Saturday, August 13, 2011

Confined in San Lazaro Hospital H4 Ward (part 2)

Part 1 here 

DAY 3 - Sunday, my 3rd night in the hospital, was very emotional for me. Dad's wife showed concern by coming to the hospital to see me, which she rarely does, well, she rarely see me anyway; this time she did. Anne's entire family came to the hospital to visit me, all of them cooked something for me. Angel, went to visit me with a bag full of cheesecakes and beef tenderloin in mushroom sauce. Anne's ex-boyfriend's family and friends came to see me too; which was very unexpected and we were all wondering how did they find out. We had a little feast on my bed that day, it went on until early evening. Every caught up with one another and Angel met Anne's family for the first time. It was a wonderful night indeed. I was very full, and sleepy after all that eating. Angel stayed after everyone went home. He stayed and we talked for a while, all the while he held my hand and showed me how much he cared and how he dearly misses me. I missed him too.

DAY 4 - Monday, early morning, Fred (one of my exes), came by to see me before he gets his blood extracted for his 3rd CD4 count. He bought someone along with him, a friend of his whom I met in one of his birthday parties in the past, he is also a PLHIV now. After Fred went to the SACCL clinic for his blood extraction, doctors came to do their rounds. One of the more tenured doctor ordered Wiggly#1 and #2 to be transferred to the male ward because they have fever, while Rico, and Marsha to be transferred to the female ward. The goals is to have all patients with fever in one room and those without to another. Good thing I didn't have any fever on that day anymore. So there we were; me, Rico, Marsha, bikiniboy and the female OFW all in one room. Rico and bikiniboy were already close, so as Rico and Marsha. I asked dad to bring my Monopoly board game so I can play with my roommates to get rid of boredom. So we did play monopoly; Rico, Marsha, bikiniboy, and Rico's older brother. We started late afternoon and until the early evening, we played on bikiniboy's bed while we drag our IV stands along. Everyone was so excited and noisy that some of the nurses had to come by to our room to hush us down. My dad had to interrupt us several times because we weren't eating at all; we were so all into the game. So we had our dinner (food ration) together using bikiniboy's table and everyone sat and ate together. After eating, it was already 8 PM, just in time for everyone's medicines. My dad went home, and after a while the nurse came by to inject diphenhydramine on my IV tube. At first, as the drug goes into my veins and I felt a jolt of pain in my arms, but I felt all light and funny after a short while, and I dozed off.


Rico - an OFW, he said he thinks he got the virus while he was in the middle east and doing sidelines as boy-for-pay because he needed the extra money. He entered some bikini open contests locally, that's where he met bikiniboy. The two had a thing in the past. He also told me that he is seeing someone lately and that guy doesn't know he is a carrier. I told him to better tell the guy as soon as he can before things get too deep. I told him that if the guy accepts as what he is right now, that he must be truly sincere in his intentions. So Rico did tell the guy the same day I told him so. The guy he is seeing went to visit him in the hospital and they talked. So after a while, Rico introduced the guy to us as his boyfriend, the two were all flirting inside our room. Rico then asked his new boyfriend what if he gets infected because the condom broke? His boyfriend told him it is okay to be infected by him because he loves him so much. Okay wait..! I thought I did not hear that statement correctly! Yes I did, that is just fuckin' stupid! Why would anyone be so foolish to have a mindset like that? It is okay to be infected by the one you love? Don't you love your own life? Fine, it may be selfless, but didn't he already see what are we going through? That same mindset, I think, is one very careless way to be infected and die! 

Bikiniboy - Is from the province. we call him "contesera" because he joins one bikini contest after another, and that is all he does. His mom sells food in construction sites and on the streets and they have a little sari-sari store. He has several siblings and his ex-boyfriend who is also a PLHIV lives with them; who watches over the store and his siblings. He has pretty eyes, and that's it. You don't want to hear him talk because of his provincial accent and annoying high pitched voice, but he's nice.

