Saturday, April 19, 2008

God Bless The Broken Road

I long have envisioned this blog to be a space where I can entertain, educate and inspire other people with my stories, life experiences and personal tales.

But recently, inasmuch as I’d love to furnish this page with my new expoits, some things (ie., work, personal fears, reservations) seem to hinder me from doing so.

And I have long contemplated on, er, temporarily closing this site but…


There was a recent admission in ICU Suite F. We were advised to implement Universal Precautions to the nth level as this’ll be a very unusual case. While the patient is being wheeled from the stretcher to the ICU Bed, I donned my paper mask, NIOSH (N-95) respirator, goggles, extra gown, and three overlapping gloves, and entered the “talked-about” suite.

“He” seems just like the usual intubated patient except that (yup, I’m cutting to the chase now) he’s HIV positive.

How he got the disease and the whole she-bang need not be discussed to maintain the confidential matters.


His admission sent a strong wave of fears among my co-staff and no matter how much we were supposed to contain the news among ourselves, the fact that we are taking care of an HIV+ patient is news that is just too much to handle.

For instance every time a blood extraction is warranted, we have to disclose his diagnosis to the medical technologists so that they can practice further caution. The same thing goes for the respiratory therapists who obtain his blood gases, the cleaning staff who handle his biological wastes, and so on.

And yet I’m proud to say that nobody among our staff refused to take care of him despite the insurmountable risks.


I think that this is such an opportune time to be educated about this disease. In a country where anti-retrovirals (ARVs) cost an arm and a leg, we cannot afford to get stricken by the disease.

And in this time when cure seems to be a bit tad imaginary, one could only hope and pray that further researches about HIV/AIDS will come into fruition and eventually produce that “magic bullet.”

But then still, education and prevention would have to do for now.


Taking care of “him” made me feel vindicated on why I failed to update this blog.

And no, he did not die.

So did I. Thank you very much.

He was discharged just last week, with his boyfriend, both strong and well.


And I couldn’t get any happier.


To you, thank you for educating me, for inspiring me, for allowing me to take care of a very special person in you. And though I know that there’s that little to none chance of you dropping by this site of mine, I promise, deep within my heart, that I will never ever forget you and how you changed my perspective on life.


And this post is dedicated to you, my really really really really good friend Kiks.


Be strong. And be informed.


jericho said...

kudos nursie ruff for this post. great insight. great guy. ;)

chase / chubz said...

very nice!

wag kang mag close oi.
ma sad ako. huhuhu

kiks: the strongest blogger i've ever known

Abaniko said...

He's HIV+ and yet the boyfriend is still by his side. He's lucky to have someone who sticks around no matter the circumstances. At least this one can lift up his spirits. And you did well in caring for him. You're a good nurse.

cedeux said...

ruff! ur back!
musta naman po?

sad that some people have the stigma about this issue.
saludo ko sa team nyo for being professional!

ingats ka plagi=]

Anonymous said...

ruff! don't leave! am back! :)

yoshke said...

uy, you're back!!! WELCOME BACK!

hmmm. i havent met anyone na HIV+. if ever i meet one, parang hindi ko rin alam kung pano ako makikitungo. honestly. im hematophobic and the reason may not be blood per se, but all the diseases that might come with it.

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@JERICHO: thank you for appreciating. and thank you for sticking by. :-)

@CHASE/CHUBZ: yes, chase, kiks is.
~and nope, i'm not yet ready to say goodbye.

@ABANIKO: he has a british partner who never fails to come to his suite every visiting hour. if all same-sex-relationships were like that, this world will definitely end up as a better place.

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@CEDEUX: thanks cedeux. in this country where having hiv/aids is considered as a punishment, lucky are those who still believe that they still deserve our love and compassion.

@MIKKOI: welcome back mikkoi. i'm not leaving, y'all. :-)

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@YOSHKE: yup, i'm back. wait, i, actually haven't left. hahaha.
~know what's amazing? the faces of people afflicted with hiv may not actually be different than those people we are interacting with in real life, or here in blogosphere for that matter. he's your friend. he's your sibling. he's your classmate. or he's your dad. or he could be yourself.
~hematophobic? good thing i have spared some good ole bloody pics here in my site, eh?
(and oh, dc ftw!)


well done to u nurse... giving (extra) care to somebody with HIV is something that I only read in review materials. at least ikaw na experience mo.

yoshke said...

yeah, that's what makes it scarier.

hematophobic, yes. ive always wanted to become a doctor. but i just cant fight my extreme fear of blood. my first program in UP Diliman was Sports Sci, kasi i was hoping I could get over it and eventually go to med school. Pre-med kasi yun. Then I realized hindi ko kaya (lalo na nung nakita ko yung anatomy classes sa list of subjects ko), so ayun, shift out.

mikes said...

am proud of you ruff..


