It’s Thursday and it’s my fourth medical appointment of the week. OK, so the ones on Monday and Wednesday were my regular dialysis sessions, but they do still count, don’t they? Tuesday saw me head to the Midlands Regional Hospital at Port Laoise for a chest X-ray. Today, it was the turn of the HIV clinic at Beaumont Hospital in north Dublin. The last time that I was here was back on 3rd February. I’m happy to report that the results of the blood tests taken that day were all reasonably good. The CD4 count was 256 and the Viral Load continues to be undetectable. The CD4 count is relatively low but it is not as bad as it could be. I am hoping that today’s result (which I will only get in late December) is much better.
For the last few weeks, the renal team has been wanting me to get the Shingles vaccine. However, where I was going to get it seemed to be incredibly complicated. My dialysis unit said that they would be happy to give it to me, but they were unable to obtain the vaccine itself. So fortunately, the nursing staff in Beaumont were able to give it to me. I also need a HepB booster and final dose of the HPV vaccine but as all vaccines have to be given in my right arm due to the AV fistula in my left arm, it was decided to stick with simply the single dose of the Shingles vaccine today. We hope that the dialysis unit will be able to give me the HepB booster and then in December I will get the final HPV dose.
The doctor here was pleased to hear that I am ahead of the curve in having received my firth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
All the usual blood tests were done, although my arm feels like a pin cushion. Then I had to go to the main hospital’s phlebotomy department so that I could get a Quantiferon TB test done. I had a form and four labels for the vials. It took even the hospital phlebotomist a few goes to get blood from my arm.
New clinical setting
I am really pleased to report that the Infections Diseases clinic (for that is what the HIV clinic is officially) now has its own clinical area just off St John’s Ward. It is much better than the previous setting in the ward. There is plenty of privacy for those who want it, and the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and reception staff are all in one corridor and not separated by another clinic in between. The reception is the first section that you come to when entering the clinic which is very sensible. All the HIV patients really must say thank you to the Beaumont Hospital authorities for having invested in the clinic.
Laughing with the staff
The staff in the clinic are great fun. It can be a very long wait between arriving and actually being seen by the doctor, then the nurses, then the pharmacist. However, all of the staff work well together to make the time pass as quickly as possible. By the time I was seen today, I was among the last three patients. All three of us continued to smile and joke with the staff. It makes the world a better place.