Friday, July 29, 2005
This is the last bit of fun we had to run out on last week on Fire Island. It seems in my absence they rebuilt a huge chunk of The Grove that I had heard burned down. They added at least two restaurants and two clubs. The old shack that used to house The Fire Island outpost of The Monster is still there. That old gal got a facelift too. In any case, the club we ended up visiting had a nice mix of fags, lesbians and confused Long Island refugees. We were hanging out there waiting for the very last ferry off the island which would be docking right outside. No reason night to get your drink on, right? The foam party, in addition to being very 90's, was an unexpected side light. Too bad we had to leave, those foam parties usually devolve into a bit of nakedness that I would have loved to participate in.
We arrived at the Ferry Terminal on Long Island around 1:15 am only to be informed that the next train to Manhattan was not due to arrive until 6 am. As I quickly began to calculate how much of a hit in the credit card I was willing to tolerate to get my tan ass home, one kindly van driver offered to take us to another town where we could catch a 2:15 train, for 5 bucks each, of course. I couldn't fork it over fast enough.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
My appointment last week was on one of the two hottest days of the summer (until this week). It was the day after the votive hurling incident. I got a little drunk after my shift and slept a little in. I was up but puttering around and when all was said and done I arrived about 25 minutes late for my appointment. I had walked across town and was covered in sweat and I'm sure a bit flushed. I sat and waited for a few minutes, my shirt wet and clinging to me. After a few minutes they called me back. I sat in an exam room where the nurse informed me that the doctor may not be able to see me because I'm late.
"O.K. That's fine"
"But maybe he'll be able to take you."
"O.K. That's fine, too. Just let me know."
I was hot, I was sweaty, I was still very keyed up from work. Basically, I had no fight in me. After a few minutes she returned.
"He can see you but only to give your numbers. You're late."
*sigh* "O.K. Great. Thank you."
The doctor came in and rushed through my T-cell and viral load. He was a little surprised how they went in the opposite (wrong) directions.
"What's going on in your life? Any stress?"
"I have an enormously stressful job. Even on the easy days it's hard. I work 50+ hours a week. Yeah. I have a lot of feakin' stress."
Which is how I came away with appointments with a mental health counselor, an HIV meds adherence counselor and a nutritionist. All of whom I saw this week. The adherence counselor was lovely but I didn't get a lot beyond some assurances that she would be available before and right after I began treatment to address any problems or side effects I might experience and get them corrected so I can continue to work.It was actually really reassuring.
The nutritionist was an older woman, incredibly fit, as nobody listens to a fat nutritionist. She had some helpful tips for how to supplement my nutrition during my hours at work when eating is banned. We made a chart of what I typically eat on a daily basis, and while of course it would be best if I could manage several smaller meals a day, she was most complimentary on my food choices. The fact that I’m one of those freaky people that really does snack on nuts, fruit and yogurt impressed her. She took a look at the details of my blood work.
“This looks good. This looks really good. I mean, unusually good.”
(I’m a mutant freak)
“Whatever you’ve been doing it’s working great. Keep it up.”
I felt a tad smug.
I saw the mental health counselor on Tuesday. Her name is Cyndi. My new head doctor has the same name as the youngest Brady. I like her. I really do. I tried arranging for some therapy a couple of years ago after I was first diagnosed. I was interviewed and then assigned a counselor. I hated her. First, beyond being gay, what the hell was I going to find as common ground with a fat black lesbian? Our mutual hatred of gay white men? She was the most passive/aggressive (make that aggressive, period) counselor I would think you could encounter. If I was five minutes late she would make me wait 15 and emerge chewing a sandwich. She became fixated on drinking as the root of all my problems and when I discussed someone I know using meth, she left me for 15 minutes and returned with a handful of leaflets and flyers about meth use and meetings. She as much as insinuated that I was using the euphemism “friend” to cover for my own meth use. After about four weeks of trying, and always emerging more frustrated than when I went in, I phoned her up and called it off. Of course, she called me back asking for an explanation. I finally had the upper hand and didn’t give her one. Cyndi, however, is quite different. I have much in common with a well put together white woman. I’ll be seeing her on Tuesday for the next 24 weeks. I have no agenda for what I hope to accomplish with this experience. I’m a firm believer in picking up the box and giving it a shake now and then. And I’m most pleased to finally be in a situation to say what I want about my life, and where it’s come from, and where I want it to go. I finally have someone to talk to. Sure, it’s her job. But even after the first week, when all I did was babble on about The Hellcat, and The Ex and the job and HIV, I really felt someone was listening to me. Only me. And all that day I felt my spirit soar.
