It was 10 am, an hour before I must take 3TC+AZT. After eating cereals, I went upstairs to wheel away time. I opened the laptop. Dab some words into an empty notepad. Creativity got the best of me that I managed to pull off an entry decent enough for the new blog that I just started.
A moment after, my dad called me for lunch. I begged off and told him I'd be coming down anytime later, but not that time. When I thought that my entry already made sense, I went down, ate lunch, and drank my Vitamin C.
The clock was hanging by the wall to my left. It said 2.30 pm. In a split second, my eyes widened. My neurons were firing on all cylinders.
"Mnemosyne, help me."
I rushed to my medicine box, took the carton of lamivudine/zidovudine and pulled out the bottle. "Did I drink this at 11? Did I? Or didn't I?" Questions ringing in my head.
Something tells me that I have to take the pill immediately because the medical literature of the medicine said that should I have forgotten to drink it, I must do so the moment I remembered it. But there was hesistation on my part as well, "double dosage."
I was trying to review the pages of my memory very hard. Whatever happened in the last four hours? Did I go down to take the medicine? Was I glued on my seat, writing the entry? What did I exactly do? I want to take the medicine because my guts were telling me that I was upstairs from the moment I finished breakfast until late lunch. But it was dampened by a commandement, "Thou shou not take double dosage."
It's going to be a hit or miss. I leave everything to Bathala. Come what may. I took one white pill and drank it. Despite gut feeling saying I did all right, I was restless. I don't know what can happen if I take double dosage.
Even if the act was already sealed, the pill already swirming in my intestines, I still have to find out if what I did was on the side of correct reasoning.
I took the old empty bottle of 3TC+AZT and placed it next to the new one. In what was an act of assurance that feigned desperation, I gently shook the new bottle so the pills would drop inside the space of the overturned cap.
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5." I wrote down the number so as not to forget this time. I dropped the pills inside the older bottle.
The total pieces of meds should be odd, I told myself as a matter of factly. Since it's still morning, I haven't yet drunk a pair of the medicines. The total has to be odd, else I did double dosage.
Shake, shake. Six pills dropped. That's 12. Continuing, I eventually reached 28, 35, and 44. There's few pills left but I was nerve-wracked to count them from the inside. Shake, shake. Five pills added. That's 49.
There's still some inside. I peeked through the bottle and saw a pair—I was relieved.
To be sure, I did the process once again, this time, returning the pills back to the original bottle. There was 8, then 13, 19, 25. I surpassed 31 and 38. The last count was 43.
"One, two, three, four . . . eight." Thank God!
I missed drinking the medicines on time. I lagged three hours and thirty minutes from my scheduled time. According to the ARV handbook that my doctor gave me, when drinking ARVs, you should adhere to it. Meaning, "taking them at the right time." To adhere is to follow a "strict compliance to ARV medication as prescribed by the physician."
Why? So you wouldn't manufacture inside your body drug-resistant viruses.
It's just three pills a day, one in the morning and two at night, but drinking them sure poses a challenge.
"It is important that you have to develop a routine even if you only have to take one pill twice a day," the handbook adds.
Cumbersome pills. But I couldn't curse them. After all, they're my life now.