Anonymous said...

i am sorry. i don't mean to saddened you with the post.. but i need to.. i'll be apologising to people soon but i got to finish the series. i

this post of yours is very encouraging.. you love your work, like it is your man..

similarly been there, done that, except that he was gone.. he thought i disdain after i learned of his situation.

but i never. it never occured to me honestly.

it is just i gave up. i wasn't able to keep him happy.. im such a weakling..

anyway mikes here, baka batukan nya ako.. such a great guy.. pero mike masakit pala eh..

Anonymous said...

pa rin..

KC said...

Hi Ruff. Na-miss kita!

Oh no you didn't say that you're closing your blog.

Anyway, I haven't handled anyone with HIV yet but I'd like to. If you're careful about implementing the universal precautions, you won't have it.

Kudos to you. I hope your patient lives a happy life with his boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

Awwww. That's so sweet. But HIV is really quite scary. Sayang. When you found someone to love you, may sakit ka na. Hay nga naman.

wanderingcommuter said...

i don't know why but i really find HIV/AIDS as something really heavy in me. thus, i admire those people who keeps on fighting it, the people who are with them in fighting it and loving this people regardless of the risk.

kudos to you and to the charcters involved int hsi post

savante said...

Glad the guy made it through :) Seems to be getting more common these days to find young guys struggling with HIV, don'tcha think?

kingdaddyrich said...

inspiring si nurse ruff.. :D


Mugen said...

Hanga ako sa bro. Just dropping by from your twitter account. :)

Scarlet said...

how long did you take care of him?? gee. insurmountable really is the word. isn't it such an amazing thing for you to gain something from someone unexpected?.. imagine how an HIV+ patient was able to teach you somth. this is a good eye opener, Ruffie. kudos to this post. :)

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@KRIS JASPER: it is indeed very rewarding (and not to mention a bit scary).

@YOSHKE: sayang naman, the world of medicine is actually fun, you know. and taking care of people is actually very exciting.

@MIKES/ANONYMOUS: i would have done the same if "I" was his man. i will never give up, nor i'll back down. :-)

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@KC: i did. and yes, the happiness in their eyes is palpable.

@BINO: that's love, i guess. :-)

@WANDERING COMMUTER: i admire them actually. those living with the disease, and continue to exist despite the insurmountable odds.

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

@SAVANTE: i know. don't you think their, er, our, hormones and lifestyle's got something to do with it?

@KINGDADDY: thanks, thanks.

@MUGEN: thank you. nice posts you have there!
~and linked you up, too.

@SCARLET: er, he was at the hospital for almost a month, and as funny as it may sound, i actually am excited to take care of him ever since day 1. :-)
~so, you're back now, S? :-)

mrs.j said...

mssin u ruff

wag k nmn mawala di kana bumibisita@ mz u|@

greg said...

That's a very inspiring story. Keep up your good work, and that institution where you are working should be proud.

coach said...

isa kang bayani. lampas langit ka nyan ^^

Diablo said...

nurse ruff, i miss ur blog. tagal din ako d nka online... at ikaw rin. hehe.

grabe talaga ang propesyon mo kapatid, you see all the drama first hand. parang di ko yata kakayanin ang mapalapit sa isang patient only to be left bhind.

anyhow, i've changed my site pala, just so u know buddy. iwas stalker eh.

that's my new url, my new home.

sige pre, balik uli ako dito't sisilip silipin kita kung may bago. ingat lagi! mwah!

acey said...

go go go, nurse ruff!!! =D

Marcus: Bading Down Under said...

I am proud of you, guys! :-)

crazed_heck said...

ako din...
i really wouldbt mind caring for him...
you see, nursing for me is not a mere choice but a calling and i live by that principle...

kalansaycollector said...

hay. nakakamiss ka.

nakakaproud ito ha. ;p

Sam said...

It's great to see how nurses and medical staff deal with HIV+ patients. It's an eye-opener.

Glad he survived. And kudos to the nurse who took extra precaution. :)

yarnhoj said...

i am so touched...God bless you more...

joelmcvie said...

These are the kinds of stories about our doctors and nurses that should counteract the one from Cebu, with that whole canister-up-the-ass YouTube scandal.

peter penducker said...

beautiful... :-)

maki said...

great entry. i also love this song by rascal flatts.