I was HIV positive here at the Cathedral two years ago, I received many lovely messages and letters of support, and they have continued to accept me unconditionally ever since. I can’t thank them enough – and to think I only joined the choir so I would have someone to sing at my funeral.

It has been a great year for Thrivine. We were funded by Grassroots for another year in our venue at Eanam Wharf. We were nominated for the CVS Volunteers Award. We received funding from the NHS Dragon’s Apprentice which enabled us to take part in and produce, “The Positive Picture,” the results of which you can see downstairs exhibited in the crypt cafe. Then to top it all in it was a huge honour for Thrivine to win the Gilead “Putting Patients First” Award, for team work, excellence, Integrity and making a difference to the lives of people living with HIV.

Even though in the grand scheme of things Thrivine may only be a relatively small group,  hopefully this will be an example to other positive people in other towns across the UK and Northern Ireland, that they too can also start their own  support groups, stop living in isolation, and derive hope and strength from each other –

Positive People Power.

Living with HIV is different to all other chronic illnesses in that there is still a huge a stigma attached to it that affects all areas of your life. Trying to cope with the challenges of living with HIV can put you in a very dark and lonely place and I have witnessed through our work at Thrivine that being part of a support group provides a much needed light in what would otherwise be a very dark tunnel – especially for the newly diagnosed.  

In our ‘Positive Prayer’ I asked the members of Thrivine to write something that they wished, either for themselves or for the world  in relation to HIV.  One of our members, who has been positive for twenty eight years wrote this –

“I wish for worldwide equal access to the life giving drugs, which I am grateful for and very fortunate to get free at source – an absence of which would have most definitely seen my rapid demise many years ago.”

I echo that sentiment and am sure that every other positive person who is lucky enough to have access to medication would agree, as without it, I for one wouldn’t be here today.

By controlling the HIV virus through our medication we can show the world that we are not in fact a danger to society, the opposite in fact and that we are actively contributing to the fight against HIV. That with the help of medication people can be diagnosed and live with the results.

I would love to see the day when HIV stigma is reduced to the point where HIV positive people can openly come out to the world, hold their heads high and be accepted for who they are and not what they have.

Thank you for coming tonight and by doing so helping us in our fight against HIV related stigma – Remembering always that HIV can and does affect anyone. 

Everyone’s a Winner!

 I didn’t win the video clip competition but thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for me. 

Everyone’s a winner – but not me it seems! However at least it got the message about HIV related stigma accross to a wide audience, so who cares about not winning the i pad?

 Well, me actually, but maybe santa will bring me one in my Christmas stocking – some hopes!