Living Just A Little, Laughing Just A Little

By: Reggie Smith

I am tired of taking meds!!  I know that is not the politically correct position to take, but if you have been taking meds for any period of time, as I have, you might  just get tired of taking medications every day too!!  Adhererance means having to be disciplined enough to take medications EVERY day, in some cases two or three times a day.  That is not an easy thing to do, even if it is the difference between good and bad health, or as we have been told and have sometimes experienced, the difference between life and death.

Why should I be any different than most humans I know?  After all, adherence is the flip side of prevention, right?  The fact that I am in this position of having to take these HIV meds is because I was not disciplined enough to wear a condom, so what makes me think that all of a sudden I am going to be disciplined enough to maintain this new lifestyle perfectly every day!  Furthermore, I have been addicted to other things in my life, and I have worked very hard to break those addictions so that I could be the thing my heart yearns for…FREE!  Now I find myself strung out on other drugs that I better not stop taking if I want to feel good and protect those whom I love.

Well, for those of us who are hosts to the HIV virus, we need to know that our situation is way beyond just how we feel.  The virus is not a morale issue, nor is our well being contingent on what we think about how we got HIV.  It is bigger than our often natural desire to be undisciplined and inconsistent.  The fact is that experience is showing us that those who take these medications to suppress the HIV virus in our systems seem to benefit the most.  I remember when there were no medications at all, and very little if any hope for those of us who fought valiantly to enjoy the best quality life we could.  We had to do so without the option of the “lifesaving” medicines that we now find ourselves sometimes taking for granted.  How else could we explain the evolution of attitudes about HIV, and how the attitudes about living with the virus has gone from hopelessness to wrecklessness?

I have been sick and at deaths door.  When you have had that kind of experience, or if you have lived as long as many of us who are long time survivors have, the motivation to adhere to our medicine regimens is rooted in gratititude.  I try to remember what it was like being sick and how much more enjoyable my life is when I am feeling physically well.  Life is so much sweeter, and I am so much more of a productive human being when I am not consumed with how to overcome sickness.  Besides, many of us longtime survivors are now grandparents, so the curiosity of how my grandchildren will look and be as they grow up is keeping me going too!  I mean, my children are still a part of my motivation to be well, but my grandchildren are even more intriguing, and watching them grow will take more time, so if the meds will help me achieve that, I guess I will do my best to adhere to the regimen as prescribed.

Even though I am tired of taking meds, and I want to be free of even the medications that are legal and beneficial; and also if taking medications and participating in my own survival is the price for being able to share life and love, then I need to be unselfish enough, and willing enough to give it my very best shot. So I suggest we do our best to make the right choice on a daily basis so that we can enjoy watching the adventure of life unfold!