Monday, July 25, 2005
It was only as we were packing up for the evening with the intent to head for home that The Hellcat took a call from an acquaintance on Fire Island. Since we were at least half way there, his invitation to come out and spend the night couldn't be ignored. Problem was, while I technically had the next day off, I did have a noon manager meeting on my schedule. I will rail against the aggravation of having to come in for a meeting on my day off another time. We checked the weather, and while previously the day forecast thunderstorms, the update called for sunny and hot. That was all the motivation I needed, besides seizing on the serendipity of the whole situation. Thus began a set of phone calls both to my boss, and the owner of the club, seeking permission to skip the weekly meeting. I had never begged off before, but I couldn't get anyone by phone to give me an OK. In spite of this, we headed by train out to the last leg of the journey. I tried again upon arriving at the ferry for the final trip. No luck. I finally left a message with my intent to accept the offer and head out to the island for the night. The idea of waking up at the beach was far too appealing. It was only until I was quite literally on the boat, at the dock with the engines running that I received a call on my cell from my boss at the club (No Lucy, you can't be in the show), giving his permission to skip what turned out to be a manager's luncheon (Oh, the horror!). Thus began my boat ride to Homo Island.
We arrived late, after 10 pm. But still our sponsor met us at the dock. Our accommodations, an unfinished but quite lovely guesthouse in the Pines, a mere stone's throw from the boat dock. The parts that were finished were lovely. My favorite features being a private outdoor pool and shower, as well as another glass enclosed shower that holds up to nine people. (No, I don't know that for a fact, but I have no reason to doubt it.) It's not surprising in the least I was attracted to the combination of naked/public/water, but more on that later. After settling in for a bit, The Hellcat and I set out into the Pines, ostensibly to get liquored up and get some sleep. Mission accomplished, although not without me getting into a tense moment with the owner/manager at a certain Pines drinking establishment. All I will say is come and see me when your club is doing two 1,000 person shows back to back before you throw me that kind of shade. Better yet, you've got far too much attitude period considering your club had 10 people in at 1 am on a Thursday and your piece of shit sound system gave out for a half hour 'till you got the hamster back on the wheel to power the fuckin' thing.
At any rate, I awoke the next day totally disoriented, as the Duchess has not slept away from the castle in far too long. After getting my bearings back I enjoyed a cup of coffee and a magazine poolside. Followed by a brisk nature (Meatrack) walk. Alas, I arrived 'tween Meatrack high tides and the pickins were decidedly slim. Refusing to lower my standards that far, and that's saying something, I returned to the house. By then, The Hellcat had roused and we began getting ready to hit the beach. The beach was lovely, the boys were gorgeous and the men were overly done. As much as I have dug my heels in and tried to escape the ravages of time, some of these men have gone way too far. To wit: after 40 it's probably not wise to wear form-fitting T's. You may think you can but the reality is you probably can't. A leather arm band around a sagging tricep is not hot, it's just sad. A choker of any kind that accentuates a double chin or turkey skin, particularly if it's in gold, is a serious error in judgment. Almost no one looks good in a Speedo. If you think maybe you do than you definitely don't. With a Speedo, there's no maybe.
After a couple of hours swimming and sunning, I abandoned The Hellcat, explaining that "I need some dick." I set out searching the dunes for a willing participant. Several likely candidates emerged, but they all seemed rather shy, trying to find a totally secluded area for us to have public/private sex. This always puzzled me. More, the older and more uninhibited I've gotten. It's sex. It's gay sex. Sure, if you were my lover and we were having an intimate moment I would (probably) prefer the privacy of our bedroom (kitchen/washer- dryer). But it's outdoor gay sex between two strangers. And you expect privacy? That's absurd. Yes, yes, I know that some men don't understand that looking is OK but touching may be another matter, but honestly, I've never encountered the man that didn't understand the firm replacement of an unwanted hand. OK that's not true, but in that case, a scolding seems to do the trick. So the need to find a perfectly private spot, outdoors in public, baffles me. Which probably explains why I found myself surrounded by five men, jerking off as I noisily sucked off a guy exclaiming "You like that uncut Peurto Rican cock, don't you?"
