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Articles tagged with: AIDS


Life's little setbacks

Tuesday, 07 July 2015 Written by // Joshua Middleton Categories // Health, Living with HIV, Joshua Middleton

Straight poz guy Joshua Middleton with “Determination and persistance: another hospital stay”. But, he says. “regardless of the deck of cards I am dealt for the day, I am going to play my best hand at all times.”

Life's little setbacks

Hunched over in a fetal position awaiting the needle in my spine that would draw the fluid to rule out spinal meningitis. Pain medication beginning to take affect but anxiety can’t help but kick in as I begin to feel like I am in rewind on the tape of my life,

Here I am in the Emergency Room again. This time for an issue besides my leg problems of the past but rather relentless headaches that were so bad and included lymph node dilation that reminded me of my diagnosis days.  Not ever having an issue with migraines or tension headaches before, I was bewildered at what could be causing this. Could lady luck be throwing one more thing for me to deal with, another challenge to face?

The test went over fine and after a couple hours in the hospital the doctors really didn’t know what to say was going on. Still suffering from the headaches I returned to the same hospital the next day. After leaving for the second time I was still in agonizing pain and red flags were going up if I should go for a second opinion somewhere larger, which I did.

I went to one of the largest hospitals in San Diego County only to encounter what would be a five-day hospital stay and weeks off of work due to being ill.

In the ER the same procedure was repeated, CT scan and spinal tap, although this time the spinal tap didn’t go so well. Tears rolling down my face with my caring girlfriend at my side as I clenched the metal tray in front of me as nerve shock waves of pain and agony went down my leg; the doctor just couldn’t get the right spot to draw the fluid. It soon became a matter of putting a doctors ego before a patients pain which is never ok in my book.

After 15 – 20 tries the doctor gives up and says that it will have to be done with an x-ray type machine to ensure they are able to get to the necessary spot to draw the fluid. Despite no previous issues having the test a couple days earlier, I now have a whole new sense of what levels pain can be taken to.

My symptoms mirrored that of meningitis. However after multiple CT scans, a proper spinal tap done and an MRI, that was ruled out. The pain was not letting up and I felt like the pressure in my head felt like a ticking time bomb.

Still very concerned about the symptoms the doctors decided to admit me to conduct further tests. This is when they found out I had mastoiditis as well as occipital neuralgia. Mastoiditis is essentially an ear infection, one I found to be very painful and occipital neuralgia is a neurological condition that causes sharp throbbing pain in the base of the head and neck region.

"It seems sometimes that life throws us obstacles and we get so overwhelmed that we end up asking, how much more burden can I possibly bear?"

My family and girlfriend supported me at my side as I battled through the headaches debilitating me for days on end. I was just released a couple of days ago however and would like to send much love to all who wrote me and kept me in your well wishes and prayers.

It was a very humbling and scary experience, especially knowing how close it is to such a vital organ, but I am glad to be at home recovering now. My family, girlfriend, coworkers, and friends really came through for me when the time was right and I sincerely thank all from the bottom of my heart.

I am currently taking antibiotics as well as painkillers temporarily to help continue to numb the pain. Thankfully due to a neurologist in the hospital, I was given a nerve block shot in the neck, in hopes it would work in relieving the pain. It certainly did and I pray it will continue to work as I have enough health conditions on my plate to deal with.

I am always a positive and a very uplifting person; however we all have our good and bad days. It seems sometimes that life throws us obstacles and we get so overwhelmed that we end up asking, how much more burden can I possibly bear? I found myself asking this question as I look back on all I have been through. What I have found has always got me though it is hope and that is what I hope to inspire and share with others.

There is hope living with HIV and there is hope living with any condition; whatever the circumstances presented, you can conquer them.

I can live in the past and say "poor me" or look at my circumstances now but I refuse to do that, I am a survivor and not a victim! When I wake up in the morning and smell the crisp air, that is life awaiting me. Wether it be good or bad I approach it with a smile. Regardless of the deck of cards I am dealt for the day, I am going to play my best hand at all times.

Please remember there is always hope even when positive! As always I encourage you to check out my supporters  & A&U Magazine which have both been great in helping me share my story. My voice is simply one of many and I thank you for reading my blogs and watching my videos. 

This article previously appeared on Joshua’s own blog PozitiveHope here