Wiggly#1 - A young lad from the province, he's around 21 or 22, I think, I can vaguely remember his age. He was fragile looking because he was so thin and his skin became dark because of the ARVs. He has a sharp nose and deep set eyes, he has the facial features that would have that piercing look. He's almost as tall as me. His parents never knew he has HIV until the day he got sick. So sick he almost couldn't walk anymore and has several infections including UTI. Wiggly#1 often gets fever attacks during the early evening and at dawn. He chills so much it scares the hell out of out me. They even need a lamp to warm him up and wrap up in plastic bags to make him sweat then wrap him in several layers of blankets. As the days go by I notice his eyes turn yellow, and the nurses told them that an option to be transfered to the ICU was open for wiggly#1, I saw tears of devastation came out from his mom's eyes.

Wiggly#2 - 20 years old, a very bright boy. All he does when he was not having fever attacks was to read books, not novels, but science books. I have the impression that this boy is a geek. I got to talk to his mom one day and she said his son finished college ahead of his peers, he was a scholar from highschool through college and was a teacher by profession. He was one of the youngest teachers to ever taught in the school (name not to be mentioned anymore). He had to quit teaching when he got sick, he was planning to be a professor one day, because all he wanted was to teach; his mother told me. The mother only knew of his condition when he got so sick, but wiggly#2 already knew he has HIV way back, he just kept it all by himself and he never asked for treatment, until it got worse.

Wiggly#3 - 25 years old, from the outsourcing industry who quit his job because he cannot work anymore, he's just too sick. His mother only knew of his condition when he got hospitalized. Wiggly#3 never knew he has HIV until he was confined to a hospital near their place and the doctors don't know what to do anymore, so they asked him if he wants to have an HIV test, because the medicines weren't working at all. He tested positive, he was then asked to transfer to San Lazaro Hospital. There, they found out he only has a CD4 count of 10. He's the middle child amongst 7 siblings, his mom is the one with him in the hospital. He has pneumonia, his fever almost never goes away, and he is already becoming all skin and bones.

The female OFW - She's pregnant with a baby she never wanted. She was working in Malaysia when she was raped. It was how she got the virus and got pregnant. All the while, her relatives thought she was still in Malaysia, working. She's in hiding right now, because she can't face her family in her present condition. Her husband is taking care of her as she recovers.

Alexis - Was already in the H4 ward for two years. He was already skin and bones when I saw him, and he looked so fragile that a mere touch might seem to break him apart. He always sleep on his side facing the wall. He always wears a sando and pair of boxers. They say that he was confined for 9 months the first time, it was then he knew he has HIV, he began to lose his sight until he got completely blind, one complication of HIV. He is back in the hospital because he was bleeding through his stool. his mom and nephew diligently watches over him. I saw Alexis' face for the first time while I was talking to his mom. He almost just a skull, he obviously has nice facial features in spite of all the wasting that occurred. He has a dominant jaw line and high cheekbones with a very sharp bridged nose. I wanted to look at his eyes, but I was too scared to do so.