Why yes. Yes I do.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Despite the clinical detachment I use to write the incident reports, the poor woman was a bloody mess. She lost two teeth and a chunk of her lip was just gone. She will require cosmetic surgery as well as dental reconstruction. I had to comfort my staff after the fact. They were physically assaulted and covered in blood. As much as you know that people are capable of horrible behavior, it can still be shocking what they can come to do to each other.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Among the many places I hobbled through yesterday in the city, I made a trip to the Greenmarket in Union Square. Aside from some blueberries and some fantastic ripe juicy peaches I bought I was also looking for a new houseplant. I keep a couple of plants on the kitchen window sill that are thriving. I periodically add some fresh potting soil and water them when they get "wilty". That's it. They grow. Not so the plants in my bedroom window. The two on the left I've had for over a year. They live, but thriving is not how I would describe them. The center plant has grown some but it always looks sickly to me. It should by all rights be taller with fatter leaves. I've seen grown up versions and I've definitely raised a runt. The one on the right is supposed to flower every year. All it does is wilt and freshen after it's watered. It hasn't really grown much either. The third plant on the left is dead. All the third plants die. No matter what I buy. I try to buy plants with similar care needs. Not too much watering (because I forget) and lots of morning light. But the 3rd plant always dies. Obviously, the location in general is not plant friendly. But for the life of me, I can't figure out why the 3rd plant is destined to die. In any case, I couldn't really find a plant at the market I liked enough to kill. They all breathed a collective sigh of relief as I left to buy new lifting gloves.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
So far, I've managed to stay in my air conditioned bedroom until after 3 pm fucking around on "The Internets" accomplishing honestly very little. Untrue. I jerked off to porn. Twice. I finally dropped my cock long enough to grab some lunch, being careful not to confuse the two. By then, The Hellcat was up and ready to start his "day". After eating, I grabbed a shower and did a little "personal" grooming. You could eat off my hole it's so clean. Have I gone too far? A trip to the gym and a very rough workout was next. We had decided to throw in a "light" leg routine since I had a couple of days recovery time. This is crucial as the last time I worked my legs I could barely walk by the next night. It made working on my feet for ten hours problematic.
40 minutes and about a half dozen leg routines later, I was as wobbly as a faggot on 1/2 priced martini night. Idiotically, we followed that with a 20 minute cardio session. Anybody know if creatine really does cure muscle soreness? I'm going to be hobbling around the apartment tomorrow I can feel it already.
In other news ...
Big doin's in the neighborhood this week. I'm sure you've heard wherever you hail from, but this week marked the grand opening of the very first 7-11 on the island of Manhattan. I know! First a Home Depot and now Slurpee's! We're quite excited. Even more thrilling, it's just blocks from my castle high atop Second Avenue. Nothing says nutrition like some 7-11 nachos and a Coca-Cola Slurpee. Oh Thank Heaven indeed!
Monday, July 11, 2005
Many weeks ago, we found ourselves in Union Square when the fine folks at Crunch were doing a promotion. Half a dozen men and women leading an "exercise" class on a bright, sunny day. As part of the promo, they gave away Joe Boxer undies. I wonder if they understood the double entendre? Doubt it. But I know a couple of hookers it would work for.
There's a pretty snarky hotdog stand on St. Mark's in the East Village. Here's their take on the obligatory CPR sign.
I can't find my fucking TV remote.
That is all.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
When Dr. Elaine Abrams founded the Family Care Center at Harlem Hospital Center, one of New York's first clinics for the treatment of children with H.I.V. and AIDS, that ''treatment'' consisted mostly of easing their deaths. Through the early 90's, 10 to 20 babies were dying at F.C.C. every year; at one point, an H.I.V.-infected patient lived to the age of 6, and the doctors considered that child a medical miracle. Today -- thanks to protease inhibitors, combination therapy and other improvements in the treatment of the virus -- the average age of the approximately 135 H.I.V.-infected children being treated at F.C.C. is 13 and rising. It's possible to imagine the day when the clinic itself will be obsolete. ''Over the years,'' Abrams says, ''we've turned from a medical program with mental-health support to a mental-health program with medical support. It's the last leg of the journey.''
