“PEP Talk”  

I’ve been fighting far too long

To not be human, not be wrong

Uphill climb, the wrong direction

Striving to achieve perfection

 

So, there’s just one thing to do

Admit that I am human too

Acknowledge, that from time-to-time

I fuck up, and that it’s fine!

 

I live and learn and so I grow

But I want all you boys to know

So perhaps, with everything I’ve shared

You may be better prepared

 

My story started in December

The holidays…..That, I remember!

Now in my shoes you get to walk

I offer you this:

 

My “PEP” Talk

 

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was moving, not even a mouse

I was still up, on my electronic man-finder

A few glasses of wine, while chatting on Grindr

 

In just a few minutes, really quite neat

I'd located a man within 1000 feet

Just like the wise men, I followed the star

On my GPS, to an inn with a bar

 

A few minutes walk, I arrived, feeling great

And Sat at the bar, with a drink, my "Grindate"

We hit it off; he’s quite a nice guy!

Had a few drinks, chatted, laughed, him and I

 

As the night passed (don’t do this a lot)

We finished it off with a few festive shots

Headed for home with that glow of success

Arms wrapped around my overnight guest

 

We got real festive, 25th of December

Did we use condoms??  I couldn't remember!!!

Woke up that morning in an alcohol haze

Diligently backtracking my memory maze

 

After 2 days, with shame thrashing about

In my mind, I knew I couldn’t live with this doubt

So I chose to do the sensible thing

Picked up the phone, gave my Dr. a ring

 

I’m still within the 72 hour window of time

If I get on PEP, all will be fine

Calming myself with this thought as I wait

And praying I get help, before it’s too late

 

“Closed for the holiday!” the message said

Chilled hand gripped my bowl, laced with fear and dread

And just as despair began to own me

I thought, wait a minute, I’ll check the CDC

 

Went online, checked what the CDC said there

PEP Scripts should be available at Urgent Care

So, on to the Urgent Care Center I schlepp

But to my dismay, they don’t write scripts for PEP

 

Panic set in, was this it for me?

Screwed by a system technicality!

Back on the CDC website, sat in my car

I had one last hope, so I drove to the ER

 

They saw me quickly, my mind started to rest

Still well aware, I had just 7 hours left!

Precious time ticking, since my date departed

To acquire a prescription to get my PEP started

 

The Doctor arrived, finally, my salvation!

I shared my story, she shared her declaration

“We don’t do that here, those meds are expensive!”

She stared at me coldly, I took the defensive

 

We continued to argue, with time running out

Was she even human?  I began to doubt

She refused me treatment, I refused to leave

Wasn’t giving up easy, one more trick up my sleeve

 

Maintained composure, couldn’t get her upset

But I must win this fight, and I hadn’t won yet

Pulled out my phone with the CDC guide

I showed it to her, request she complied

 

After a call with her boss she “agreed”

That immediate treatment with PEP should proceed

She wrote me a script and gave me a pill

Begrudgingly with judgment & against her will

 

Still a little amazed at what had transpired

I thought to myself “That Doc should be fired!”

But she’s human too, and for that I’ve compassion

And she did her best (after a fashion)

 

She just did not know, or wasn’t aware

Of HIV prophylaxis used today in healthcare

I made it my duty to politely inform

The hospital management, of this new treatment norm

 

I realize I’m blessed with the skills to persuade

A Doctor presenting with her mind pre-made

She took a while, for that I forgive

To see I am a human and deserve to live

 

I took the meds, and bided my time

Tested negative, and thank God, I’m fine!

But I realize now, all this PEP stuff is new

And not every Doctor will know what to do

 

The moral of this PEP Talk, is quite simply to state

Don’t get sucked in to shame, AND, Dear God, Advocate!

This is your life, so with all of your might

If you’re choosing PEP treatment, stand up and fight!

 

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Website:   http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/pep.html

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