Marsha - I got his attention when I played Donna Cruz's hit "Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso". He just stood up and went dancing to the exact dance steps of that song! I was laughing my ass off while watching him, he was so full of energy! After he danced, he grabbed a broom and started cleaning the whole room. He was still in the male ward when I first met him. He is just so full of life, he's so funny that he makes everyone burst out laughing. He is the only one who can make wiggly#3 laugh so hard he almost fell out of his bed laughing. He has the typical "pa-girl" type attitude and lines that makes everyone around him light-up and laugh. He is no longer a cross dresser anymore 'though. He has a sister who is a tomboy, so the two of them literally switched genders. He is also strong, in every sense of the word. With his IV still attached to his wrist, he cleans the room, cleans the rest room, if there's no water in the restroom, he gets water from outside all by himself. He was even able to fix the female ward's ceiling with a hammer. When he transferred from the male ward to the female ward where I was at, he even carried the wall fan from his old bed to his new bed, and he installed it all by himself. Marsha, was already there for two months because of a fungi in his brain. He had a Lumbar Tab procedure done to get spinal fluids to be cultured and find out if the medicines were able to eliminate the fungi. The lumbar tap procedure was done in the ward and everybody watched, including me of course. It was scary, the doctor drilled a hole to his spine! and we all saw how the clear spinal fluid was dripping into a small glass bottle. After the procedure, Marsha was told not to move and eat for 8 hours. We were all worried. After several hours, Marsha was very quiet, we were worried, until... He talked in a husky voice and requested for Donna Cruz's Kapag Tumibok Ang Puso to be played, so I did. While I was playing the requested song in full volume through my phone, he was dancing along to the song while he was lying in bed and with his eyes closed! We all smiled and said "he's okay and back to normal". After a while he yelled for the nurse and said "Pabilisin niyo ang oras! nagugutom na ako!" We all laughed and said, welcome back Marsha, you are indeed fine and well. The said procedure is so dangerous that he is the only living survivor of it, it was already his second lumbar tab procedure. The others who underwent such a procedure weren't able to survive, after it; they just stopped taking, responding, functioning, and they eventually die.


The male ward where the wiggly boys are, is what I call the fever ward; because everyone in there have severe fever. During late nights, that room seemed to be a greenhouse with yellow lights focused on giant cocoons of wiggling worms. All of them are shivering in their beds at the same time they seem to have a choreographed dance number. They seem to do a wiggle dance every night, they all looked like giant worms wrapped in cocoons 'though. They may look funny, but they are dangerously ill.

The picture below was taken by me after bikiniboy cleaned our restroom, because before, we have to cross to the other room just to use the restroom. Bikiniboy then decided to just open up the locked restroom in our room (the female ward) that says "Out of order" and check out why it is out of order. I had a Lysol cleaner with me and Rico asked his older brother to buy muriatic acid. Bikiniboy spent more than an hour cleaning the restroom, and he found out that the only thing wrong there was the faucet. So we asked for the plumber to come over and fix it, he was able to, but the water just wouldn't flow as fast as in the other restrooms. We just have to live with it. We have the cleanest restroom in the whole H4 ward 'though. So because we have the cleanest restroom in the whole ward, Marsha did not want just anyone to use it. So he posted a sign as you see in the picture below. SP_A0097
I had a great time in the hospital. The female OFW, Rico, Bikiniboy, and Marsha and me... We all ate together, laugh together, play cards together, share our stories with each other. I've met a lot of interesting characters, and seen different faces of HIV that I only see in photographs. I saw different Opportunistic Infections, specially the scary ones. I met the nicest nurses and had a great laugh with Marsha's antics! The female ward eventually became the Becky Ward! Our usual routine was breakfast, shower, then sleep, lunch, sleep, afternoon monopoly and card games, dinner, meds, sleep. Sometimes Anne's dad, Angel, or Rico's mom or brother would bring lots of food to share with everyone, so we give away our food rations to the other "bantays" who cannot afford to eat. On most nights, since the female ward became the becky ward, nurses would often go to our room to hush us down. There was even one incident that we were so noisy that the guard came to our room and told us the the noisy ones will be escorted outside the ward... Yeah right! Whatever! Female OFW never went out of her bed except when going to the rest room, but when we were already becoming noisy and were having fun, she joined in and started walking around too! She too became so noisy the nurses had to tell her to quiet down. Everyone in the room got well, so well, that me, Rico, and bikiniboy got discharged on the same day. While female OFW was told she needs only one last blood transfusion and she will be released. Marsha on the other hand needs to stay because he needs to wait for the results of his spinal fluid culture.

I technically spent 6 days in the H4 ward. It was an experience worth remembering, but I don't want to be confined ever again.

Thank you so much to everyone who visited, gave food, brought books, made me laugh, bought laptops and MP3s players, and those who pleasantly surprised me. I appreciate all your efforts, thank you so much!