But that last leg has involved psychological complexities no one could have foreseen. Children born with the virus also aren't born with the knowledge that they carry it; this was a nonissue when few survived infancy, but as their prognosis improved, the whole issue of disclosure -- of what they know about their own disease, and who tells them, and when, and how -- began to reveal its intricacies. ''I used to believe that all the kids knew,'' Abrams says. She tells of one 14-year-old who knew all about T-cell counts and taking meds but had never contemplated being H.I.V.-positive. ''The kid had been taking these drugs every day for three years without knowing,'' Abrams says.
When A.'s son asks questions -- which he does -- she tells him he has a blood disease, which, as she points out, is not untrue. ''I'm terrified of people knowing,'' she says, ''very terrified even for myself. No one knows. My brother is the only one in my family that knows. Not my dad, not my sisters, my stepmom, no one.'' What is she most worried about? ''The simple things, you know. If it's not the sympathy, it's the pushing away. It's either one or the other. You either get the sympathy, or you get the boot. No one wants to be bothered. No one wants to touch you -- don't come over here, don't get nowhere near her, you know. And that's what I'm afraid of for my boy with the other kids, because kids are cruel. And there are a lot of parents that are cruel too.''
The subject is even more charged when the H.I.V.-positive child lives with a biological parent. Such parents have good reason to fear, at least initially, anger and rejection from their own children; they may also dread the prospect that the conversation will have to include a disclosure of their own H.I.V. status, as well as the behavior that led to it. ''It's a web,'' Wiener says. ''You can't just go to the child and say, O.K., this is what you have. It means disclosing other family events.''
But the greatest inhibitor -- which the child's good health and outwardly normal childhood only aggravates -- is guilt. When Q. faced her own diagnosis shortly after learning her baby daughter's, her eldest child was 16, old enough to handle the information in a mature way; still, Q. couldn't bring herself to tell that daughter for two more years. ''They knew their sister took meds,'' she says of her other children. ''And they knew I took meds. They just didn't know why. They knew it was important. They'd say, 'Mom, did you remember to take your meds?' But they didn't know what it was for.''
The doctors at the Family Care Center urged her to start discussing it directly with her family. ''But I'm not a person who's easily swayed,'' Q. says. ''It wasn't that I wasn't ready to discuss it with my child but that I wasn't ready to deal with the fact that she might feel ashamed of me over it, or angry with me. I wasn't willing to hear her say: 'Ma, how could you have done that? What kind of life was you living?'''
Their continued good health, indeed their survival, depends on their continued adherence to the same strict drug regimen that has kept them alive thus far. Keep taking your medicine: another simple idea that in the lives of these young people turns out to be burdened with psychological complexities -- this despite the fact that even a few missed doses can allow the virus to develop a resistance to a given drug, permanently compromising or nullifying that course of treatment. What, apart from the desire for a respite from the sometimes grievous side effects, would induce someone to stop taking lifesaving medication? Primarily stress and depression -- circumstances to which any teenager might be considered at risk, but to which an adolescent concealing a stigmatizing condition is especially prone. ''There is definitely a relationship between adherence and depression,'' Wiener says. ''There's a tremendous amount of stress associated with lying, with living a life of secrecy.'' Going off meds can also be an adolescent's expression of the desire to hold the reins of his or her own life for a change, even unto self-destruction, broadly analogous to an anorexic's refusal to eat.
However understandable the desire to deny, if only for a little while, the burden of their illness, neglecting to take meds consistently is about the most unwise thing H.I.V.-positive young people can do. There's the risk of undermining their own course of treatment. And as if that weren't enough, they could develop (and potentially could transmit) a strain of the virus that has built up all sorts of resistances to existing medication. As Mellins says, ''How do you instill within kids a healthy sense of sexuality and at the same time a sense of fear?''
''I have two patients,'' Ng, the psychiatrist at the Special Needs Clinic, says, ''17 and 18 years old. One wants to be in the Armed Forces, and the other wants to be a pilot. Given their status, they've heard plenty about issues related to their having sexual partners and how to remain safe. But now they're hearing about how they're not able to do something they want to do with their lives, and once again, H.I.V. is there.''
