Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Positively Negative (Part I)

It was that time of year again – time to let some phlebotomist practice his/her craft on one arm or another. I usually go to my primary health care physician to get tested, but with my back and forth between Indy and Chicago, I just haven’t been able to get it together. I do some digging and find a local health clinic that’s actually quite convenient on my way home to my apartment in Chicago … and they have walk-in hours. SCORE!

So, I go to this clinic. The clientele is nothing like that I find in my primary doctor’s office. I got my number and had a seat and had some serious trouble figuring out who was male and who was female. I texted my friends and told them that like John McCain I was just going to refer to everyone in there as “THAT one.”

So, they call my number (17) and I get a bunch of paperwork to fill out. Apparently anonymous testing is free (and here I’ve been paying for my doctor’s visit and then paying for the blood draw at the local hospital!) but they also offered testing for syphilis, gonorrhea and some other shit I can’t remember. The shakes, werewolf-ism or whatever. I figured, eh – since I’m here and the phlebotomist is going to sink a needle into my arm anyway, why the hell not. I paid the fee to get tested for everything under the sun. (Later, the HIV counselor referred to my decision as having chosen the $20 Car Wash with the under carriage wash and wheel brightener. Sort of like that, yuh)

So, I’m assigned this new number – ending in “03.” And they periodically come out and call “red folder, ending in 01!” Someone disappears into the back. “red folder, ending in 02!” Someone disappears into the back. “JACK!?”

I’m mad as hell – this schmo just called me out by my full first name! I mention this on the way in and he says that he couldn’t remember my number but he remembered my name so he just went with it. The dude’s a brutha, quite tall. He’s lucky he was cute because I wasn’t so mad after that. (terrible, I know) I flirted my ass off, mainly to distract me from the pure unadulterated hell that it is to go get tested (you’d think that feeling would stay with you when you’re in the dark corner of the club trying to figure out whether or not to swallow … but alas, it’s like the pain of childbirth. You forget it as soon as they tell you you’re negative). I explained to him that he better get to a vein in ONE attempt. He tells me he’ll try. “I’m gonna need you to succeed, because I *will* go back out there talking about you.”

“How you gonna put that much pressure on me, man?” he asks, laughing coyly.

I smile back and say, “I’m just saying – get in, get out.”

“Well, it looks like you have good veins”

“I’m more concerned with you having good AIM.”

He looks at me and laughs. “you crazy.”

He does indeed get it on the first try – and it’s over as fast as it started. He explains that the nurse will be in in a minute to discuss my paperwork with me.

Now, you know how you’ll tell your friends some shit like, “yuh, I sucked his dick” or “I fucked the shit out him.” And it’s all cool? But when you’re filling out a form that specifically asks you how many times in the last 6 months have you performed oral sex, or how many sexual partners you’ve had in the past 12 months … it all becomes frightening reality? Like, wait a minute … lemme count …

There was Adam .. oh, and that one time with Jerome, and three times with Duane … and what was that guy’s name again? …. Mark… MARCUS, that’s his name … and ….

Well, it’s not all so much fun and games at that point. And then looking at this nurse dead in her face while I’m trying to count how many partners I’ve had in the last 12 months … she says, “if it’s more than ten – just tell me more than ten. It doesn’t have to be exact.”

“OH MY GOD! Noooo. I’m just trying to remember … six. It’s six!”

We discuss the specifics of my activities … condom use, condom slippage, oral sex … ALL OF IT. And in the end, she decides that I’ve not really put myself in any high risk situations since the last time I got tested (9 months ago).

“I’m still scared, though,” I admit.

“Well, yeah – it’s like a jungle out there. It’s natural.”

And out I went back into the waiting area until the counselor with my results called my number … or full first name if he can’t remember it ……

4 comments:

Opinionated Diva said...

Positively negative is one of the few oxymorons I love to hear...for obvious reasons.

LOL @ you getting mad dude called your full first name.

I do not blame you for letting him know UP FRONT to get his aim game straight. At my last blood test, chick had to stick both arms and then my hands...and she still didn't hit a vein. I was ready to fight. Someone else had to come do it. They got it on the first try. Thank God!

The Jaded NYer said...

ugh... my application is gonna be soooooo pathetic...

how many sexual partners have you had in the past year:

*crickets*

Tim said...

Positively negative - that's very good to hear.

Super Dave Van Buren said...

lol@your corner of the club scene. That was unexpected. But yeah you remember all the questionable women you let slob the knob when your getting tested.