Monday, July 11, 2011
Good News, Bad News
My Doctor and partner tried to comfort me, " Huy, okay lang yan, hindi naman CD4 lang basis ng improvement ng health mo."
A few weeks ago, I had my third CD4 test, but this time, not at RITM anymore but at San Lazaro. It was a different experience, in sense that we were like Team PGH in there! I even got to see and chat with an old friend, but that's another story. Normally, at the Hills, it is a quiet passage. You get there, get a form, blood extraction, you leave. But this time around, uh oh, ten people all waiting in an area the size of your bedroom. Awkward.
Last time, I had a 100+ CD4 jump so I was expecting I was gonna be somewhere around thatagain. My doctor had to literally pick my jaw up from the floor when I found out my count dropped by 80 points. Seriously, with a capital S?
So the doctor explained that CD4 is usually the indicator in the PH, as this is cheaper than a viral load. To the uninitiated, a CD4 test counts how many soldiers you have, and a viral load, how many enemies. So latter should be lower, former should be higher.
You are entitled to a free viral loaf after a year in ARVs. So I can get one for free now. However, it will be at San Lazaro again. And I would have to go by their schedule again. Beggars cannot choose. Ugh, I hate it! And its location was far more inconvenient.
And then Hallelujah, as if the heaven parted and angels began flying around, playing harps. My doctor said, "You can have it here at PGH."
I asked how much.
"Four thousand eight hundred."
Now, that's more than a $100. A one way ticket to Thailand. Or three nights worth of stay in a two star Bangkok hotel. Or a roundtrip kontrata taxi ride to the Cambodian border from Silom.
Took me five seconds. San Lazaro, though free, is again, too inconvenient for me. I am paying for convenience here. I am paying for peace of mind. But most of all, I am paying for special treatment, because my test was on the day after my appointment with the doctor, at 8am. They were gonna start the viral load screeningat 9am so I had to make it before the cutoff.
The viral load test, the one that counts how many enemies I have, was actually done in the UP Manila campus, in an old building. I was there half an hour earlier. They took my blood. No lines, no waiting. Less than five minutes after my appointment, I was on my way home.
So that's where my money actually went. Not having to wait like when I waited at San Lazaro. Apparently, the institute that will process the viral load is not yet accredited with Philhealth. Thus, the cash out.
Two weeks went by. I was packing for my trip (see previous entry) when I got doctora's text.
It was a real case of good news, bad news. I have come across similar stories. Now, I cannot help but wonder, what if I didn't have the resorces for all of these inconvenience. I still consider myself lucky, to be all healthy and all fit to work. Besides, I couldn't really stop. I am getting impatient waiting for the cure. But in the meantime, all I could do was hang on.