''This epidemic just marches on,'' Arpadi says. ''You and I will go to our graves, and there will still be this terrible epidemic. But in this country we've effectively stopped transmission to babies, so now we have this sort of cohort of aging kids. And I really wonder how they're going to make any sense of their lives. Everyone before them died earlier on, and there's no more kids like them behind.''
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
How did I spend my 4th of July weekend? The same way I spent every other holiday weekend. Working. I worked every day this weekend. As I write this, I'm about halfway through a double shift on Sunday. And yes, I've figured out a way to work and blog even in this hell hole. It involves my Palm and some nifty software called Documents To Go. I highly recommend it.
While I haven't been writin
Just when I thought things couldn't suck suckier than they do I found 800 dollars. Sweet!
The Hellcat had a houseguest for the last 10 days. She left today and didn't lift a finger the whole time she was here. Never did a dish. She also failed to leave behind some groceries or a bottle of wine or a houseplant as a way of saying thank you. Does anybody have any basic manners anymore?
It's now Monday on the Fourth. Happy
I had lunch with The Hellcat this afternoon. I decided to try to have a mature discussion with him regarding the houseguest incident. It was surprisingly satisfying to be able to have a mature discussion without waiting until I got all frustrated about a bunch of things and boil over all at once. He actually had a pretty good explanation for why the visit lasted so long. Longer than even he anticipated. He promised to be more precise in the future. He never did address my point that not thankin
P.S. This is hilarious.
Friday, July 01, 2005
So I leave for work on Wednesday around 9:15. The Hellcat, who has finally gone back to work (thank the lord!) on a limited basis, was already well into his cater-waiter shift that night. I really wasn't the least bit surprised that he wasn't home yet when I returned at 4:30 am. It seems every time he goes out and earns money now it leads to him immediately blowing an equal amount of money on food and booze. Which I suppose is a better choice than meth and lube. Still, it's a dangerous game he's playing. It won't be long before he runs into someone with a little coke. Then some pills. How many shots of tequila will it take before you break down and call someone you know is still using meth "just to talk"?
So I'm always a little apprehensive when 5 am rolls around and he hasn't shown. To say nothing of the fact that his dog obviously hadn't been fed since the afternoon. I dutifully scooped the dog up into bed with me as I am choice number two in the dog's sleeping options. He prefers to sleep with people, and he prefers the Hellcat's bed or bedroom. But if the Hellcat isn't home he prefers me and mine. As my bed is high and the dog has spinal problems, I made sure to clear and set up the gradual step-down I taught him to use. I assumed The Hellcat would return at some point and reclaim his dog and sleep it off. Imagine my surprise when I awoke at the crack of noon and felt the lumpy undercover evidence of a dog still in bed with me.
Now I was pissed off. The Hellcat had just returned from a 10 day vacation that extended to almost two weeks. The Ex had promised to take care of the dog. Neglecting to take into account that he himself was going away for a long weekend. So by default, I was dog-sitting on a holiday weekend. And working full time. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love, love the dog. He's cute and needy and funny and needy and likes to sleep and cuddle and be needy. The dog is boyfriend material. But I don't have time for a dog-boyfriend right now. I am frequently out of the house for twelve hours, sometimes more. The dog can and does reward you for neglect of that nature with a tiny steaming pile of poo on the kitchen floor. And while it's annoying, yeah, the poor thing needs to go out. The dog loves me. When The Hellcat isn't around he follows me from room to room. He stares at me as I'm eating dinner. Like,
“That knife and fork business is brilliant! However did you think of it! Damn these non-opposable thumbs!”
Dogs speak exclusively with exclamation points.
So when I'm home, I'll gladly give him a meal or rub his belly, but I can't do it every day. Just like all I could manage with a real boyfriend right now. Hi, hi, kiss, kiss suck fuck eat fuck gotta go, call you Tuesday. This would work with (most) real boyfriends, since he probably wouldn’t need me to facilitate his need to poo.
