One day back in November of 2014 I visited my primary doctor, Dr. Kenneth Lyssy here in San Antonio, TX. I don’t recall why I visited him, but while I was there he noticed light spots on my skin. Right away he suggested I get tested for HIV. That day my boyfriend Carlos and I headed to the San Antonio AIDS Foundation where we knew they would test for free and have immediate results. It was pretty quite when we arrived that and we were able to get tested right away.
I went into a private room and a young woman introduced herself. I was easily old enough to be her father. She explained the process to me and I understood. She then pricked my finger to draw some blood and placed it in a dish. After a minute or so she turned to me and explained the markings in the dish. She said you see here this shows your positive HIV. My mind started racing. I wasn’t afraid just what are my next steps. I have friends that do have AIDS and are surviving quite well so I was not afraid.
My boyfriend Carlos was next and he came out telling me he was negative. Boy was I happy and knew he’d be okay because he and I have a chaste relationship so there would be no way I could pass anything to him except maybe a cold or something like that.
So I made an appointment with one of the councilors at the AIDS Foundation and later that week I met with him. Many private questions about my past sex life, but I obliged. I wasn’t embarrassed, but I knew I had been very promiscuous at one time in my life. You know the bar scene, the restroom scene, clubs, bathhouses, etc. Unfortunately I had been there and done it many times. The councilor made a recommendation for me to go to Centro Med in San Antonio that specializes in HIV/AIDS cases. He told me from there they can make recommendations and even start me on medications or meds as they say.
So I made an appointment with Centro Med and med with a wonderful Physicians Assistant by the name of Amanda Miller. She was terrific and very kind to me. I guess she knows it’s a difficult time for people like me just discovering they may be on some kind of death sentence. So she drew about 7 vials of blood and sent me on my way. We set up an appointment for the following week.
During this time I as kind of feeling week, but no major symptoms. Mine were almost completely hidden. On my birthday November 15, 2014 my family was concerned for my health and friends too. I wasn’t able to eat much, but I really did not feel bad, just tired.I didn’t know at the time how bad things were for me. My clock was literally clicking down and I had no idea.
So Carlos and I went to visit Amanda Miller again and when we met she seemed very, very concerned. All she told us was we need to get to University Hospital like right now. Go to the emergency room and let them take care of you. I was shocked by her concern, but we did as we were told. Right away Carlos got me into the car and we were off for University Hospital as fast as we could go.
We arrived and I barely remember this tim so some of this is coming from Carlos who was there the entire time. We went through the emergency procedures to get checked in and I think I was the worst patient there because they took me in right away tone of the emergency room rooms. Immediately they saw I was extremely dehydrated so they hooked up and IV to me right aways to get me hydrated. The a young red-headed doctor came in and started to evaluate me and figure what to get men started on. I was pretty much in and out at this time and all I could do was trust them. It turns out to my luck that University Hospital in San Antonio, TX is one of the best hospitals in the country to treat HIV or AIDS, I was fortunate for sure.
About a week later I was moved up to the fourth floor and there I me Dr. Gregory Amsted. Just an amazing man. An older doctor, but you can tell he’s been around. Later I discovered he was an expert in infectious diseases, just what I needed. He just started calling our orders to the the doctors under him and the nursing staff and right away they started to admindster medication, I have no idea what the were. I would vomit some of them so they would make a change to get me to take some of the meds, as they call them.