After an evening filled with margaritas, pina coladas and a lot of cheese filled goodies I ended my AIDS free celebration with Nelia and Houda, but I did not want my night to end.  I wanted to enjoy NYC, knowing that I did not have AIDS, and that that was one less thing for me to worry about.  I had the biggest smile on my face all night as I walked around the Penn Station area people watching and taking in the sites of the city.  I laughed as other people laughed not really knowing what they were laughing at, just wanting a reason to laugh.  I smiled and made funny faces at babies and said “hi” to almost everyone.  In New York you can’t say hi to everyone that would solicit unwanted interactions that may lead to them almost following you home, until you get off the train and take a detour to try and lose them. (I may have experienced this once or three times before).  I just didn’t want the night to end, because I knew that tomorrow I would have to deal with my health once again.  I lingered a bit longer in the city walked down to Union Square, and then came home around 1am.   I caught up on some DVR shows – especially The Daily Show- and finally went to sleep with only two Benadryl pills.  I was feeling so great that the burning sensation in my arms didn’t bother me as much that night.

When I woke up the next morning I was still on my high and didn’t want to bother with my health, but I couldn’t ignore it.  Dr. Doom Dermatologist had told me that it was best if I went to a general practitioner to find out what was going on.  So since I had satisfied my crazy notion that I had AIDS, I figured it was time to do something sensible and no longer give in to my wild imagination.  I really didn’t have a general practitioner, but I did have a great gynecologist so I asked him for a referral.  He sent me to a doctor, whose office was only a few blocks away from his own.  I called the doctor and made an appointment for the following week.  I was a bit apprehensive about going in because I was still unsure about what he would tell me so I fell into a bit of a funk, and lied around all day watching TV, until the day of the appointment.  Unfortunately,  the nights were not easy for me, the pain that I was experiencing was becoming overwhelming.  I would lie in bed and ice my body to try and relive the burning sensation that I had all over my body. The pain felt like someone lifted up my skin and released a nest of wasps and fire ants, and no matter how hard I tried I could not alleviate my pain, except with drug-induced sleep.  My body was falling apart day by day, and the reality of what was going on with me set in, the whole AIDS thing seemed like a lifetime away and so ridiculous.

The morning of my doctor’s appointment I didn’t get over-dressed like I did for my clinic appointment, but the same feeling of anxiety and fear came over me.  At this time my spiritual relationship was a bit shaken.  I literally went to church every other day, and would lie out on the altar when I decided that I had AIDS.  The morning of my general practitioner’s appointment I was in a neutral space with Christ.  I had decided that He really didn’t like me and was only putting up with me for technical reasons.  I was really upset that all of this was happening to me especially during my summer, which was supposed to be filled with internships, working and partying.  Instead I had become a home body and walked around outside with my head hung low because I was ashamed of what was happening to my skin, and just didn’t want anyone to look at me.  That morning was no exception, in 90-degree heat; I still had a sweater over my sleeveless top and capri pants.  It was a 40 minute train ride to the doctor’s office, and all I did was stare at all of the people who seemed to be enjoying their summer vacations.  I also took in all of the people, who seemed to not have mirrors in their homes, I had to assume or else they would not be dressed the way they were.  This “ratchet” dressing happens more frequently in the summer months, when I guess people are so hot that their better judgment is clouded. One particular woman on the train was wearing a prime of example of such “ratchet” summertime attire. Her hair had grown out from its once red tresses and now revealed a dark brown color that gave her that two-tone looking hair.  She had on a very tight, dirty, strapless tube top that was not doing a very good job of supporting her long, large breasts.  She paired it with a pair of multi-color, shredded, shorts that were so tight that they revealed her underwear color, and squeezed her things onto the subway seat.  She finished off her look with Birkenstocks and very long red toenails, trying not to stare at her for most of my subway ride made the time go by relatively quickly.

I arrived at the doctor’s office and was seriously under-whelmed.  It was small, dreary looking and freezing cold.  The receptionist was pleasant, loud talking, curly-haired, gum popping New Yorker, I would assume from Staten Island or Brooklyn.  She told me that, “the docta would be with me showtly”, as I sat and waited I was grateful for my sweater.  The wait wasn’t long and before I knew it I was sitting with the doctor in the examining room.  He was round in shape, very down to earth, and very pleasant.  He was a breath of fresh air after dealing with gloomy, doom dermatologist.  I told him about my whole ordeal with the Dr. Doom Dermatologist and partially explained my whole AIDS debacle.  He assured me that he would help me get to the bottom of what was causing my rashes and pain.  I gave him the blood results from the dermatologist and kind of expected him to tell me right then and there what was wrong with me.  Unfortunately, he informed that he would need more in-depth blood tests he wrote out an order for me to go back to the lab, I made a mental note not to go back to the one in Chelsea. He told me that he would see me in two weeks. I was somewhat disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to solve my health problem immediately, the waiting game was happening all over again.  I took a deep sigh and accepted the order form.  I am not a very patient person so I knew that this was not going to be easy for me, I wondered what crazy thoughts would consume my mind while I waited to get the results from this blood work. To help keep my sanity, I decided to take a sensible approach during the two-week period and read up on anything and everything I could find on autoimmune disorders. I am not sure how much of a good idea that was because it opened up another portal of information that was both very informative and very scary.