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Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder currently works with POZitively Connected, a project of Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV AIDS Society. Positively Connected provides social connection and support to gay/bi men living with HIV. He has previously sat on the board of directors of the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS movement since 1987. He worked with CAS in development and writing of the One Foot Forward Series of self training modules for people living with HIV and other work. Michael is always available for writing work, workshop development/presentation as well as public speaking.

Michael's social media connections are @michaely1961 on twitter and on Facbook here.


Blood work blues

Tuesday, 18 November 2014 Written by // Michael Yoder Categories // Gay Men, Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder says of his HIV “From the time of my diagnosis some 20 years ago, I’ve been tested and tested, medicated and re-medicated and honestly, I’m just tired of it.”

Blood work blues

“Resistance is futile.” 

The Borg 

I’m late getting my blood work done. I’m supposed to get it done every three months, give or take a few days and in the past I used to be very good at keeping track of that. Give or take I’m only about six months late. 

Within the past few years, I’m finding it increasingly easy to find bright shiny objects to distract me. “Oh, look! Facebook!” “Oh, look! Internet porn!” “Oh , look! It’s 2pm – probably too late by now…” and so it goes. 

While I know that I SHOULD BE more on top of it and I SHOULD BE more responsible, I think there’s a part of me that’s just tired of it all. From the time of my diagnosis some 20 years ago, I’ve been tested and tested, medicated and re-medicated and honestly, I’m just tired of it. 

I don’t even remember the days before I was diagnosed when I didn’t have blood work, or pressure to get this vaccine or that supplement. Those days are some distant memory – the days when I was sero-status unknown and just a regular human being. HIV changed all that. HIV became this ever present danger and the constant unending need for blood work was as strident Robbie the Robot in Lost in Space (“Danger Will Robinson! Danger!”). 

Occasionally, very occasionally, I might miss a dose of meds. That’s almost worse than the blood work. Then I see the raised eyebrows and hear the clucking of tongues as though I was on some self-imposed, free-wheeling year long drug holiday, even though it was one time in the past three months. 

Sometimes it’s as though following diagnosis we’re expected to turn into good little school children, always obeying the rules, never being bad and only getting good grades. There’s seems little room for being real people – getting tired, getting bored, getting fed up with it all and wanting to skip class now and then. That would be dreadful! The results would be catastrophic and we’d all be the hideous vectors of disease that we so valiantly battle NOT to be. 

I doubt that I’m the only person that feels this way, but I rarely talk about it. I’m not happy or proud that I’m late or fed up, and I don’t want to face the reproaches of well-meaning peers that would be horribly disappointed in my jaded lack of responsibility. 

I’m a bad PHA (person living with HIV/AIDS). 

And yet, as much as I beat myself up for being human, for having the feelings I do and for not sharing those feelings lest I upset someone’s day, I like that I’m not eternally tied to those little vials of blood so happily pulled from my veins. 

Somewhere soon I’ll haul myself up and get back on the bandwagon and the vials will be shuttled off to the lab and my numbers will be read and re-read and documented and my statistical existence will once again start ticking along. 

I’ll be…Oh, look! Cake!