  1. This experience is scary but very enlightening. Thank you for blogging about this. Take care of your health. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm not sure if there's a part three to these entries. I think you left out an important information, Have you regained your strength after getting dischraged from the hospital. I hope you did.

  3. awwwi didnt know sori po, hope ur better now

  4. as you're able to blog this experience, it only means one thing- that you're feeling better now. that's good to know.

  5. I'm bothered by the boy friend of the Rico guy. It's as if being infected is like being infected by a cold virus. I think his knowledge about the infection is limited...

    As for you, good thing you're already discharged from the hospital! Make yourself stronger! Iwas na sa yosi. hehe. Nangaral dito. :)

  6. @JC; Thank you JC. Being confined is really scary.

    @House; Hmm... This is the last part. What is it that I left out?

    @Conio; I am. ;-)

    @Bien: I am, thank you Bien.

    @Xall: Same here, it is so clear that his understanding of the virus and what it can do haven't sinked in to him yet or not at all clear. Yup, no more yosi at all!

  7. heartrending yet full of optimism.

    thanks for sharing.

  8. that's just in San Lazaro, I'm pretty sure it's similar in the other treatment hubs like PGH and RITM.

    It is important to know and understand the 26 opportunistic diseases/conditions that might strike us sooner or later (hopefully never) so that we'd be extra careful with our health and make better lifestyle choices from hereon.

    take care, yah

  9. he began to lose his sight until he got completely blind

    cytomegalovirus, a person with very low cd4 can acquire this.

    I think it's my turn now, been in and out from Makati Med.

  10. i hope you are feeling better now, if not discharged from the hospital. do take care of your health.

  11. This was hard to read, it's scares me..
    Bravo to your optimism and positive attitude!!
    I hope and can be like you

  12. hi friend its me 'bench' thanks for sharing our story.. i already add you on my twittah.. nice to meet you in our world.. missed yah! but i want to correct my alias its BASHA not MARSHA hehehe ingat..

    muahhh muahhh
    stuppp stuppp.. (=

  13. I have been a reader of PLHIV blogs for sometime. I have been tested negative last feb.
    I was thankful that I tested negative. As I read blog entries, I vowed to take extra care in my sexual activities. I limit casual encounters in mutual jack-offs. I need to take care of my body and the body of the one I love.
    To you and to the others like you, canonista, my sincerest gratitude!

  14. This would be tough being admitted if your all alone like me :-(

  15. I visited my friend there last aug 17 and died last aug 20, 2011... i miss him so much... :'(

  16. it breaks my heart while reading this.... :(

  17. early detection is the key...

  18. you know what, na lumbar tap (lumbar puncture) ako twice. pero it was done naman sa OR ng RITM.

    first lumbar tap - hindi succeful ang extraction ng fluid

    sencond time - my ID doctor have to call someone na to do the extraction

    worst part, i was alone. walang bantay, walang friends no one except the doctors and nurses. kahit sa room north wing ward ng RITM, ako lang mag isa ang pasyente.

    when i found out i was positive for hiv, i didnt cry not even a tear. pero nung time na i have to lay still for 8hrs straight tapos bawal gumalaw what so ever. tapos ang init, and the thought of i have to do it all over again kasi hindi nga successful ang extraction ng fluid, i really cried so hard, i can hear myself echoing along the corridors of RITM. and no one ever hush or shuush me kahit manong guard. parang scene sa isang movie talaga ang nangyari sa akin na yun..

  19. nakaka sad naman ung story nyo. I hope someday maka imbento talaga ng gamot for this disease.

    By the way When i found out that i am HIV+ they put me in isolated room! ung parang kulungan then ang dami bantay na pulis 24/7. I'm so scared that day. buti na lang GOD is so GOOD hindi nya ako pinabayaan at nakauwi rin ako ng maayos....

    Sa atin lahat!!!! Don't lose hope....

  20. teary eyed while reading this...take care always

  21. All i can say THANK YOU FOR SHARING...

  22. It was such an eye opener for me and thank your sharing your experience to us. I hope your doing well buddy and be strong always..