In any case, we got through it and here it was just a couple of days later and I have a hungry dog snuggled up with me and The Hellcat nowhere to be seen. Shortly after that my phone began to ring. I checked the number and it was from an area code I didn't know. Seeing as how I was only on my first cup of coffee I didn't answer. Someone left a message as I'm notified by e-mail when they do. A few minutes later, another call and message. It's clear that someone is trying to reach someone. Thinking perhaps it's The Hellcat on a borrowed cell I play the message. It's The Hellcat's mom. He's in jail. Sort of dissipates my anger over the dog right quick.
The story I got from the mom and later directly from The Hellcat goes something like this: Apparently, after his cater-waiter shift ended The Hellcat found him self parched. After trying to enlist The Ex on a weeknight excursion into the East Village, he set out alone. Ostensibly headed for an innocent couple of PBRs at our favorite watering hole. Somehow, he ended up drinking at The Cock with the on-again off-again boyfriend. As it does whenever those two get together and drink on a day with the word day in it, things deteriorated. I never asked what was said or why, it’s unimportant. What is important is that The Hellcat claims he ended the argument telling the OA OA boyfriend that he wasn’t going to fight with him, the relationship isn’t working, and I guess this is goodbye. Trouble is, the argument, the break-up, the whole mini-drama has become at least a bi-monthly occurrence. Why this one was different I don’t know. What happened next, I can only relate from The Hellcat’s version of events. The one where he comes off totally innocent. According to him, he had walked away and was a block away from The Cock. Suddenly he heard the OA OA boyfriend call his name from behind. When he turned around he was punched in the face. All 125 pounds of fury being brought to bear on him. Supposedly, he didn’t hit him back. Instead, he pulled out a phone to dial 911. It was then that the OA OA boyfriend went all Hannible Lecter on him and bit him, severely, on the forearm. Shocked and in pain, The Hellcat dropped the phone. The phone going in one direction, the battery in the other. In self defense now, and trying to dislodge the boyfriend from his arm, The Hellcat kneed the boyfriend in the head. The OA OA boyfriend then fell backward onto a fence, cutting his head open in the process. Bleeding and in pain, The Hellcat jumped into a passing cab, screaming wildly to the driver to call the police. He refused, and told The Hellcat to get out. Such a scene was made that a concerned passer by did call 911 for him. Apparently, the police came. It’s in dispute and unimportant whether they were called by people on the block or the OA OA boyfriend. I have no doubt they both portrayed the other as the aggressor. But the police treated it as a case of domestic violence. And it seems in New York City that when the complaint is lodged and injuries occur, someone is going to jail. Supposedly this is to protect both parties from possibly escalating the dispute later that day. A time out arrest, if you will. So after bringing The Hellcat to the hospital for medical attention, he was placed under arrest for assault. He was taken to the precinct in the middle of the night and then to central booking early in the morning. The OA OA boyfriend received six stitches in his head and was released.
I was alternately shocked, amused and concerned for The Hellcat. This was his highest drama yet since beginning this disastrous relationship. But being arrested in New York City is never a pleasant experience. It’s one thing to be taken to the precinct. But if you’re brought to central booking and enter the system, you’re in for as long as it takes. You can get yourself arrested on a Friday night and not get out until Monday. And unless you’re extremely wealthy or a celebrity or you come from a family of cops, that’s that. I was worried that he would be without his meds. I know the food there is horrible. I figured he’d deal with the prison rape issue just fine. I didn’t really know what to tell his mom without worrying her. She had spoken to him so I knew he was OK, at least. So we waited. All day. We finally heard from him around 7 pm. He was waiting for a hearing, which might come by the end of the day. He was supposed to call back at 11 pm, and when we didn’t hear from him we were hopeful he was being arraigned. About 12:45 that night he called. Out of jail and on the way home.
He was, by all accounts, treated pretty well for a gay white man with AIDS. It’s probably what got him out in a day. Score! Another benefit from HIV! He seemed relieved to be home and still pretty shaken. After he ate and took a handful of pills we had the presence of mind to document his injuries should it come to court, which I doubt it will. He really did suffer a nasty bite:
He recieved a tetanus shot, as well as antibiotics. Apparently, human bites are positively loaded with nasty bacteria. As an aside, supposedly the relationship is really over once and for all. A restraining order has been issued barring The Hellcat from any further contact. We'll see a few months from now when the arm heals and The Hellcat remembers this: